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Pierre Schryer - New Canadian Waltz
PIERRE SCHRYER - "New Canadian Waltz" - New Canadian Records NCCD9610

Here's another brilliant young Canadian fiddler, this time from a French-speaking community in Ontario. On this live 1996 recording (13 tracks, 56 minutes) he is joined by a couple of guitarists, a pianist and a drummer. Together they turn their hands to music from all over Canada and beyond. Quebecois tunes, Ontario tunes, Cape Breton tunes and several of Pierre's own compositions are joined by Irish, Scottish and US melodies new and old.

All these traditions are handled with skill and panache. In the blurb, Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin talks of "precision and proud humour", and there is indeed a strong element of professional showmanship in Pierre's playing. At times things are a little over-precise, and at others the excitement of a live recording is somehow missing, but on the whole Pierre doesn't put a finger wrong and the result is extremely entertaining.

He doesn't put a foot wrong either, because this is another fiddler who can dance and play at the same time. His version of "Reel du Pendu" with step-dancing is very impressive: like many of the tracks on this CD, it's a little slower than I'm used to, but there's nothing wrong with that. Other gems include a masterful rendition of Scott Skinner's "Madam Neruda" complete with dancing bow effects, and the "En Plein Hiver" set of classic French Canadian tunes.

Alex Monaghan

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This album was reviewed in Issue 28 of The Living Tradition magazine.