A Métis fiddler with home bases in Buffalo Narrows and La Ronge has released his debut album.
The Métis Fiddle of Tristen Durocher in the Key of Kiyâm was released in conjunction with the Gabriel Dumont Institute on National Indigenous Peoples Day.
Durocher has been fiddling for 15 years and is the winner of the 2019 Peoples’ Choice Award.
He secured the honour after placing ninth out of 35 amongst the country’s top fiddlers at the Canadian Grand Masters Fiddle Competition.
Durocher said he never thought about making an album prior to the institute reaching out to him.
“I felt that the power of the fiddle and the music was hearing it in person, at a gathering where there’s food, where there’s elders, where there’s children dancing,” he said. “That is where I want my music. So, all of these years I haven’t recorded an album and the Gabriel Dumont Institute approached me, willing to finance the album, and I said yes.”
Durocher learned his craft from Saskatchewan fiddle legend John Arcand.
He said camps like Arcand’s’ are important because they teach the history and power of the instrument.
Durocher said he was also able to learn many different types of fiddling at the camps.
He said although he doesn’t have a favourite song on the album, two–Amazing Grace and the Duck Dance are two of his favourites.
“What one I really did enjoy on the album is the Duck Dance which is an old traditional tune in non-standard tuning. I need to un-tune my fiddle and so, not a lot of people know how to play it in that tuning. So, it’s a little rarer to hear. It’s only in really traditional Métis circles and fiddle gathering spaces that you’ll hear that.”
He said one of his inspirations for playing he fiddle is serving as a role model for Indigenous children.
If these children are able to see someone who looks like them in the media and playing the instrument, maybe one day it will inspire them to take up the fiddle, he said.
“It was for those kids seeing these photos online and in articles. I needed them to know ‘this is inside of you. You are beautiful and you matter. And don’t you, for a second, think that you don’t have a voice.’”
The album features Marcel Hapel on guitar.
The two recorded it live.
(PHOTO: Courtesy Neil Zeller and the Gabriel Dumont Institute.)