Walt's Look Around: Fiddle playing - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Walt's Look Around: Fiddle playing

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
WASHINGTON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

The difference between a fiddle and a violin is e way you play it.

I have heard music historians say that fiddle playing was a poor man’s attempt to imitate the bagpipe of the British Isles. Could be. It has that quality sometimes.

Fiddle and string band music has been around a long time. One reason it isn’t any more popular and familiar to us today is perhaps because it is TOO old.

“By the time this music was being recorded its heyday as pop music, as the vernacular music we all listened to had already passed," said Harry Bolick, who literally wrote the book on Fiddle Music in Mississippi. "By World War Two the death knell had sounded.”

Even though you may associate fiddle tunes more closely with Appalachia, which fringes into northeast Mississippi, the old tunes collected here in our state during the Depression era by the WPA shows we put our accent on them.

“Mississippi is a cauldron that takes innocent fiddle tunes that wander in from afar and reconstitutes them in its own distinctive fashion,” Bolic determined.

And once a year fiddlers from far and wide gather at Historic Jefferson College in Washington, just outside Natchez, and dust off the old tunes and then raise some dust in competition and also in just some good old jam sessions.

Robert Gray with the Mississippi Fiddlers Association organizes this event and invites all of us to attend. It’s free to come watch and listen.

“It’s the weekend after Mother’s Day in May. And it’s always right here at Historic Jefferson College," said Gray. "A lot of these musicians have sort of given their time and energies to come down here and play. So this, in a lot of ways, is a gift to the state of Mississippi here at one of these historical properties.”

The next Great Big Yam Potatoes fiddlers contest and music gathering will be Saturday May 20th next year. There is usually a barn dance the Friday night before and lots of fiddle jam sessions during, plus the fiddlers contest. And it’s all free to attend.

Copyright 2016 MSNewsNow. All rights reserved.

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