by Henry Boucher, St Lambert, QUEBEC

Nouvelle-France , 1636 :

"... and the natives begged us that in sign of rejoicing, and mutual love some the others, one danced in the sound of a hurdy-gurdy that had little François."
Père Lejeune , Relations des Jésuites p.268

Here were which begin very well, but which stayed without continuation. There were probably individuals somewhere in Quebec or in Canada, in different times, who played the hurdy-gurdy, but no written track, no tradition. In the 1967's with World Fair, Montreal received Gaston Rivière's visit, but this musician did not gain widespread acceptance.

It is only at the beginning of the 1970's that Yves Steinmetz (who had already made a hurdy-gurdy with Claude Flagel) and Daniel Thonon (founder of the group of medieval music "Le concert dans l'oeuf") built the first hurdy-gurdies in Quebec. In 1980, first meeting of pleyer's bagpipes and hurdy-gurdies took place to Ste-Christine. In 1982 event moved to St-Patrice de Beaurivage or it took place until 1996. These meetings of vielleux Québecois, American, and Europeans of passage, animated by the group "Ad Vielle que Pourra". Left with all of good recollections. One day, maybe, shall we be able to republish event ?

Quebec counts now several goods players :

During this time, in the United States :

Always in the beginning of 1970, in Mendocino in North California, Michael Hubbard built reproductions of historic hurdy-gurdies. He eventually created a hurdy-gurdy more simple to build : the oval shape of a hurdy-gurdy with body of lute but profoundly flat, without sculptured head or the other decorations, which he called "Volks-Gurdy", a wink to Volkswagen, then car the least expensive to the country (I know, times changed). This model was resumed in 1988 by Alden and Cali Hackmann ( http://www.hurdygurdy.com/hg/hghome.html ). Their studio names Olympic music, not by competitive spirit but simply because there is near the mountain Olympia in the state (and not the city) Washington, on the coast West. It is near there that holds festival "Over the water hurdy-gurdy festival" the most important meeting of hg's players in America.

On the coast is, players contents with "squatting" in various festivals folk song, as the NEFFA (http://www.neffa.org/~neffa/) in Boston (meeting in the kiosk of the stringed-instrument maker Matt Szostak (http://www.midcoast.com/~ beechhil/vielle/index.html for improvised concert) or still in "Northumbrian Pipers Convention ", meet players of Northumbrian Pipes to North Hero Vermont (meeting on the balcony of the village hall). I was going almost to forget "Hurdy-Gurdy Day" of Toronto (http://www.hurdygurdy.com/hg/ck/toronto.html) organized by Catherine Keenan, leader of the group "Vielle-a-Rousse ".

Here is a brief outline of the activities of hg's players in Quebec and in North America generally, I hope not to have forgotten too much world.

In the pleasure to see you there a day !

Henry Boucher

Photo taken by Aaron Garceau (up has the left) in March, 1999 during the second "Day of the Hurdy-gurdy" in the Vermont.
Left to right-hand side :
Behind with the hurdy-gurdy : Matt Szostak, stringed-instrument maker,

Arranged by the Aaron centre, me, Daniel Thonon, John Kmetz with the bagpipe. In the right Mc Harg, factor of bagpipes and organizer of the event.

In the first row : beard, lines blue hurdy-gurdy in lute : Brian McCandless, stringed-instrument maker and musician amator of high level with his wife Michèle, green jumper hurdy-gurdy guitar, they form a duet called "Trikkiwikit". And Gisèle Mc Harg on the right.

Map - Top of the page - French version

Copyright mars 1999 - Henry Boucher - St Lambert, QUEBEC