I’ve been thinking of the tune “Plant a Cao,” lately (sheet music down below). It was nominated for tune of the month over on Melodeon.net. It was voted down, but a fascination was still sparked. This is a scottish I first heard on the Musaique CD, by Ad Vielle Que Pourra. They play it at light speed, which suits me some of the time. My current favorite version is this one by Jean Luc Gueneau and Gilles Poutoux:
I heard the Gentiane version, featuring the great Jean Blanchard some years later. It has a gentler, more playful tone:
And here’s a solo accordion version by Jac Lavergne, from his Cadence d’Auvergne cassette tape.
The “lightspeed” version I mentioned above is the second tune in the set below:
A few days ago I came across a performance of Scottiche à Catinaux (spellings vary, but I like this one) by French one-row accordeonaire Gilles Poutoux. In itself it’s unusual to hear French tunes on the one-row (though there is the obvious connection to Quebecois and Cajun one-row traditions), but the tune happened to be one of my faves, a Bal Folk standard.
The scottiche is a medium tempo couples dance in 4/4 (I love medium tempo). This one is particularly simple and seems to come along early in the learning arc of many players. Perhaps because, it appeared on Jean Blanchard’s seminal Accordeon Diatonique recording, which set the bar for everyone back in 1977. But its simplicity does not diminish the joy and possibilities for Scottiche à Catinaux. Poutoux on the one-row plays a bubbly sort of scottiche, with a lot of verve and vim. But that’s his take on the tune. Here is the sheet music, the pure tune:
Scottiche à Catinaux
(NOTE: This is a correction from an earlier posted image, h/t Anahata)
Notice on the third beat of the first bar in the B section, where the melody drops. It goes to an A. An F chord is the natural choice, and that F chord makes all the difference. The F chord confirms that, in fact, there is love in the room. That’s right. I said it.
There are many versions of this tune on the YouTubes. I especially love Anahata’s version, pairing the tune with Scottish á Virmoux, another ear worm of a tune.
Finally, I’ll offer my own version from my CD, L’Autre Diatoniste (available at Bandcamp). At this far remove (it was recorded five years ago) it sounds too fast (that’s the trouble with technically easy tunes), but I still like it. I like Will Leavitt’s spoon playing. And I like the second tune, L’eau de Roche. Enjoy.
This is Florence Glorion a player of the chromatic button accordion, who duets often with diato player Florence Pindivic. They host a site together, Diou Flo, which focuses primarily on Breton music. I love both of the Florences’ music, and will feature Pindivic next week.
Le Bon Truc is a quartet featuring me, Steve Gruverman (clarinet), Barbara Truex (strings, etc.), and Joëlle Morris (voice, etc.). Before Christmas we performed at the Saco River Winter Market. We played both Christmas stuff and French bourrées, waltzes, and polkas. Here are six videos. The room is noisy, but it was a great time.
Last night I played a free gig at the Hubbard Free Library, in Hallowell, Maine. It was short — about 45 minutes was requested — and cookies were provided. It was a great time!
The room was filled with some very appreciative people who seemed more than reasonably fascinated by the music I was playing. I live so much in the accordéon world that I forget that it’s an uncommon — dare I say, revelatory? — experience for some. I video taped the whole thing. Here’s a set of Scottishes. Notice that even though I’ve been playing all of these tunes for nearly a decade, I still have a glitch in the last tune. Grumble.
I’m playing at the Water Street Cafe this afternoon and compiling a set list. At the same time, I’ve begun recording a CD, and putting together a set list for that. It’s interesting that the live set list is much longer than the recording set list (which is continuing to evolve). Tunes that I feel completely comfortable playing in a bustling cafe, don’t meet my standards when committed to recording — and both of those are small subsets of the large group of tunes I play in my living room. So here’s the live set list. Links, in some cases, to videos.
In French music a scottish is not Scottish, and it’s not a schottische (however you want to spell that). A scottish is a mid-tempo four-four dance. I often think of these in the same light as mazurkas: medium tempo bits of goodness and light. The best one’s have a nice sort of lopey feel. They’re not usually technically demanding, and thus tend to be played too fast. Resist the temptation!
Tufty, a regular debator over on Mel.Net posted a link to a Breton scottish called Scottish du Pere Rouxel, one of my favorites, followed by Scottish Jaquot, which I’d never heard before. Great job there! Scottish du Pere Rouxel was a tune I learned from Dave Shepard’s book of Breton tunes. Imagine this neophyte looking in a book of Breton tunes and seeing “scottish.” Took me a while to sort that out.