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Uncommonly Strong Clawhammer Tunes #9: Cache tes Fesses

Posted by tfaux on Monday, May 19, 2014

like this



Another crooked French Canadian tune from Québécois fiddler Guy Bouchard (see also "Reel d'Issoudun.")  A polite translation of the title might be "hide your buttocks" (or "CYA" as they say in the military.)  There is an old Québec song having to do with a little girl and a little boy climbing up a ladder into an apple tree...  


Monsieur Bouchard is a terrific musician and was one of the early players in Québec's traditional supergroup "La Bottine Souriante." He has made it his life mission to track down, transcribe and promote crazy tunes like this, many of which he has also recorded with his group "Les Têtes de Violon" ("Fiddleheads." It's a double pun.)  Copies of Bouchard’s small self-published collection Vignt-cinq Airs Tordus became well-known among players of traditional music in the 1990s, competing for space with chunks of rosin in many fiddle cases, and adding significantly to the common French-Canadian repertoire both within and outside Québec.  Explanations for the crookedness vary, but such tunes have a strong cult following. As Guy says, "if one person plays a crooked tune they think he's crazy, but if we play it like that together they think we're all crazy!"


Tunes like this remind me of M.C. Escher drawings: you think you're at the end of a phrase but it turns out you're actually starting a new phrase (as in measure 2.)  Still, despite the asymmetry such crooked tunes have plenty of groove.  Cache Tes Fesses doesn't feel awkward when you get it going, and most self-respecting Québécois fiddlers would accompany themselves by tapping their feet vigorously.  I have transcribed the tune in 3/4 to minimize confusion, but I actually feel it as 4-beat measure, followed by a 2-beat measure.  



Tab is HERE>


My clawhammer version is HERE>  (thanks to Robin Kearton for her fiddling!)









6 comments on “Uncommonly Strong Clawhammer Tunes #9: Cache tes Fesses”

cornfed Says:
Tuesday, May 20, 2014 @7:59:30 AM

Wow! I just learned this tune a few weeks ago while fooling around with "Mount Hills", "Reel D,Issoudun" and another of Bouchard's dances "Bouchard's partie de Quadrille" (aplologies for misspellings). Robin does her usual spectacular job on this one, supporting the banjo, but really imaginative in her colorings. Well done! Needs to be longer!

If Peter hasn't told you already, I will be back in the Shampoo Banana next Monday. Looking forward to a new phase.

strokestyle Says:
Tuesday, May 20, 2014 @1:05:59 PM

Nice Tom!

wallflower Says:
Tuesday, May 20, 2014 @5:29:38 PM

The tune reminds me of a style of traditional French folkdance, specifically the Bourrée. Do they dance to it in Québec?

krholmes Says:
Tuesday, May 20, 2014 @6:21:10 PM

Another nice tune by Tom, and Robin, and an interesting and imformative narrative of the history.

tfaux Says:
Tuesday, May 20, 2014 @8:40:24 PM

Thanks for the kind comments all.

tfaux Says:
Tuesday, May 20, 2014 @8:57:16 PM

Yes, in both senses. In Québec the Bourrée is one of those folkloric dances that still makes the rounds in heritage celebrations. "Bourée" also translates as "loaded," in the alcoholic sense. That kind of dancing is almost a universal.

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