Tag: Canada


Basia Bulat and the Pianoette – Great Song “The…

Basia Bulat – a Canadian singer/songwriter plays some very special instruments: the autoharp, ukulele, charango and the very special pianoette – a fretless zither from the beginning of the 20th century.

I have discovered Basia Bulat from some free concerts on the NPR site and a short feature about her autoharp playing.

But the most fascinating video that I have found is Basia Bulat with her song The Shore. In this song Basia Bulat plays the Pianoette, one of the rare kinds of fretless zithers that were invented during the first years of the 20th century. When I first saw the video I was really wondering how Basia Bulat could produce this fascinating sound with chords and even a tremolo sometimes with just one instrument.

The pianoette has a special mechanism to play chords with the left hand, while the melody is played with a little hammer that beats onto the double strings in the same way as the hammered dulcimer is played. It is even possible to play a kind of tremolo with the swinging hammer.

The pianoette produces a great sound, and makes this song to a very special one:

#16.1 Basia Bulat – “The Shore”

Wideosesja Basia Bulat with – a young Canadian with Polish roots.

In the Palace of Culture during a concert at the Cultural Cafe Basia promote their second album “Heart Of My Own.” With this album specifically for the Free the Music! played the songs “The Shore” and “Hush.”

HibOO d’Live : Basia Bulat “The Shore”

Playlist Basia Bulat

Additional Information

Homepage Basia Bulat:

concert by radio 3 (Spain) – great concert video – Basia Bulat plays the charango, autoharp, guitar, piano and keyboard.

Homepage about  the fretless zithers:

About the Osborne pianoette:

NPR concert – Sasquatch 2011: Basia Bulat, Live In Concert:

NPR Tiny Desk concert:

Basia Bulat: Making The Autoharp Cool:

My post abouth fretless zithers in Switherland (German – will be translated within the next days):

Related posts:


CD recommendation: Good Advice by Basia Bulat (amazon partnerlink)

aa mandolin guitar

Farewell to Nova Scotia

The banjo player of my bluegrass band sung this song when we met last time – Farewell to Nova Scotia.  She grew up in Canada and moved back to Germany, and used to sing this song when she felt homesick.

This is a nice folk song, and there are many nice versions at youtube.

My favorite version up to now is the following by Bonnie Dobson – with some nice mandolin playing in the background:

Bonnie Dobson – Farewell to Nova Scotia

A very smooth version played with two harps:

Farewell to Nova Scotia – Ardyth and Jennifer

and a heavy version:

The Real McKenzies – Farewell To Nova Scotia

Playlist with many more versions, for example by:

  • Sons of Maxwell- Sons of Maxwell is a Canadian music duo who perform both traditional Celtic folk music and original compositions with a pop-folk sound.
  • Rising Gael – Rising Gael was named one of the “Best Celtic Folk Bands of 2010” by Marc Gunn on his popular Celtic Music Podcast!
  • Ryan’s Fancy – Ryan’s Fancy was a musical group active from the 1960s until the 1980s, all three of whose members were Irish immigrants to Canada.

Additional information

wikipedia about Farewell to Nova Scotia (with lyrics): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Farewell_to_Nova_Scotia

Homepage The Real McKenzies: http://www.realmckenzies.com/Welcome.html

Homepage RisingGael: http://www.risinggael.com/

Homepage Sons of Maxwell: http://sonsofmaxwell.com/

Wikipedia about Ryan’s Fancy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ryan%27s_Fancy

Sheet music:






The Dardanelles – Traditional Folk Music from Newfoundland

A new interesting concert is available at the CBC – The Dardanelles is a five piece folk band from Newfoundland with mandolin or bouzouki, guitar, fiddle, accordeon, tin whistles and bodhran.

Armed with an intense love of the music of their native home, and an energy found more often in three-piece rock bands than in five-piece folk acts, The Dardanelles have become one of the hottest acts to come out of Newfoundland in years. Great players all, their imaginative and exciting arrangements of Newfoundland’s storied traditional repertoire is breathing a real cool factor into the genre.

In October 2010, fresh from a summer of playing Canada’s major folk festivals, The Dardanelles performed a high octane set at Newfoundland and Labrador’s annual Music Industry Awards in Rocky Harbour.

This concert is very enjoyable if you like typical Celtic or Irish folk music, especially I liked the version of the tune The Scholar as played by the Dardanelles – a tune that I already know from a medley by Peter Ostroushko and that I have leared to play on the mandolin.

(Concert no more availble)

You can see and hear the mandolin and bouzouki in the following video.

The Dardanelles – Boyd’s Cove Singles

Playlist with more videos by the Dardanelles

Additional Information

Website: http://thedardanelles.com/

Sheet music  / TABs of The Scholar: http://abcnotation.com/tunePage?a=trillian.mit.edu/~jc/music/abc/England/reel/Scholar/0000&p=y

You can also find this and many other tunes here: http://www.cpmusic.com/tradmus.html

historical recordings

The Virtual Gramophone – Historical Recordings from Canada

The Virtual Gramophone is a site where thousands of recordings from the early 20th century from Canada can be found as podcasts or for immediate download.

Welcome to the Library and Archives of Canada’s Virtual Gramophone, a multimedia website devoted to the early days of Canadian recorded sound, providing an overview of the 78-rpm era in Canada.

Edison Opera phonograph with blue amberol cylinder (taken from the virtual gramophone)

I have also found some recordings with a mandolin on this site. If you search for “mandolin” you can find more examples, but the following audio files are available for download:

Lefman; Rosemarin El choclo : tango argentin Details Listen [MP3 1,492 KB]
Lefman; Rosemarin Les flots du Danube = Waves of the Danube Details Listen [MP3 1,510 KB]
Lefman; Rosemarin La spagnola : valse = [The spanish dancer] Details Listen [MP3 1,468 KB]
Trio Napolitain La belle Italie = Beautiful Italy : polka Details Listen [MP3 2,543 KB]
Trio Napolitain Belle Napolitaine = Beautiful Napolitan : valse Details Listen [MP3 2,651 KB]

You can use the Index Sorted by Performer to locate and download those files:


You can also subscribe to several podcasts which collect certain audios to get audio file downloaded automatically to itunes:


The following version of the Maple Leaf Rag can also be found in the Virtual Gramophone:

Vera Guilaroff improvises Scott Joplin’s Maple Leaf Rag 1926

The Virtual Gramophone site has a lot of interesting information about the history of recorded music in Canada. You can find background articles, biographies of many artists, some videos of the gramophones playing the old records and much mor – a great  site if you are interested in historical recordings made on 78 records or even Edison cylinders.


Sheet music

Another site dedicated to the history of music in Canada is the siet Sheet Music From Canada’s Past:


There you can find some nice galleries of title pages of old sheet music, several background articles and much more.

Additional information

Link collection for other great sites with historical recordings of shellac records: http://pinboard.in/u:mandoisland/t:gramophone/