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House Concert – The East Pointers
February 18, 2017 @ 8:00 pm - 11:00 pm
Here’s a fun fact about traditional music: it’s not always old even when it sounds like something lifted straight from a vintage ceilidh. For proof, witness The East Pointers – guitarist Jake Charron, fiddler Tim Chaisson and his cousin, banjoist Koady Chaisson – vocalists all and, in the case of the Chaissons, members of Prince Edward Island’s reigning musical dynasty.
The East Pointers unwrap new possibilities in a musical style that dates back centuries yet is still relevant on multiple, divergent continents. Almost without even trying, the trio makes traditional music seem ridiculously hip. Also the most fun thing on the planet to dance (and raise a pint) to.
“That’s something The East Pointers are trying to accomplish – breathe some new, original life into traditional music,” confirms Tim Chaisson, whose solo career as a singer/songwriter (see 2015’s acclaimed Lost in Light) is thoroughly established. “A lot of times, people think of it as music for an older generation but we’re hoping to introduce a whole new generation of listeners.”
Only a fool would bet against the band – an adrenalized, roof-rattling, performance monster – or their excellent repertoire.
“Traditional music is equivalent to soul music in my mind. It can take you to another place even if you haven’t heard it before,” Tim Chaisson says.
Koady adds: “We are literally the seventh generation of musicians in our family, and what we do is a little different than what our uncles might do, for example, which would be more Scottish influenced. We embrace the Scottish influence… but also Irish and French and so on.”
“This is dance music that’s been around for hundreds of years,” Charron adds. “It can be tough to replicate that in the studio but that’s partly why we were all playing in the same room when we record – to try and capture that live vibe.”
“Jake has two pick-ups on his guitar allowing him to play guitar and bass at the same time, creating a big sound,” Tim Chaisson explains. “I play a stomp-box with one foot and a tambourine with the other to add rhythm you wouldn’t necessarily hear. And Koady usually step dances during that tune live – another tradition in our family – so it’s great for a crowd to dance or clap along to.”
Both Tim and Koady Chaisson confirm they were encouraged to preserve and uphold traditional East Coast music by members of the sprawling Chaisson clan. (Another fun fact: the Chaissons’ grandfather Joe Pete Chaisson co-founded the Rollo Bay Fiddle Festival in 1976 to promote and fund traditional fiddle playing across P.E.I.)
What better way to keep the music alive than by cultivating a new audience swept up by its vibrancy and keen to attend live gigs?
“Everyone in my family either plays fiddle or dances. Music was always around us, and it was just a way of life,” Koady Chaisson says. Adds Tim Chaisson, “Growing up, I was playing fiddle before I realized I was playing fiddle if that makes any sense. I think with any family tradition, it’s introduced so young that it almost becomes second nature.”
“One thing we’ve always loved about this music is that it’s accessible to all ages,” says Charron. “In Canada generally and on the East Coast particularly there is a lot of history and a lot of stories attached to this music. Even the instrumental tunes have stories behind them and hopefully this is something that can be passed on through future generations.”