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Joseph Allard

This early legend of French Canadian fiddling learned the art from his father, in the manner of so many folk musicians. At 18, Joseph Allard moved to the United States in search of employment, wound up getting married, and met up with a crowd of musicians that had come across on boats from Ireland and Scotland. His repertoire of jigs and reels began increasing and upon return to Quebec in 1928 he picked up a contract with Victor records, busily recording many local artists now that master fiddler Isidore Soucy had broken ground and proven there was a market for such a thing. Allard cut nearly 75 sides during his tenure with the company. The recordings circulated and he became popular throughout the province of Quebec. It was said at the time that any household that could afford a gramophone would naturally have a couple of Allard's sides to go along with it. He was known as "the prince of fiddlers," and his music had a huge impact on up-and-coming Jean Carignan, who went on to become the most famous French Canadian fiddler in history, paying back his idol by recording a tribute to him for Philo in 1971. The French Canadian fiddle repertoire as it stands contains a large number of pieces originally recorded by Allard. In 1997, on the 50th anniversary of his death, the town of Chateauguay honored Allard by naming both a street and a room in the new public library in his honor. ~ Eugene Chadbourne, Rovi
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