August session cancelled

From: USC digital collections

Sorry about last month, guys!

We were driving out of town (past our mobile zone) when we realised, to our horror, that we had forgotten to cancel the session!!! Egads, we felt like heels.  We were headed (very indirectly) to the Festival Mémoire et racines (more on that later, when we regroup), where we saw many of you anyway. But we sincerely apologise for our oversight.

This August session, we will be at Rob’s family reunion camping extravaganza on a mountain somewhere (I think, a lake is also involved).  Unless there is a brave volunteer from the studio audience (volunteer here:, then we will have to cancel the August 18th session as well.

…. anybody…?



June session, same bat time, same bat channel.

I would like to remind everyone that the normal session schedule resumes at noon on Sunday with our June session at the Tranzac.

Next Session:

Sunday, Jun 16th, 12:00 – 2:45PM
Tranzac Club, 292 Brunswick Ave, Toronto (map)

We look forward to seeing you there!

Saturday, June 1: Québécois set dance and silent auction fund-raiser

Round Dance at the benefit for Centre d'inspiration jeunesse

Round Dance at the benefit for Centre d’inspiration jeunesse

Building on the success of her previous venture, Edith is once again hosting a Québécois set dance and silent auction for the Centre d’inspiration jeunesse, a non-profit organisation that helps communities in Haiti become self-sustainable.

Edith has asked us to pass on the info:

Come enjoy another fantastic and fun filled evening keeping up with fiery fiddle tunes brought to us by Quebec’s favourite fiddler, Richard Forest, the best of the new generation of callers, Jean-François Berthiaume, amazing accordionist Peter Jellard of Swamperella, and lucky for us, now of Toronto Rob Rohr from Vermont.

This is an irresistible event with dancers from the other floors wondering “who’s havin’ so much fun?” You don’t want to miss the fun and you also don’t want to miss the silent auction or the chance to support Centre d’inspiration jeunesse, a Haitian-based NGO supporting local sustainable development including a music program close to our hearts.

No experience necessary.

C’est une veillée de danse comme à Québec avec des grands musiciens traditionnels du Québec, Richard Forest (violoneux) et Jean-Francois Berthiaume (caller et percussionniste) et aussi des amis d’ici, Peter Jellard (accordéoniste) et Rob Rohr (violoneux). Vous ne trouverez pas une soirée plus agréable et en plus c’est une affaire charitable, qui soutien un beau projet à Verrettes, Haiti. L’expérience n’est pas nécessaire. Tout le monde est le bienvenu.

Québécois set dancing at the benefit for Centre d'inspiration jeunesse

Québécois set dancing at the benefit for Centre d’inspiration jeunesse

There will also be a silent auction. You can call Edith at 416-796-6379 for more information or to donate items for the silent auction. You can invite your friends using the Facebook event Edith created for the dance.

Date: Saturday, June 1, 2012
Time: 8 p.m.
Venue: Dovercourt House, 805 Dovercourt Avenue (map)
Cost: $10 per person, though additional donations would be appreciated

We are certainly looking forward to this event. If you can’t make it, you can still support this worthwhile cause online.


Middle of May: Workshops with Pascal Gemme, Laura Risk, and World Fiddle Day. Wow!

Pascal Gemme from Genticorum will be in town on May 18-19, and is offering some all-instrument workshops in Québécois music at our house, in the east end of Toronto (Main & Gerrard area).
Come learn some tunes!

PascalSchedule for the weekend workshops with Pascal Gemme

Saturday, May 18

  • Workshop from 2:30 to 5:00 pm
  • Potluck supper starting at about 6:00 pm, followed by an open session

Sunday, May 19

  • Potluck brunch from 10:00 to 11:30 am
  • Workshop from 11:30 to 2:00 pm

Registration and venue

The workshops are $30.00 each ($60.00 for the weekend). You can register by emailing us at we’ll reserve your spot and send you our address and directions. Please note that space is limited (we have about 15 spots available), so if you register there is one fewer place for other musicians. You would be expected to pay even if something comes up at the last minute to prevent you from coming. 

You can also e-mail us for directions to attend the Saturday potluck or session. All events are BYOB.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Conflict with the monthly session

Unfortunately, due to Pascal’s heavy touring schedule the only weekend he had available is also the weekend of our monthly session. There will NOT be a session at the Tranzac in May. Instead, the session will be the previous (Saturday 18th) evening at our home.  See schedule above.

Conflict with World Fiddle Day

Anne Lederman is organising an event for World Fiddle Day, which unfortunately falls on the Saturday of the workshop we are offering. Please e-mail if you would like information about her Around the World fiddling event at Howard Park Emmanuel United Church (corner of Wright and Roncesvalles) from 1 to 5 pm. All stringed instruments are welcome. Sheet music is available.

laura_greenMidweek workshop with Laura Risk

Renowned Montreal fiddler, Laura Risk, will be passing through Toronto on Wednesday, May 22nd, and is also interested in offering a workshop of Quebecois or Scottish fiddling pending sufficient interest.

The workshop is on the evening of Wednesday, May 22nd, in the St. Clair and Bathurst area of Toronto, and will cost $30 per person.  Please email if you are interested.

Laura Risk is extremely well regarded as a teacher and touring fiddler with the group Triptych.  Workshop focus will depend upon the interest of the attendees.  Come learn from another extremely knowledgeable and skilled Quebecois fiddler.

This workshop is a great addition to the programs being offered by Pascal and Anne Lederman the previous weekend, and a great opportunity to learn some tunes should you decide to travel over the holiday weekend and miss World Fiddle Day and Pascal’s workshops and session.

May is an extremely busy month, so come on out and get your fingers flying!

May 11-12: The O’Shraves

The O’Shraves are in town to play a contra dance and a concert the weekend of May 11-12, 2013. Members of the band will also be available to for workshops Sunday afternoon.

Schedule for the weekendCourtesy: The O'Shraves

Saturday, May 11

  • The Toronto Country Dancers hosts a contra dance featuring the O’Shraves and caller Myra Hirschberg starting at 7:30. Please bring a pair of indoor shoes for dancing. (more information)

Sunday, May 12

  • Members of the band will be available for workshops in piano, fiddle, tin whistle or flute, and guitar Sunday afternoon. Please email Pat and Julie at before May 10 to register for this workshop.
  • Shelly Romalis is hosting a house concert in the Bathurst-St. Clair area of Toronto starting at 7 pm. Please email for tickets, which must be reserved ahead of time.

About the band

The O’Shraves (the O’Gorman/Schryer/Lefebvre family) from Northern Ontario play a mixture of music from the Canadian, Irish and Scottish musical traditions. Steeped in Ontario fiddle music, they play a lively and compelling mix of traditional tunes and original compositions with consummate skill and great joy.

Photo by Rob Majury, sootoday.comHeaded up by two of Canada’s finest traditional musicians, Julie Schryer (piano) and Pat O’Gorman (flute, whistle and bagpipes), this family band also consists of Benoît Schryer Lefebvre (winner of the 18 and under Pembroke Fiddle Contest in 2011 and in 2012, on fiddle), Zach Schryer Lefebvre (guitar, cello, whistle, piano and vocals), and Áine Schryer O’Gorman (winner of the 9 and under Pembroke Fiddle Contest in 2012, on fiddle, stepdancing and vocals).

They are an integral part of traditional music in Ontario. They run the AlgomaTrad Family Music and Dance Camp, and organize both dances and concerts all over Ontario and Michigan.

April 28 concert: The Brian Pickell Band

Brian Pickell, a regular at our session and a well-known composer of traditional Ontario music, is bringing his band to the Tranzac Club on Sunday, April 28, at 7:30 p.m.

As usual, the price is $20 ($18 for members of the Flying Cloud or of the Tranzac Club). Doors open at 7 p.m. His concerts are usually very popular, so arriving earlier makes sure you get a seat.

Brian plays guitar, banjo, mandolin and is joined by his2013 BrianTour band:

  • Shane Cook, a champion fiddler recognised in both the US and Canada (multiple winner of Canadian and Grand Masters Fiddle Contests and the American Grand National)
  • Ottawa-area multi-instrumentalist James Stephens on fiddle, mandolin, bass and viola
  • Pat O’Gorman, well-known piper and flute player, on on flute, whistles and pipes
  • Julie Schryer, widely considered to be one of the finest piano accompanists in Canada

This band is a delight to watch in concert: they are funny, individually talented and rock-solid as a group who have been playing together for many, many years.

Brian’s tunes, soft and melodic one moment and driving and rhythmic the next, are both fresh-sounding and traditional. Many different groups and individual players from around the world have recorded his compositions, including: Deaf Shepherd (Scotland), Tony McManus (Scoland and Canada), Liz Doherty (Ireland), The Halali Fiddle Band (USA), Oliver Schroer (Canada), Nicholas Williams (Canada), Pierre Schryer (Canada) and many others.

If you have never seen Brian’s band in concert, this video will give you an idea of their performance. It was recorded in Hugh’s Room a few years back, in a joint concert with Écosse, and shifts between a number of different tunes. Brian’s band is featured in the first 2 minutes, and then the second band is featured.

This concert is part of a small tour which also includes the following venues:

PARIS (ON): Thursday April 25th, 7:30 PM
925 Rest Acres Rd. at HWY 403. Tickets are $20 at the door, $18 in advance, and $10 for those aged 12 and under. For more information, please contact John at (519) 754-2439, or e-mail  

GREY COUNTY (ON): Saturday, April 27th, 7:30 pm
To attend this Mapleview house concert, you must RSVP in advance to All tickets are $20. This private home is located in rural Grey County about mid-way between Orangeville and Owen Sound, a few KM off HWY 10.

April 20 concert: Eh?!

Collaborative fiddle trio Eh? is returning to Toronto for a concert on Saturday, April 20. The show starts at 7:30pm a the Donway Covenant United Church ($20 for adults, and $12 for seniors and students. Free parking).

Eh?! blends Canadian fiddle traditions (Québécois, Métis, Irish, Cape Breton, Newfoundland, Ontario and original compositions) and explores them through various lenses, focusing on tradition, innovation, collaboration and improvisation. They play a wide variety of instruments, including 4 and 5-string fiddles, voices, piano, accordion, mandolins, guitars, viola, kalimba, percussion and feet.

Because the collaboration is rooted in improvisation, and the three members of the band are multi-instrumentalists and singers, literally anything can happen. No two shows are ever the same!

Eh?! features

  • Emilyn Stam, a talented young fiddle player and pianist, a protégée of the late Oliver Schroer who has worked with many well-known players and groups, including the Lemon Bucket Orchestra. She has written and recorded many compositions, including those featured on her first album, Holding Time.
  • James Stephens, a well-known performer and recording engineer, focuses primarily although not exclusively on stringed instruments. A veteran of several successful collaborations, James also plays with the Brian Pickell Band, Jiig, Écosse and a number of other projects.
  • Anne Lederman, internationally acclaimed fiddler, composer multi-instrumentalist and ethnomusicologist, Anne’s roots run deep into several musical traditions, including Celtic, Métis, French-Canadian, Klezmer, Balkan and African music. She is a sought-after teacher and performs regularly both as a solo performer and as a member of a wide variety of musical groups.

To listen to samples of the band playing, press the Play button (at the very top of the screen on the very top of their bio page). You will hear Pitou, Trip to Chelsea, Reilly Boys (song) and No Hands, a mixture of original compositions and traditional pieces, all of which feature the unique improvisational collaboration of this remarkable trio.

Session confirmed for Sunday, April 21

This is to confirm that the session is on for Sunday, April 21, from noon until 32:45pm at the Tranzac Club. See you all there! Remember that Taxi Chain is playing right after us, at 3pm.

Please note that we are scheduling a weekend Québécois music workshop with Pascal Gemme the weekend of our next scheduled session (May 18-20, 2013). We will post more information shortly, so please save the date. Pascal is behind the Tradquebec blog and plays with Genticorum.

We will discuss whether or not cancel the Tranzac session for that week at our next session.

Photo: Public domain. Courtesy: Archives of Ontario (1924) F-1405 50-21-113 commandolin

Sessions confirmed to the end of the year

Tranzac_logoJust a quick post to let you know that next session is March 17 at noon to 3pm, and that sessions have been confirmed to the end of the year. 

Thank you to Robbie at the Tranzac Club

The “calendar” tab (above) lets you display or add the TOqueTrad calendar, which has the sessions and info on upcoming events like Chants de vielles (in the last post), as well as a selection of other events. You can follow individual events (or series of events), or add the whole calendar.

June 27-30, 2013: Festival « Chants de vielles »

We just wanted to make sure you knew about this festival and, if so, that you knew that both the dates and locations have changed.Chant de veilles marcheurs_800px-400x181

Instead of being in September, it’s now in June.

Instead of being in Calixa-Lavalée, it’s in St-Antoine-sur-Richelieu.


Details will be posted on their website when they are available. Volunteer selection starts today and continues until March 28, 2013. See website for details.Vielle from dicktay2000 via flickr cc20

Chants de vielles focuses primarily on the hurdy-gurdy (vielle à roue), but also has a strong song component and excellent dancing. Don’t miss the walk, which takes you through the picturesque countryside while singing, the many sessions or the campfire!

Maybe see you there?