Cranford Publications News
Traditional Music from
Cape Breton, Ireland and Scotland
Volume #2, Newsletter #2 05-2013

In This Issue:


World Fiddle Day - the first year
The Cape Breton Scottish Collection
      New book - lots of sample tunes online
A New Jig by Jerry Holland
Dougie MacDonald - book and CD
Lloyd MacDonald
      Marching Air - Doctor Lloyd
      Bb Reel - Tokyo Lloyd
4 part Pipe March  - previously unpublished
4-part Reel  -  Gone too Soon

Keep Calm and Fiddle On


Cranford Publications
Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, Canada
 1 888 860 8073  (FAX or message anytime)
 1 902 929 2391 (9AM-6PM AST)  promotes old-style instrumental Cape Breton and Celtic dance music. Notation, sound clips and information are posted online - resources that complement the books and recordings we make available. 

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Introductory Note from the Editor

Paul Cranford, at home in Cape Breton
World Fiddle Day is being celebrated this Saturday, May 18, 2013.  For our contribution to this annual event, Cranford Publications is hosting a release party for a  new compilation of fiddle tunes, a book  titled The Cape Breton Scottish Collection . 

The book is a new collection of old music.  It has been a long time coming, the result of my involvement with the music for over 35 years.

Saturday's event is also a session (4-9 PM at Rollie’s Wharf, North Sydney). For those of you close enough to come for a tune, bring your fiddle.
Think Globally, Fiddle Locally
World Fiddle Events are posted on their  Facebook page   
The Cape Breton Scottish Collection
Cape Breton Scottish
Vol. 8 CB Heritage Series - 318 Tunes
This book is a new compilation of Scottish music, originally published between 1740-1935, as interpreted by 20th century Cape Breton musicians. 

The circumstances surrounding this book feel right. Two weeks before it was scheduled to go to press, Highland Village Museum in Iona offered us the cover photo, a tin-type circa 1900 of The MacKinnon Fiddlers, three brothers from Cooper’s Pond, Victoria County. It is an image that has never been published before, and as well, it is a photo that conveys exactly what we wanted.

The week I sent the new book to press, I went to our regular Thursday night session at Rollie’s Wharf. In addition to my fiddle, I had a book release poster with me. The first person I spotted was an old friend, Mildred (MacEachern) Leadbeater, a 92 year old piano player. In the late 1940s, Mrs. Leadbeater had a weekly live radio show on CJFX, Antigonish. Later Mildred was the piano accompanist on Johnny Wilmot’s first LP (circa 1957). Others might remember her as the person who  taught Buddy MacMaster to read music.

The Forth Bridge  - One of Buddy's pet tunes

When I showed my book release poster to Mildred we were both amazed at the serendipity. Before her father was married, he had lived in Grand Narrows and was taught the fiddle by the very same Ned MacKinnon who is now on the cover of the new collection. Mildred is perhaps the only person in the world who has a living musical connection to Ned and unknowingly, outside of those working on the project, she was the first person I showed the cover to! 

A tune from J. Scott Skinner
A Skinner tune  recorded by Dan R.

These lads were born in the 1870s. The most famous of the three, Ned MacKinnon, died in 1925. A 4th generation Cape Breton Scot, in addition to the tunes he absorbed from the local tradition, he interpreted music from older collections. Apparently he was one of the first Cape Bretoners to play the music of J. Scott Skinner. The book contains 26 Skinner tunes from 1880-1923.

Lamey and MacLean circa 1950
Joe MacLean & Bill Lamey (c.1950)

Within the new book, the only 20th century Scotsman represented is J. Murdoch Henderson. A talented composer and friend of J. Scott Skinner, Henderson indirectly guided a generation of Cape Breton fiddlers towards older Scottish repertoire. A fiddler from New Deer, Aberdeenshire, J. Murdoch was also both a scholar and an antiquarian book seller. The books he sold Cape Bretoners exerted great influence on the repertoire chosen by early recording artists such as Dan R. MacDonald, Joe MacLean,  Bill Lamey and Winston Fitzgerald.

E major reel
A Henderson reel  recorded by Winston Fitzgerald

Cape Breton setting  of a Gow tune

Most of the music included in this new book is from the 18th and 19th centuries, the period when Scottish settlers came to Cape Breton. A tradition of instrumental dance music has continued here since time of the highland clearances. This collection presents music from that era through the early 20th century. The settings of these tunes pay respect both to the composers’ intentions as given in the original published collections, and to the Cape Breton traditions which have given this music new life and caused it to evolve.


The Cape Breton Scottish Collection is Volume 8 of of our series. Once again, the tune settings are not verbatim copies from old books, instead local embellishments and accenting has been added - transcriptions of older Cape Breton players, and/or composites of transcriptions in conjunction with original sources. As well, the repertoire has been carefully selected to stay clear of the other Scottish and Cape Breton titles currently distributed by Cranford Publications including The Skye, Simon Fraser, Alexander Walker, Scottish Violinist, The Harp and Claymore, DunGreen, and William Marshall Collections.

New tunes added at

We have posted more than 10% of the tunes from The Cape Breton Scottish Collection online. These include references to both the original sources and to the Cape Breton musicians who influenced the setting given. You will find these tunes by following the links in this newsletter.


 Flexible Bundle Offer  
To buy 8 books for $100  go here
Collectively the eight books in the CB Heritage Series now contain over over 2000 tunes. Most individual titles are available separately for about $20. For those of you looking for a bargain you can buy in bulk - perhaps collectively for a group of musicians, or because you want to complete a personal library.

Our flexible bundle offer gives you a choice of any eight of the following ten Cranford Publications titles offered below - (including multiple copies of the same book) for $100 + postage. If you want more than 8 books that's OK too - still $12.50 each.

The default bundle is the complete CBMH Series (the first 8 in the list below). If you want to subsititute just send an email after purchase.

For info on any of the eligible titles, or to buy a book separately, follow any of the links below: 
  1. The Cape Breton Scottish Collection
  2. Jerry Holland: The Second Collection
  3. Brenda Stubbert: The Second Collection
  4. Winston Fitzgerald: A Collection of Fiddle Tunes
  5. The Lighthouse Collection
  6. The Cape Breton Fiddlers Collection
  7. Jerry Holland's Collection
  8. Brenda Stubbert's Collection
Or choose  one or both of the following titles also from Cranford Publications
  1. Move Your Fingers -  The Life and Music of Chris Langan
  2. The Celtic Colours Collection
  A New Jig from Jerry Holland
A previously unpublished Jerry Holland Jig

A couple months back I got a call from fiddler Rannie MacLellan. He left a message which included the audio of a 5 year old phone message he had received from Jerry Holland - a new tune which Jerry had likely composed the day he recorded the original 'message'. As far as we know this jig has never circulated. Apparently besides leaving a low fidelity solo fiddle recording, all Jerry said on his message was What do you Think of This? - and so that's what Rannie calls the tune. Neither of us have ever heard the tune but we are pretty certain it's one of his.

Jerry Holland passed away in 2009 and few months later his good friend Dougie MacDonald was killed in a car accident. Dougie was also a great fiddler and composer. We are lucky that his widow, Laureen is keeping his book, Fiddle Tunes and last completed CD, A Miner, in print. 

Dougie MacDonald's tune book, and his last CD, both still available

CD produced by Dougie and Jerry
Dougie's book
   Lloyd MacDonald -  1931-2013

Fiddler Lloyd MacDonald passed away a few weeks back. His very musical funeral was an emotionally moving event which, true to form, Lloyd organized and orchestrated himself during his final weeks. He left us all celebrating a successful life instead of mourning one that has passed.

Mildred Leadbeater & Lloyd MacDonald, late '40s

Originally from the Gannon Road in North Sydney, Lloyd first learned the violin from professor Jimmy MacDonald. When he was just a teenager he was introduced to the public on Mrs. Leadbeater’s Scottish radio show (mentioned above). Years later, in the early 80s, I met Lloyd in Mildred’s home where Johnny Wilmot took me to participate in Thursday night music sessions which Mildred hosted.

Over the years, my friendship with Lloyd and his family strengthened due to my association with his son, guitarist, producer Paul M. MacDonald. I have written Lloyd three tunes. In the '90s, I wrote him a jig called The Kilt and the Gauntlet  (published in the Lighthouse Collection).

More recently, the marching air, Doctor Lloyd  was written after Cape Breton University gave him an honourary Doctorate to recognize his many contributions to the community. Finally the B flat reel was finished a few days after Lloyd died.   Tokyo Lloyd  is a humorous nickname which Lloyd called himself in an unforgettable TV advertising campaign which he ran for his car business over 30 years ago.

Future Projects
Scottish Pipe March with Cape Breton variations
The Cape Breton Scottish Collection is the 8th volume of a series. There are 4 more volumes in the works, so I should be busy for the next ten years or so.

These projects do seem to take on lives of their own so I can't project release dates. The next title will likely be called The Cape Breton Highland Collection and it will mainly consist of Scottish pipe tunes as interpreted by Cape Breton fiddlers.

At right is an example of a pipe march from the aural tradition. I learned it from Johnny Wilmot who had learned it as a two part march from his uncle Joe Confiant. Johnny added the third turn and I added a fourth. It is undoubtedly an old tune, but so far I haven't turned it up in any books. If anyone knows the title please let me know.

I'm looking for early photos of Cape Breton pipers or fiddlers (especially images of musicians who played both instruments - Cape Bretoners such as Dan Rory MacDougall, Gordon MacQuarrie, Piper Alex MacDonald, Gordon Cote, Francis MacDonald, Paddy Currie etc.). If you have, or know of something that could be shared, please contact me.
 One last Tune - a reel for Jerry Holland and Dougie MacDonald
  Fiddle Me This :
Keep Calm Fiddle On
Custom Fiddle Designs

My wife Sarah is a fiddler and piano accompanist too.  She is also a potter and graphic designer.  She has a number of online shops selling her designs, some of which are based on Zazzle, a print-on-demand site.  Fiddle Me This is her store that focuses on violin based items.  You can order fiddle T-shirts, bumper stickers, mugs, iPad and laptop sleeves, buttons, cards and many other products.  As well, you can customize them by adding your name or text to the design.

You can also find musical designs in her shop The Artful Badger on

In the summer months you can usually find me working in Sarah's shop, Wildfire Pottery which is easy to find on the  Cabot Trail. In addition to her artwork, the shop also sells the books and CDs which you can find on at

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Now I've got to get back to the fiddle.  There are tunes to be learned!!


Paul Cranford
Cape Breton Island
May, 2013