Annotation:Bastringue (La)

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BASTRINGUE, LA. Canadian (originally), American; Air and Reel. Canada; Quebec, Prince Edward Island. USA, New England. D Major ('A' part) & D Mixolydian ('B' part). Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB (most versions): AABB' (Brody). "La Bastringue" has its origins in an old French tune from the 17th or 18th century. It appears set in 6/8 time in a number of English collections in the 19th century, such as Wilson's Companion to the Ballroom (1816) under the title "Voulez Vous Danser/Voulez-vous danser, Mademoiselle." In French Canada it became a "party song" which tells of an older man who wants to dance "La Bastringue" with a girl. He soon finds he isn't up to the pace, however, and to save face tries to beg off by feigning concern for the woman's stamina. She proves equal to the task, though, and he finally just has to give up. The first verse goes:

Mademoiselle, voulez-vous danser La Bastringue,
Mademoiselle, voulez-vous danser,
La Bastringue est commencee.

The song has become as close to being an unofficial French-Canadian national folk anthem as any, though it is perhaps better known now as a dance tune, especially in New England. It was popularized in Quebec through the recordings and performances of Famille Soucy. Transplanted French-Canadian fiddler Omer Marcoux {1898-1982} (Concord, N.H.) recalled it as one of the first dance tunes he learned, and related that his father played it for the first tune of the evening, to get everyone moving in the house. A third part is infrequently played after the familiar first two parts-Vermont fiddler Louis Beaudoin played the first strain of "Moneymusk" as his third part, points out Paul Tyler. There is a similarly titled, but unrelated reel called "La Bistringue."

Additional notes
Source for notated version : - Jean Carignan (Montreal, Canada) [Brody]; Omer Marcoux (Concord, N.H.) [Miskoe & Paul]; Louise Arsenault (b. 1956, Mont Carmel, East Prince County, Prince Edward Island; now resident of Wellington) [Perlman].

Printed sources : - Brody (Fiddler's Fakebook), 1983; p. 36. Olivier Demers (1000 airs du Québec et de l’Amérique francophone), 2020; p. p. 27 (twp versions). Miller & Perron (New England Fiddlers Repertoire), 1983; No. 141. Miskoe & Paul (Omer Marcoux), 1994; p. 37. Perlman (The Fiddle Music of Prince Edward Island), 1996; p. 152. Sweet (Fifer's Delight), 1964/1981; p. 59. Welling (Welling's Hartford Tunebook), p. 12.

Recorded sources : - Folkways FG 3532, "Alan Mills and Jean Carignan." Green Linnet SIF-1051, Jackie Daly, Seamus & Manus McGuire - "Buttons and Bows" (1984). Legacy 120l, Jean Carignan- "French Canadian Fiddle Songs." Philo 2002, "Beaudoin Family." Smithsonian Folkways Recordings SFW 40116, Les Franco-Américains - "Mademoiselle, voulez-vous danser?" (1999. Various artists). Varrick VR-038, Yankee Ingenuity - "Heatin' Up the Hall" (1989). Victor B-1153-B (78 RPM), Isidore Soucy & Donal Lafleur (1938). Voyager 320-S, Frank Ferrel- "Fiddle Tunes." Jackie Daly (et al) - "The Big Squeeze."

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