‘Outport people’

George Macvicar
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There are certain people in history that can be considered as individuals who ‘pass the torch’.

These are teachers, artisans – storytellers and musicians to mention only a few lifestyles.

They are people who have that exceptionable ability to ‘bridge the gap’ between generations – to pass from their forefathers to their grandchildren history and other very special talents.

These people could be termed ‘caretakers’ of special skills or abilities.

It’s not something you watch in a movie or television program, where something mystical or magical is presented to wow the viewer.

It’s crafts and traditions woven over centuries in human beings to allow mankind to survive and prosper on this earth.

Musician Jim Payne has recognized this special talent in a number of Newfoundland and Labrador musicians. One in particular is long time Burin Peninsula accordion player John Joe Pidgeon.

Mr. Payne is preparing a documentary DVD on this exceptional artist from Shoal Point, in Marystown, to record his influence on the peninsula’s music and its people.

He did the same for Northern Peninsula fiddler extraordinaire Rufus Guinchard, who passed away a number of years ago but is still remembered for his unique talents.

A similar documentary was prepared for accordion player the late Minnie White from the Codroy Valley.

Mr. Payne’s work schedule for the rest of his life is going to be overflowing if he continues to promote Newfoundland and Labrador’s musicians, and their influence on this province and its residents.

Mr. Pidgeon’s legacy will not only live on in a documentary but in his family and his long time protégé Earl Pardy, also from Marystown. Earl has idolized Mr. Pidgeon during his association and carefully studied each movement on the accordion.

The talent that has thrived on the Burin Peninsula for close to a century now was spawned, for the most part, on the islands outside in Placentia and Fortune Bays. It flourished on the peninsula after resettlement as residents brought not only their homes but also their traditions out of the bay.

Culturally, we truly can consider ourselves ‘outport people’ and always will be.

George Macvicar, Editor/Manager

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, Marystown, Shoal Point Northern Peninsula Codroy Valley Placentia

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