Join us for a little taste of Cape Breton in the heart of the Nation's Capital!

Last Update:

2016-11-24

The aim of Ottawa Cape Breton Session is to share Cape Breton music and culture with the National Capital area. The Sunday Pub sessions are open to anyone who enjoys the music. Sessions are primarily for the musicians to share the experience of traditional music, rather than perform for an audience. They are loosely organized, open to anyone who can play the common tunes of the tradition, and a great way to learn new tunes and meet new people. Want to join in? You can!

Open Jam Sessions: 1st and 3rd Sunday of every month. Sessions are led by Aylene, or sometimes other folks. This session is a mix of session and solo playing, let us know if you have something special to share with the group. Sheet music permitted. Generally a pretty fast pace. Jam ouverte avec concentration sur le pieces de l’ile du Cap Breton, de l’Écosse et de Glengarry. Apportez un instrument ou venez partager une chanson avec nous. Ou, venez savourez la musique et notre plaisir. On ne sait jamais qui s’y présentera, mais c’est certainement toujours un groupe avec un accueil amical avec qui passer l’après-midi.

House Sessions: 2nd and 4th Sunday of every month 2pm-5pm various locations. More of a practice session, slower pace for learning new tunes. Mainly aimed at those who read music or learn by ear quickly. For intermediate/advanced players. Session à domicile:  Session à vitesse moyennement accéléré où apprender de nouveau ‘sets’ de pieces, généralement  à partir de feuilles de musique mais aussi ‘à l’oreil’. Lieu idéal pour faire l’essaie d’une  nouvelle chanson, ou pratiquer de nouvelles pieces avant de les jouer à la session au pub. C’est aussi un bon temps pour faire du ‘social’ avec des gens forts sympatiques et pour savourer des grignotines délicieuses.

Reel Slooow Jams: The Reel Slooow Jam is an occasional and irregular gathering for those who are new to playing fiddle (or piano or guitar) and who would like to learn Cape Breton tunes. The focus is on tunes such as airs and waltzes, as well as playing jigs and reels from the session repertoire but at a slow learning pace with more time for those who don't read music to learn by ear. On vise les débutant(e)s au violon (ou piano ou guitar) qui désirent apprendre le pieces de l’Isle du Cap Breton dans un millieux amical et sans pression. Plusieurs aires et valses lentes ainsi que des jigues et des reels à partir du repertoire régulier, mais à une vitesse plus lente; ceci donnera plus de temps à ceux et celles qui ne savent pas lire la musique a apprendre à l’oreil. Vérifier la page “Tunes” pour la liste le plus souvent joué au Slow Jam (“jam lent”).

A word of caution: Cape Breton fiddle music is best learned by ear. Although detailed sheet music and sound files are provided here for learning the basics of a tune be aware that the tune may sound a little different played live. The sheet music provides the melody of a tune, and while some common ornamentation such as a 'cut' may be occasionally notated, in general the fiddler is encouraged to add to the sound with their own selection of ornamentation. In addition the rhythm pattern played may be slightly different than the dotted notes in the sheet music would have you believe. The best way to really learn these tunes is to come out and play along with us at either a house or pub session. You would be more than welcome!

To really capture the Cape Breton flavour of a tune, it is best to hear it played by a Cape Breton fiddler. Use Alan Snyder's Cape Breton Fiddle Recording Index to locate publicly available recordings containing the tune you are interested in. The index also returns the first few bars of the tune in notation and midi, it is very helpful when you know a tune but can't quite get it started (it happens to us all!).

Whats New?

  • 2017-02-24: Added mp3 files for sets 10, 12, 14, 23, 26. Thanks Tom Duxbury for the recordings!
  • 2016-11-24: Added the Christmas Collection (bottom of page)
  • 2016-04-05: Added mp3 files for RSJ 22 Dark Island and RSJ 8 Josephine's Waltz.
  • 2016-03-11: Added mp3 files for several sets. Recorded live at pub sessions so you can get a good idea of how the tunes are played locally. Thanks to Tom Duxbury for the files!
  • 2016-03-10: Added Sam Cormier Reel to set 51, also added Midi for set 51. Added RSJ22 Dark Island.
  • 2015-04-05: Combined all midi files into a single .zip archive. to allow downloading of all midi at one time.
  • 2015-03-14: Combined all tunes into three files, for easier printing. OCBS_Sets_01To16; OCBS_Sets17To35 and OCBS_Sets_36To52 links below
  • Full History: This page was getting too full! The longer list of changes is now here for those who are interested.

Complete Set List: Click here for a copy. Tune Index (Click here for a copy) and Key Signature Index (Click here for a copy) to complement the Set List. Merci Claude for volunteering to maintain these Indexes.

Download copies of the tunes in our sets. Click to see and hear, right-click and "save target" to download.

Here are three files that contain all tunes from 1 to 52: Sets_01To17     Sets_18To35    Sets_36To52

Here is a file that contains ALL midi files for all sets: OCBS Midi

MP3 Files: Many thanks to Tom Duxbury for recording the pub sessions and for providing play-along tracks for each set.

Cape Breton Fiddler's Association Sets

Ottawa CB Session Sets

Ottawa CB Session Sets

1. In Memory of Herbie MacLeod Set

Midi

17. To the Ladies

Midi

mp3

35. Captain O'Kane Gminor Set

Midi

mp3

2. Memories of Fr. Charlie MacDonald Set

Midi

mp3

18. Peter and Doreen Set

Midi

mp3

36. Johnnie Cope Set

Midi

3. Over The Cabot Trail Jig Set

Midi

mp3

19. Lament for Prophet

Midi

37. Dr. Keith Set

Midi mp3

4. Teviot Bridge Jig

Midi

mp3

20. Bog an Lochan

Midi

38. Si Bheag Si Mor Midi

5. The Mill of Newe Strathspey Set

Midi

21. Wedding Reel Set

Midi

mp3 39. Irish Set for St. Paddy's Midi mp3

6. Concert March, Miss Lyall's and King's Reels

Midi

mp3

22. Alton's Big Set

Midi

40. Falcon Bigney Jig Set Midi

7. Sheehan's Reel Set

Midi

mp3

23. Jigs Eh?

Midi

mp3 41. Lord Kelly Midi

8. Mackenzie Hay Set

Midi

mp3

24. Our Highland Queen

Midi

42. Hazel Craig Set Midi

9. Tracey's March Set (with grace notes)

Midi

mp3

25. Aylene's Beaton Set (Braes of Dunvegan)

Midi

mp3 43. Saddle the Pony Set Midi

10. Space Available March Set

Midi

mp3

26. Molly Rankin's Reel Set

Midi

mp3 44. Boolavogue/Brigit O'Malley Set Midi

11. Belfast Linen Jig Set

Midi

27. The Wilfred Gillis Jig Set

Midi

45. Off She Goes Set Midi

12. Brenda at SW Margaree Jig Set

Midi

mp3

28. Amelia's Waltz Set

Midi

mp3 46. Connaughtman's Rambles Set Midi

13. Juanita's Jig Set

Midi

mp3

**29. Sir Wilfred Laurier Jig Set

Midi

47. Mairi's Wedding Set Midi

14. Mary Jessie Gillis Strathspey Set

Midi

mp3

30. Hector the Hero Amaj

Midi

48. Tipperty's Jean D Jigs Midi mp3

15. Golden Rod Jig Set

Midi

31.  Malcolm's Rock Valley Jig Set

Midi

49. Kenmure's On An' Awa' Willie Midi
16. TBA
 

32. Mrs. Jamiesons' Favourite Set

Midi

mp3 50. The Iron Man *updated Midi mp3
   

33. Scotty's Favourite Em Jigs

Midi

mp3 NEW 51. Huntingtone Castle, Grand Etang  Midi
   

34. I Lost My Love Jig Set

Midi

mp3  52. Memories of Paddy Leblanc

If you're just starting out, start learning in this order: 17, 1,2,3,4,7,18,21,6....

Download a midi player: The VanBasco Karaoke Midi Player is a great tool to play midis at your own speed for learning. PC only. For a similar software for Mac try QMidi.

Extras: Lord MacDonald Reel Played by Bonita Leblanc (.wav)  FAST SLOW

Reel Slooow Jam Tunes - note that some tunes are extracted from full sets above
RSJ 1. Huntingtone Castle (with harmony) Midi RSJ 12. Mary Jessie Gillis (G) Midi  RSJ 23. Nancy mp390 mp3120
RSJ 2. Leaving Lismore-Morag of Dunvegan Midi RSJ 13. Herbie MacLeod (OCBS 1) Midi    
RSJ 3. Wild Rose of the Mountain Midi RSJ 14. Father Charles (OCBS 2) Midi    
RSJ 4. Ye Banks and Braes-Rose of Allenvale Midi RSJ 15. Over the Cabot Trail (OCBS 3) Midi    
RSJ 5. My Love Is Like a Red Red Rose Midi RSJ 16. Teviot Bridge (OCBS 4) Midi    
RSJ 6. The Ash Grove Midi(G) Midi(D) RSJ 17. Coilsfield House (OCBS 7) Midi    
RSJ 7. Trip to Mabou Ridge Midi RSJ 18. Mairi's Wedding Set (OCBS 47) Midi    
RSJ 8. Josephin's Waltz (ask for copy by email) mp3 RSJ 19. To the Ladies (OCBS 17) Midi    
RSJ 9. Rev. Archie Beaton (harmony) Midi RSJ 20. Lockerbie Lament (OCBS 18) Midi    
RSJ 10. Amelia's Waltz (OCBS 28) Midi RSJ 21. Molly Rankin's (OCBS 26) Midi    
RSJ 11. Boolavogue/Brigit (OCBS 44) Midi RSJ 22. Dark Island mp3    

 Christmas Collection: tunes we often play during the Christmas season. Many thanks to Prairie Mountain Fiddlers for sharing many of their arrangements!

   
IrishRadioCanada

Looking for something more Irish? Everything you need to find Irish music and culture as well as Ottawa Valley and other Celtic music in Ottawa is at

Listen to Irish/Celtic music from Ottawa online at the Gaelic Hour
Both sites contain links to various Celtic happenings in the Ottawa area. Irish Music Ottawa also has links to genealogy resources, local music teachers, instrument sales/repair, also links to tune archives.

shamrock