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Home Arts ‘Master of the Metis Fiddle’ grateful for Sask. Music Awards recognition

‘Master of the Metis Fiddle’ grateful for Sask. Music Awards recognition

‘Master of the Metis Fiddle’ grateful for Sask. Music Awards recognition
Debden’s John Arcand was honoured with an Indigenous Music Achievement Award at the fifth annual Sask. Music Awards on Dec. 11. -- Submitted photo.

Debden’s John Arcand, “Master of the Metis Fiddle”, was honoured with an Indigenous Music Achievement Award at the fifth annual Saskatchewan Music Awards on Dec. 11 during a sold-out show at Darke Hall in Regina.

“I was thrilled to receive it,” said Arcand in an interview with the Herald. “It’s one of many that I have.”

Considered a foundation of modern Indigenous music in the province, Arcand is renowned across the country for his passions of preserving Metis traditions, old time fiddling, and his work with youth. Arcand was named to the Order of Canada in 2008 and invested into the Order of Gabriel Dumont “Gold” for a lifetime of outstanding service to the Metis people.

He estimated he has received around 21 awards similar to the Indigenous Music Achievement Award over the years.

“To the many fans that I have, I think I’m more happy for them than actually receiving the award,” he said.

Arcand has represented Canada by performing at events around the world, inspired thousands of students through private lessons and the John Arcand Fiddle Fest, which ran for almost 25 years. He released 17 albums containing both original songs and those preserving the traditional Metis tunes of his father and grandfather.

Arcand said growing up in a time before TV’s, radios, and telephones were in every home, learning to play music was just a part of entertaining yourself.

“When a fiddle was just hanging on the wall, naturally you want to learn how to play the thing for something to do,” he said. “My father played really well, my grandfather, and just about all my uncles played fiddle.”

Arcand added that he was born with his musical talent, “it was just a natural thing for me.”

Now retired from performing, Arcand enjoys teaching private students, continues to compose and is focusing on his other passion – making fiddles.