of the Métis Fiddle"
Métis fiddling is a style all it’s own and when you think of this unique cultural music, one fiddler stands out! John Arcand is the undisputed “Master of the Métis Fiddle”.
Originally from the Debden - Big River area of Saskatchewan, John now makes his home on acreage southwest of Saskatoon. He started playing fiddle at the age six, with coaching from his Father and Grandfather and by age twelve he was playing for dances. His impeccable sense of timing and flowing rhythm comes from learning to watch the dancers feet at this early age and from this he developed and refined a style of playing that has helped him become a legend in the fiddle world. People often referred to him as the “dancer’s choice” throughout his long career.
John made sixteen recordings throughout his career and always played and recorded the traditional Métis tunes of his Father and Grandfather, as well as those he researched, learned and passed on. He is also a prolific writer having composed over 400 original tunes to date.
Now retired from performing, John enjoys teaching a growing list of private students, continues to compose and is focusing on his other passion – making fiddles. A qualified luthier, he has made over 50 original instruments. The art of fiddle making is not a common one and his “original” instruments are much sought after. He is also an avid collector of fiddles and accessories, offers repairs and can provide instrument appraisals.
John has spent his lifetime promoting and preserving the traditions of Métis fiddle and dance and old time fiddling. His contribution to the music world encompasses the preservation of these traditions, and his on-going efforts to offer a venue where all of this can be seen, appreciated and shared - The John Arcand Fiddle Fest. Held annually on the second weekend of August on his acreage, the John Arcand Fiddle Fest has become one of the major fiddle events in Western Canada.
His proudest achievements include being selected as one of 27 people world wide to represent Western Canada at the Fiddles of the World Conference in Halifax in 1999. Being chosen as a delegate in an Irish/ Métis Cultural Exchange in 2001 where he played for and met the President of Ireland. And, of course playing for and meeting the Queen at the Lieutenant Governor’s Centennial Gala in Saskatoon in 2005.
His passions for the preservation of the Métis Traditions, old time fiddling and work with youth have been recognized by his peers and resulted in him being honoured with may awards and recognitions, making him the most decorated fiddler in Canada. These awards include; a National Aboriginal Achievement Award for Arts and Culture, a Lifetime Achievement Award for his “Outstanding Contribution to Old Time Fiddling” from the Canadian Grand Masters in 2003. In 2004 he was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award in the Inaugural Lieutenant Governor’s Saskatchewan Arts Awards. In 2005 the Saskatchewan Centennial Medal, in 2006 the City of Saskatoon’s Cultural Diversity and Race Relations “Living in Harmony” Award. In 2008, he received our country’s highest civilian honor - the Order of Canada. In 2012 the Queen’s Jubilee Medal and in 2014 the Molson Prize from the Canada Council for the Arts.