“Fiddler’s Green” from Uncharted Waters: New Horizons, by Yoko Kanno
Arrangement from the album “Uncharted Waters: Special Edition”.
I write this from the seafaring island of Cape Breton on the Canadian eastern shore. My wife and I are on our honeymoon until the end of the month and we’ve been spending our two weeks here frolicking through the long grass, eating seafood, touring the rolling hills and valleys and listening to some killer East Coast fiddle music in pubs throughout the island. Life is good
The fiddle is a really big deal here on the island, it’s as though everyone plays it and knows all of the tunes. I know that’s not really true, but when you go to a jam session and there are six fiddlers getting in the circle, calling out tunes and shredding up a storm, it sure seems like it. It’s culture in the truest sense. It’s not manufactured for tourists and there aren’t parties planned to make a summer schedule, it’s simply what the people do and we get to be part of it.
For this week’s VGM Wednesday, I decided to pick a fiddle tune from a reasonably obscure game. I’ve presented another tune from this game called “Close to Home” a few months back, but in keeping with the spirit of “VGM-inspired tunes” this August, I chose an arrangement.
The arrangement album, “Uncharted Waters: Special Edition,” is really the definitive way to listen to this soundtrack. The OST feels limited in what the SNES and Genesis/Megadrive can do, but this disc is a real tour-de-force of the music that exists inside the score.
It maintains the head of the tune with fiddle and guitar, then goes into the feel of a jazz-feel solo section. The violin and guitar call-and-response harkens back to the time of Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli and it’s really fitting for the pub feel of the tune (which is where the music plays in the game).
At 2:31, the guitarist sounds like he’s quoting “Jingle Bells” (though, of course, he’s not) and plays the wrong third of the chord and it drives me bananas every time.
PS: The photo in the picture is from a jam session at the Red Shoe Pub in Mabou, NS, which is on the island and about a 30 minute drive from our cottage.