September 12, 2011

Fiddle music in Cherokee culture

Fiddler’s contest still active at Cherokee National Holiday

By Tesina Jackson Many traditions are created among the Cherokee people and are put on display during the Cherokee National Holiday. Some traditions have a Cherokee origin while others were adopted, such as playing the fiddle, which has become a part of the holiday as a fiddler’s contest.

“Fiddling is a mixture of Irish, Scottish, French, German, Cajun and American music. When immigrants settled in the Appalachian Mountains, they formed and blended a mixture of all the different styles of music that was brought over to America and that music became known as mountain music,” said fiddler’s contest coordinator Jerry Bigfeather. “Fiddle music is Americana music. Oklahoma has a rich heritage in fiddle music. Fiddle music did not begin with the Cherokees but it has been a part of culture since before Oklahoma became a state. Since then, many Cherokees learned to play the fiddle.”
Comment:  For more on the subject, see Native Plays Toe-Tappin' Fiddle and O'odham Chicken Scratch Music.

Below:  "Cherokee citizen Charles Davis plays in the old timers division at the Cherokee Nation holiday fiddlers contest. This is his first year participating in the contest. He placed second, which gave him the $200 prize." (Tesina Jackson/Cherokee Phoenix)

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