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What's a 'Philadelphia Canoe Fiddle'?

Joybell 26 Jul 09 - 11:45 PM
Joybell 04 Aug 09 - 09:28 PM
open mike 04 Aug 09 - 09:41 PM
Joybell 05 Aug 09 - 02:25 AM
GUEST,Neil D 05 Aug 09 - 12:53 PM
Joybell 05 Aug 09 - 07:37 PM
Joybell 05 Aug 09 - 08:28 PM
SharonA 06 Aug 09 - 02:04 AM
Ross Campbell 06 Aug 09 - 07:35 PM
Joybell 10 Aug 09 - 08:48 AM
semi-submersible 10 Aug 09 - 04:56 PM
Joybell 10 Aug 09 - 11:50 PM
SharonA 11 Aug 09 - 03:22 AM
SharonA 11 Aug 09 - 03:31 AM
semi-submersible 11 Aug 09 - 06:52 PM
Joybell 11 Aug 09 - 09:00 PM
Neil D 12 Aug 09 - 12:47 AM
SharonA 14 Aug 09 - 10:36 AM
Joybell 14 Aug 09 - 08:07 PM
SharonA 16 Aug 09 - 11:10 PM
Duane D. 17 Aug 09 - 01:48 AM
Sandra in Sydney 17 Aug 09 - 02:04 AM
GUEST,MC Fat (at work) 17 Aug 09 - 04:32 AM
Joybell 17 Aug 09 - 06:51 PM
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Subject: What's a 'Philadelphia Canoe Fiddle'?
From: Joybell
Date: 26 Jul 09 - 11:45 PM

I know it's one of those strange wonders of the mid-ninteenth century. Google can't help. Can anyone tell me anything about them? Picture? A description?
Wondering, Joy


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Subject: RE: What's a 'Philadelphia Canoe Fiddle'?
From: Joybell
Date: 04 Aug 09 - 09:28 PM

refresh
Far, far away from home and friends I wander
Nobody knows
Nobody cares ...


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Subject: RE: What's a 'Philadelphia Canoe Fiddle'?
From: open mike
Date: 04 Aug 09 - 09:41 PM

where is it from? where did you hear it?

http://www.cincinnatiarts.org/files/uploaded/Fiddles_and_Flatboats.pdf


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Subject: RE: What's a 'Philadelphia Canoe Fiddle'?
From: Joybell
Date: 05 Aug 09 - 02:25 AM

Hello open mike. Thank you for the interest.

The name "Philadelphi Canoe Fiddle" (no "a" actually, sorry) comes from a program of the minstrel, Robert "Billy" Barlow, performing in London in February 1846. It also says "newly invented".
I have hundreds of other programs and ads, from newspapers, for this man but no further mention of this instrument. He was known for playing every new instrument he came across along with all the usual ones of the time. He was an accomplished fiddler, pianist, guitarist, banjoist, box-player, and more. Also a singer, dancer and actor.
Where but Mudcat can I have a hope of finding an answer about the Canoe Fiddle?
Cheers, Joy


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Subject: RE: What's a 'Philadelphia Canoe Fiddle'?
From: GUEST,Neil D
Date: 05 Aug 09 - 12:53 PM

I'm just speculating, but could the word Canoe have been a typo.
There was a 19th century instrument called a Cane Fiddle. Here is a picture of one.


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Subject: RE: What's a 'Philadelphia Canoe Fiddle'?
From: Joybell
Date: 05 Aug 09 - 07:37 PM

That's a really interesting idea, Neil. Thank you. I wonder if it was connected with Philadelphia somehow.
I know that this performer was very particular about his programs, which he wrote himself, but a type-setter could have made the change. (and left off the "a"?)
Come to think of it -- there's another possibility for a spelling change. Came to me because of your information. This man was also inclined to describe his instruments in funny ways. It just might be a joke.
I'll search around using the term "cane fiddle"
Thank you again.
Cheers, Joy


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Subject: RE: What's a 'Philadelphia Canoe Fiddle'?
From: Joybell
Date: 05 Aug 09 - 08:28 PM

Well I'm having a great time among the "traveling fiddles". Pochettes, kits, cane fiddles. Philadelphia was one of the places it was all happening during the period I'm looking at. Haven't actually come up with an answer yet. Some small fiddles, of the period, are shaped rather like canoes, but I haven't found one actually called that.
Trying to put together -- canoe, fiddle, pochette, cane, Philadelphia -- and come up with a clever term.
Cheers, Joy


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Subject: RE: What's a 'Philadelphia Canoe Fiddle'?
From: SharonA
Date: 06 Aug 09 - 02:04 AM

Joy: Please give us some links to what you have found, especially info with references to Philadelphia. With a few more clues I may be able to help, since I live near Philly. The instrument you seek may be hiding in a museum around these parts somewhere!


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Subject: RE: What's a 'Philadelphia Canoe Fiddle'?
From: Ross Campbell
Date: 06 Aug 09 - 07:35 PM

Suibhne O'Piobaireachd's kemenche or Black Sea Fiddle has a distinctly canoe-like shape, and a surprisingly carrying tone for such a small-bodied instrument - something like this .

OK, I can't come up with a Philadelphia connection

Ross


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Subject: RE: What's a 'Philadelphia Canoe Fiddle'?
From: Joybell
Date: 10 Aug 09 - 08:48 AM

Sharon, Thank you. And thanks for your input, Ross. For some reason I can't manage to do links. Maybe it's me. Maybe not. Anyway nothing I've found links with Philadelphia particularly. There were printing companies there. Lots of them -- from early days. Lots of singers from there later. But nary a one "Canoe Fiddle"
Cheers, Joy


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Subject: RE: What's a 'Philadelphia Canoe Fiddle'?
From: semi-submersible
Date: 10 Aug 09 - 04:56 PM

That Black Sea fiddle sure is boat-like, but Turkey's mighty far from Philadelphia. Closer to the original Delphi. Hmmm... that'd be "far-fetched."


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Subject: RE: What's a 'Philadelphia Canoe Fiddle'?
From: Joybell
Date: 10 Aug 09 - 11:50 PM

It is too. Should I add to the mix by saying this performer named his pub in the Queensland bush -- The "Apollonian Vale". "Shades of Apollo" was an expression of his. There was nowhere in the World, present or past, he didn't look for inspiration.
Far-fetching is what I've had to do in researching this particular performer. Then I have to work back to find the hard evidence. He's lead me all sorts of wonderful places among all sorts of amazing people and things. Don't think I'll ever find out all about him.
Cheers, Joy


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Subject: RE: What's a 'Philadelphia Canoe Fiddle'?
From: SharonA
Date: 11 Aug 09 - 03:22 AM

"Turkey's mighty far from Philadelphia"

...and yet, Philadelphia (as it used to be known) is IN Turkey, as well as elsewhere in the Middle East. Geez, didja think Billy Penn made up the name himself??? Nahhh, he borrowed it from the Old World!...

Alaºehir, Turkey was known as Philadelphia, one of the seven churches of Asia Minor in the Book of Revelation
Amman, Jordan was once called Philadelphia during the Hellenic and Roman eras
Darb Gerza, Egypt an archeological site of a city called Philadelphia, now in the Al Fayyum Governorat
    (from Wikipedia)

...so Mr. Barlow's "Philadelphi Canoe Fiddle" may not have come from America at all! Based on what Joy says about his habit of taking inspiration (particularly in the naming of things) from the world of the past, it wouldn't surprise me a bit to hear that his instrument was of Middle Eastern origin.


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Subject: RE: What's a 'Philadelphia Canoe Fiddle'?
From: SharonA
Date: 11 Aug 09 - 03:31 AM

Oops -- sorry -- that first name I copied-and pasted should read "Alasehir" with a cedilla (a comma-like hook) under the "s". Apparently it means that the "s" is supposed to be pronounced "sh". Unfortunately, the pasted-in s-with-a-cedilla character didn't make it to the Forum, and I don't know how to create the character in HTML!


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Subject: RE: What's a 'Philadelphia Canoe Fiddle'?
From: semi-submersible
Date: 11 Aug 09 - 06:52 PM

Aha! The plot thickens!

More recently, Israeli forces called the Egyptian border of the Gaza Strip the "Philadelphi [sic] corridor." On the map it doesn't look as though it runs toward either the Egyptian nor the Jordanian city of "brotherly love."


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Subject: RE: What's a 'Philadelphia Canoe Fiddle'?
From: Joybell
Date: 11 Aug 09 - 09:00 PM

Wow.
Sharon thank you so much. I really think you may have a few clues there.
semisubversible -- You know I did come upon the Philadelphi corridor. Couldn't see a connection at the time.

The idea of getting inside the mind of someone who died over 100 years ago fills me with awe. Finding friends who enjoy the experience with me is so good.
Joy


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Subject: RE: What's a 'Philadelphia Canoe Fiddle'?
From: Neil D
Date: 12 Aug 09 - 12:47 AM

I also thought of a Middle Eastern/Mediterranean connection with the name Philadelphi but the fact it was newly invented in 1846 seems more New World than Old.


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Subject: RE: What's a 'Philadelphia Canoe Fiddle'?
From: SharonA
Date: 14 Aug 09 - 10:36 AM

You're welcome, Joy!

Neil, I get the sense that one shouldn't put too much stock in what a mid-19th-century minstrel's program says. Hyperbole was very common then, and performers weren't taken to task for failing to display truth in advertising. Quite the opposite, in fact: exaggeration was part of the entertainment!

On the other hand, the instrument may indeed have been "newly invented" or newly adapted from existing instruments of the time. But that doesn't necessarily mean that it could not have been invented anywhere but in the New World!

Of course, it may have been a New World invention based on an Old World instrument. Or it could have been a totally new invention with a name borrowed from the Old World to make it sound exotic. Or the name could have been borrowed from the New World city's name, to make it sound modern!

My point is that, in trying to ferret out what this instrument was, I think more attention should be paid to the descriptive "canoe fiddle" (or "cane fiddle") part of its name than to the "Philadelphi" part.


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Subject: RE: What's a 'Philadelphia Canoe Fiddle'?
From: Joybell
Date: 14 Aug 09 - 08:07 PM

Yes, Sharon I agree on these ideas. You are so right about the exageration as part of the act. I should add that although hyperbole was second nature to Barlow, as to so many of the performers of the time, it has been possible to see behind the exageration in his case.   He did use his own rules and they are consistant. He carved his niche so cleverly that it's possible to spot him among hundreds of similar advertisments in old newspapers.

I also agree on your last point. The "Philadelphi" part of the name may be a double name-only connection from the Old World and the New. Barlow had been in America. He used Americanisms. He was keen to establish himself as being in the forefront of a new fashion in entertainment that was born in America. He did too.

Many years ago I wondered why he called himself "American Barlow" when he was born and raised in England. Now I believe it was in the sense that he'd conquered America -- a classical idea.
Onward and upward. Backward and further backward.
Cheers, Joy


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Subject: RE: What's a 'Philadelphia Canoe Fiddle'?
From: SharonA
Date: 16 Aug 09 - 11:10 PM

Joy: While googling him, I came across the name "Australian Barlow"... same guy?


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Subject: RE: What's a 'Philadelphia Canoe Fiddle'?
From: Duane D.
Date: 17 Aug 09 - 01:48 AM

I did a search on Robert Billy Barlow and found an online book. I skimmed through into chapter 8. In chapter 7 there are references to unusual musical instruments and Chapter 7 may be seen here.


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Subject: RE: What's a 'Philadelphia Canoe Fiddle'?
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 17 Aug 09 - 02:04 AM

Duane, Joy wrote that book, & Mudcatter Bodgie published it on his site.

sandra


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Subject: RE: What's a 'Philadelphia Canoe Fiddle'?
From: GUEST,MC Fat (at work)
Date: 17 Aug 09 - 04:32 AM

With a cetain 'missing' person making the news again in the UK perhaps it should be 'Seaton Carew Canoe Fiddle'


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Subject: RE: What's a 'Philadelphia Canoe Fiddle'?
From: Joybell
Date: 17 Aug 09 - 06:51 PM

Duane, Gives me a thrill though. Thank you. It happens to me all the time now. I've been so long reseaching the Billy Barlow phenomenon I keep meeting myself around the turns. I'm working on expanding that chapter about Barlow.

Sharon -- Yes that's him. He used several names. Among them:
American Barlow
Australian Barlow
The Inimitable Barlow
The Blue-tail Fly
Mr Barlow

It gets complicated because he was still performing into his 80s. That's a lot of newspaper articles. Often he worked 6 days a week.

Also his "off-stage" name was the same as that of the character "Billy Barlow".
I hasten to say don't need any more Billy Barlows at this stage. Otherwise we'll have to have meals delivered through a gap in the stacks of papers and disks. I've met hundreds and they're still appearing.
Cheers, Joy


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