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Indigenous Arts & Stories - Music of the Métis

Music of the Métis

2012 - Art Winner

Amber Wilkinson

St. Andrews, MB
Age 28

Author's Statement

For my piece, I chose the theme of metis music, specifically, fiddle music. The Metis and the Fiddle are closely intertwined. The Metis have embraced the fiddle as their own. Rarely is there a Metis gathering where fiddle music is not present. The fiddles, as well as the tunes have been passed down from generation to generation and have been a big part in keeping the Metis culture alive. Influenced by their Aboriginal and European ancestry, the Metis have developed a fiddling style that is uniquely their own.

I chose to do my project as a torn paper mosaic. I used paper specifically bought for this purpose, as well as paper from old magazines, calendars, etc. The paper was torn into small pieces and glued down.

I feel my project reflects my theme in many ways. The word mosaic, can be used to describe the Metis style of fiddling. Taking pieces form different places and creating something new. Having the fiddle made from different types of paper reflects the many different fiddles, and how they were acquired. Many fiddles were a prized possession, having been bartered or traded for. Being passed down throughout the years, often needing repairs along the way. Some families could not afford to purchase a fiddle, so often fiddles were hand made by family members themselves, using wood they could find on their own. Using paper I had lying around the house mimics the way the Metis would use materials they have lying around to make and repair their fiddles, such as using snare wire to repair broken strings.

I enjoyed making my art project, and learning about the history of the Metis fiddle. Being Metis, and a fiddle player myself, it was very interesting to learn about the origins of how the fiddle came to be a part of the metis community. As I researched my project's theme, I wrote down key words and phrases, as well as the names of popular fiddle tunes, and some well-known Metis fiddlers. I then used these notes as part of my project as well, tearing up the paper I used to write these notes on and gluing these pieces to my project!

I hope you enjoy my piece, "Music of the Metis."