Fiddlers evoke elders' memories in Whitehorse

A group of Yukon musicians have chosen an original place to record a live album: A senior citizens' home in Whitehorse.

Proceeds from sales will go to the Alzheimer Society of Canada.

Keitha Clarke (centre) says there is a special presence and character to be found recording at the Macauley Lodge. (David Croft/CBC)

A group of Yukon musicians have chosen an original place to record a live album: a senior citizens' home in Whitehorse.

Proceeds from sales will go to the Alzheimer Society of Canada.

Fiddler Keitha Clarke says "it's become this community thing," for musicians to entertain residents at Macaulay Lodge.

One of the inspirations for the project is resident Maureen Routledge, who remembers the names and melodies of Canadian jigs and reels.

A resident of Whitehorse's Macauley Lodge enjoys a fiddle tune during a weekly music session. (David Croft/CBC)

"Maureen would call out these really obscure fiddle tunes and I always wondered why she knew such really rare tunes," Clarke says. 

The album features musicians Grant Simpson and Rob Bergman as well as Yukon fiddlers Abby Cruikshank and Boyd Benjamin.  

Residents of the Macauley Lodge watched and tapped their toes as the musicians recorded. Clarke says that presence adds to the recording.

"I think one of the neat things about doing a live recording is that it is live," said Clarke.

The "flying Gwitch'in fiddler" Boyd Benjamin is well-acquainted with traditional jigs and reels. (David Croft/CBC)

"Sometimes you have these really special moments, sometimes it falls apart, sometimes there's the sound of utensils being washed in the background and things moved being around, but you know, that's just the way life is, we wanted to put that on the album as well." 

Clarke said she hopes the album can be mixed in time to release the album at the Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous Fiddle Show in February.