Cape Breton Piano: Kevin Chaisson

Kevin Chaisson isn't from Cape Breton, but from North East Kings County in Prince Edward Island. But he plays Cape Breton piano and his kin play Cape Breton fiddle. He's one of the "Bear River Chaissons" and at least a fourth generation player.

PEI has a lot of regional styles for such a small province, but a look at the map is informative - the folks up around Souris and Bear River and Rollo Bay got radio from Cape Breton, so that's the sound they heard.

In fact, on meeting Kevin he said "Now, don't ask me why a boy from PEI plays Cape Breton music and pronounces his name 'CHAIS-sen' instead of 'cheh-SOHN' - I don't know, bye!"

Kevin is also a fiddle player, tho he took it up as an adult, unlike his brothers Kenny Joe Pete and Young Peter. Some say that his style is the closest to his father's of all three sons.

He is a very strong player full of music and with a dramatic sense of harmony and syncopation.

Together with his brothers, Kevin is an organizer of the Rollo Bay Fiddle Festival and the Rollo Bay Fiddle Instruction Program, which provides traditional fiddle lessons for area children.

The photos were taken at the Céilidh Trail School of Celtic Music in Inverness, Cape Breton the first week of August 1998. The young man playing fiddle is J J Chaisson, Kevin's nephew, and the older gentleman is Ray Ellis.

To Home of Piano in Traditional Cape Breton Music
To Cape Breton Piano: Some Players Past and Present
Disclaimer: I am not an expert in the history, theory, or playing of Cape Breton Style piano accompiament. I am an eager student. If you find errors, lies, damn lies, ommissions etc etc etc within these pages, please do call it to my attention!

Le gach beannachd,
Roger Lane Reid (ro)