Choctaw has long been one of my favorite breakdowns to listen to. It’s about time I worked it out, and I didn’t want to miss out on having Choctaw be a part of Fiddle Tune a Day. I love the way that Orville Burns played it. It has all kinds of soul, and growl to it.
It makes me want to hoop and stomp my feet. I don’t know if it will make you want to do the same, but I hope it does. 🙂
Choctaw according to Fiddler’s Companion
CHOCTAW. Old-Time, Breakdown. A Minor (‘A’ part) & C Major (‘B’ part). Standard tuning. AABB. An interesting footnote to the Irish faminie of 1847, communicated by Jeffery Erickson, is this from Andrew Carroll’s Letters of a Nation:
Having learned of the famine taking place in Ireland, and well
aware of the suffering caused by hunger, [a group of Choctaw Indians]
managed to raise among their small number about $170 — worth several
thousand in today’s dollars. Col. G. W. Clarke, who had witnessed their
efforts, later wrote of the to the Arkansas Intelligencer, challenging its
readers to match the Choctaws’ generosity.
Interestingly, this incidence of generosity was revisited in the present day. The Irish group the Chieftains were made honorary chiefs of the Oklahoma Choctaw Nation at a special ceremony at SMY in Dallas, Texas, according to the authorized bior\graphy of the group. The honor, never before bestowed to a non-American Indian group, came about when piper and Chieftains leader Paddy Moloney heard of the original Choctaw gift and contacted the tribe to thank them. “Even Queen Victoria wouldn’t lift a finger to help but the Choctaws did,” said Moloney, “It was a great honour for them to make me an honorary chief.” Moloney appears to be referencing the circulating story that the Queen donated £5.00 towards famine relief, but gave the same amount to the Battersea Dogs Home, lest anyone take the gesture as overly sympathetic. The story is just that, however, and is not true. Source for notated version: Mark O’Connor [Phillips]. Phillips (Traditional American Fiddle Tunes), vol. 1, 1994; pg. 50.