Recent generations of performers have brought a broad range of influences
to bear on traditional Newfoundland music. Jim Fidler studied classical music
as a child, played reggae through the 1980s and early '90s and currently
records original songs that combine the sound of Newfoundland with sounds
from a variety of other cultures.
|Jim Fidler, November 16, 2000.
Fidler at the launch of his second release, Friendly Fire,
at O'Reilly's Pub, St. John's.
Photo by Steve Stafford, ©2000. Reproduced by
permission of Jim Fidler.
Born in Pennsylvania and raised in St. John's, Fidler has been blind since
the age of nine. He first came to prominence as a drummer, singer and
songwriter for Pressure Drop, which became one of Eastern Canada's most
popular reggae bands.
His first solo recording, Gypsy, was released in 1995 and won
immediate acclaim for its rich musical range. The album seamlessly blends
the traditional sounds of Newfoundland and Ireland with flourishes and
instruments reminiscent of Eastern Europe, Spain, Jamaica and North Africa.
His second release, Friendly Fire (2000), continues in the same vein,
incorporating western pop arrangements, Arabic chants, electronic soundscapes,
Gaelic lyrics and a wide range of percussion instruments. Folk music critics
around the world have heralded both albums.
© 2001, Jamie Fitzpatrick