RIP: Canadian Fiddle Legend Ned Landry

Ned (Frederick Lawrence) Landry Ned Landry, renowned New Brunswick fiddle player, composer and singer, died Aug. 25, at age 97. Born in Saint John in 1921, Landry rose to fame in the '50s. He became a three-time Canadian Open Fiddle Champion, received the Order of Canada, and was inducted into the New Brunswick and Nova Scotia halls of fame and honoured with a Lifetime Achievement award by the East Coast Music Association.

Self-taught on violin, Landry first appeared, in 1934, on Don Messer's CHSJ radio show 'Backwoods Breakdown' as a harmonica player. He started a band titled The New Brunswick Lumberjacks, and, in 1939, the group placed second on CBS Radio's 'Major Bowes' Amateur Hour' in New York. Landry then became the first old-time fiddler to perform on TV in Boston.

He began recording for RCA Victor in 1955, completing eight LPs for that label, and he also made LPs for Arc, MMC, Afton, his own Landry label, and Prime Time.

The winner in the open class of the 1956, 1957, and 1962 Canadian Open Old Time Fiddlers' Contests, Landry appeared in the 1950s on CFBC radio, Saint John, and, in the 1960s, on Don Messer's Jubilee and other TV shows.

He performed throughout Canada and recorded many of his several hundred fiddle tunes, composed in various Canadian styles. Some are published in the folios Ned Landry Favorite Fiddle Tunes (Empire 1952) and Bowing the Strings with Ned Landry(Thompson 1959). Among his best-known titles are "Ontario Swing," "Bowin' the Strings," "Governor General's Waltz," and "Hillbilly Calypso."

Landry was made a Member of the Order of Canada in 1991. Among his performances in the 1990s and later were appearances at several festivals, for the Prince of Wales in Fredericton, and at Walt Disney World, Florida.

The recipient of the Dr. Helen Creighton Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2002 East Coast Music Association Awards, Landry also received a lifetime contribution award from the Canadian Grand Masters Fiddling Championship; the latter offers a trophy named for him.

He was also inducted into the North American Fiddlers Hall of Fame, and the Nova Scotia Country Music Hall of Fame. The National Library of Canada holds his archives.

Visitation will be at Brenan's Funeral Home in Saint John, NB, on Monday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Tuesday, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. His family asks that remembrance be made to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, the Canadian Cancer Society or Bobby's Hospice. Sources: The Canadian Encyclopedia, CBC News

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