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Willie Fraser
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 Deepdale, Inverness County  Birth Place
Willie Fraser
Willie mac Shiomein
Deepdale, Inverness County

Willie Francis Fraser is one of a kind. A singer, storyteller and internationally renowned dancer, his personality and talents have endeared him to generations. Raised in St. Rose, Inverness County, an area well-known for its vibrant Gaelic heritage, Willie grew up in a family of ten children. His father was a native of Lowland Cove, a now-abandoned community at the northernmost tip of Cape Breton. Though the family had few luxuries, Fraser and his siblings inherited a rich cultural tradition from mainland Scotland. Over the years, Willie has fished, worked in the woods and been employed as a stevedore- but his passion has always been the music of Gaelic Cape Breton. For decades, Fraser step-danced at church picnics and community fund-raisers around the province - all the while helping his wife Kay raise their family of twelve. In recent years, Fraser's volunteerism, and commitment to Gaelic language and culture, have been recognized by the Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia. Besides passing on a love of dancing to a number of his children and grandchildren, Willie has traveled to Scotland to teach steps he first recalls learning in his dreams. A life-long learner, with an interest in new songs and a rich sense of humour, Fraser continues to share his talents with friends and family today and encourages others to do the same. - Shamus

Interviewed by Shamus Y. MacDonald
Camera operated by Shamus Y. MacDonald
January 26, 2006

Total Play Time: 1:04:15

00:10 Willie introduces himself and where he is from
00:43-04:28 The work he did View | Listen | Transcript
03:00 he bought a piece of land in Deepdale
04:35 his father's people
06:00-08:38 the first people who came over
08:40 story about Willie's visit to Scotland
09:57-13:26 story about how Willie learned to stepdance View | Listen | Transcript
13:34 touring around dancing
15:21-16:59 everyone spoke Gàidhlig
17:00 fiddle players at that time
18:10 port-a-beul
19:01-22:05 how Willie met his wife View | Listen | Transcript
22:05-22:55 brothers and sisters
23:00 the spoke Gàidhlig when they were young but there wasn't Gàidhlig at school
24:02-25:18 rhyme
25:34-31:20 names for things around the house
31:28:12-35:39 names of body parts View | Listen
35:40-37:43 types of trees
37:44 directions
39:55-43:20 story about weather on the sea
43:34-46:40 past times, playing cards, milling frolics
46:41-48:22 his wife getting the tea ready, she's a terrific baker
48:22-53:34 names for things in the kitchen; getting tea
53:35-54:32 story about crippled crows
54:33-55:34 action words
55:37-59:43 banking the house for winter, and with seaweed, hay and cows eating the hay around the house View | Listen
1:01:54 horses: foal, mare, stallion
1:03:50 he and his wife stopped speaking the Gàidhlig together, but she understands everything

Interviewed by na
Camera operated by Shamus Y. MacDonald
September 07, 2006

Total Play Time: 1:32:46

02:00-10:11 where Willie grew up; his father and mother; the first of his people who immigrated
10:27-20:22 Willie's family View | Listen
20:22-24:13 music in the home; how Willie learned to stepdance View | Listen
24:14-26:42 his wife and children
26:44-31:19 songs he learned View | Listen
31:38-41:32 names for things in the forest View | Listen
41:33-46:14 planting potatoes
46:15-51:34 fighting View | Listen
51:37-58:38 forerunners and fairies View | Listen
58:38 proverb
59:43 local pipers, fiddlers and dancers
1:17:10-1:25:27 caring for the sheep; milling frolics View | Listen
1:25:47 in the sky
1:28:33 story about the man full of money

Interviewed by Jim Watson
Camera operated by Shamus Y. MacDonald
December 07, 2006

Total Play Time: 1:01:36

00:04-07:52 busy at Christmastime; Christmas Eve View | Listen
07:55-12:20 Willie's childhood memories of Christmas; mocaisean; Christmas trees View | Listen
12:40-15:36 making candles; bedpost holes for candles View | Listen
15:36-19:06 Nollaig Mhór and Nollaig Bheag; Latha nan Trì Rìghean
19:07 Hogmany
21:54-23:47 story about fuaraig Listen
23:48 Dòmhnall Thormoid
24:30 Song: Dean Moladh a’ Chùil, and Moladh a’ Chladaich
28:20 Song: Cuir an deoch seo mun cuairt
31:23 talking about songs
33:30 Song
34:40 Song
37:15 Willie's brother was a good singer
38:15 the Chisholm fiddlers
39:15 Angus Allan Gillis
40:42 working in Detroit and Windsor
45:24-49:17 Fishing when he was young; predicting the weather View | Listen
50:00-55:52 Story: fragment about Dhunnchaidh Dhuibh; poison killing the sheep, minister gives the justice; a fellow who had lots of money View | Listen
55:53 Song Willie's brother made and the story about it

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