By his own description (quoted in the Globe and Mail), his fiddling style was 'a little bit of Scots, a little bit of Irish, a little bit of Québécois, a little bit of French - all mixed together.' Benoit wrote several hundred fiddle tunes; the best known is 'Emile's Dream' which, according to one of his stories, came to him in a dream. Other popular Benoit pieces include the 'Joe Smallwood,' 'Washroom,' and 'Flying' reels. His tunes have been recorded by Figgy Duff, Kelly Russell, Touchstone, and the Wonderful Grand Band.
Benoit appeared on the television show Ninety Minutes Live with Peter Gzowski, in the NFB film From the Heart: Canadian Folk Artists, and in films aired on BBC and at Expo 86. He was the recipient of many awards, including the Médaille Léger Comeau from the Société Nationale de l'Acadie (1988), the Prix Roger Champagne from the Fédération des Francophones de Terre-Neuve et du Labrador for his contribution to Newfoundland's francophones (also in 1988), and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council (1992). He continued to perform until July 1992, recording an album with members of Figgy Duff. The East Coast Music Awards honoured Benoit posthumously in 1993.
Author Betty Nygaard King
Émile's Dream, 1979, Quay CS-7932/Pigeon Inlet Productions PIP-732
It Comes from the Heart, 1982, Pigeon Inlet Productions PIP-731
Vive la rose, 1992, Amber Music ACD 9014
Benoit is also heard on Atlantic Fiddling (1979, CBC LM-470) and on collections of Newfoundland folk music issued by Pigeon Inlet Productions and Musicworks
Ruebsaat, Rika. 'Review: Emile's Dream,' Canada Folk Bulletin, vol 3, Jan-Feb 1980
Miller, Mark. 'Benoit gets serious about fiddling around,' Toronto Globe and Mail, 17 Jul 1987
Quigley, Colin Harding. 'Creative processes in musical composition: French-Newfoundland fiddler Emile Benoit,' PH D thesis, University of California 1987
- '"Melodizing" as generative process in music: a case study of fiddle tune composition,' Ethnomusicology in Canada, ed Robert Witmer, CanMus Documents 5 (Toronto 1990)
- Music from the Heart: Compositions of a Folk Fiddler (Athens, Georgia 1995)
Links to Other Sites
Canadian Music Centre
Search the extensive CMC website for Canadian composer biographies and interviews, music scores, online newsletters, audio clips, podcasts, and more. Check out "CentreStreams" to listen to online archived recordings featuring outstanding Canadian composers.
Canadian Grand Masters Fiddling Championship
The website for Canadian Grand Masters Fiddling Championship. A great resource for fans of Canadian fiddle music.
Traditional Instrumental Music
A brief article about fiddlers Rufus Guinchard and Émile Benoit, accordionist Harry Hibbs and other Newfoundland practitioners of traditional instrumental music. From Memorial University of Newfoundland.
The website for Amber Music, a Newfoundland based record label that features the works of Newfoundland artists Pamela Morgan, Figgy Duff, Anita Best, and the late Emile Benoit.