Dejarlis, Andy

Andy Dejarlis (b Joseph Patrice Ephreme Desjarlais), legally amended in 1971 to Andrew Joseph Patrick Ephreme DeJarlis). Fiddler, composer, b near Woodridge, near Winnipeg, 29 Sep 1914, d St Boniface, Man, 18 Sep 1975. A Métis, he was taught by his grandfather and later (1938) in Winnipeg by W. George Rutherford. DeJarlis, who won his first fiddling contest in 1935, was one of the most popular entertainers on the Prairies, performing 1935-43 on Winnipeg's CJRC radio and touring 1937-43 in northern Ontario, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan. His band, was known initially as the Red River Mates and later as the Early Settlers. Though less active 1948-54, due to poor health, DeJarlis had won over 20 fiddling contests in western Canada by 1952. He later appeared on 'Don Messer's Jubilee' and was featured 1962-3 on CFTM-TV in Montreal. In 1965 he returned to Winnipeg.

DeJarlis began recording in 1956 for Quality Records and in 1959 for the London label - the latter released some 25 LPs featuring many of his more than 175 songs, fiddle tunes, and dance pieces. Most of his compositions, like his various 'Red River' pieces and his Manitoba Waltz (1967), are named for specific locations. His publishers included Broadland Music and DeJarlis Music. In the Winnipeg Free Press (25 Jun 1966) Don Messer was reported to have called DeJarlis 'one of the greatest exponents of old time music in Canada'. DeJarlis is particularly remembered for his way with waltz music and his synthesis of Messer's 'down east' style with native and Métis repertoires was influential on many younger Métis fiddlers (see Fiddling).