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The well-respected Cape Breton fiddler and composer Jerry Holland (54) passed away on Thursday 16th July after a two-year battle with cancer.

Gerry Holland was born in Boston into a vibrant Cape Breton Community. His family were Canadian immigrants to New England; his father originally came from New Brunswick and his mother from Quebec. The young Holland was immersed as a youngster in the cultural activities of the large Cape Breton ex-pat community in Massachusetts and took to the fiddle at a young age. He made his first public appearance at age six and was a regular performer on the John Allan Cameron Show from 1974-1977. Boyhood holidays were spent in Cape Breton and the young Holland moved there permanently in 1975 a year later he made his first album, called Jerry Holland.

For the next thirty years Holland would be one of the best-known of the Cape Breton fiddlers, becoming an ambassador for the islands rich fiddling legacy as he made several trips outside pf Atlantic Canada to play the music of the province.

He was equally well known for his fiddle as much as for his fiddling. His instrument was a rare and extremely valuable violin made by Leopold Widhalm, an Austrian luthier who worked in Nürnberg, Germany between 1746 and 1776. The fiddle came into the Holland household after Jerry’s father saw it for sale in a Chinese laundry in Boston, he paid $50 for it in 1969. That fiddle would feature on Jerry’s eleven solo albums made between 1976 and 2005.

Our thoughts go out to his family friends and many fans at this time of his sad loss.

Permalink - Posted: July 28, 2009 at 12:58 pm