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Angus Chisholm
Cape Breton Fiddler

ANGUS CHISHOLM (1909-1979)

The ancestral home of the most famous Cape Breton fiddler of the first half of the 20th Century, Angus Chisholm, was Strathglass within the parish of Urquhart and Glemoriston, Inverness, Scotland.

Strathglass stretches from Glen Affric towards Beauly. For centuries the economy of the area was reliant on the traditional industries such as farming, agriculture and forestry. The defeat of the Jacobite cause at Culloden in 1746 heralded the beginning of the end for the Clan system that had sustained the old way of life across the highlands. Retribution for supporting Bonnie Prince Charlie was swift. Raiding parties were sent into the straths and the glens throughout the highlands seeking out those who had supported the Prince. Strathglass suffered from a number of bloody incursions by Cumberland's troops. In the latter half of the 18th century the infamous Highland Clearances saw people cleared from the land, often by their own kinfolk, to provide grazing for sheep. The population of Strathglass and the surrounding glens was decimated as many were forced to leave their homeland forever, many starting a new life in the new world.

The youngest of nine children, Angus Chisholm was born in Margaree Forks, Inverness County, Nova Scotia in December 1909 and died in the USA in 1979, but was was laid to rest in Margaree Forks, Inverness County, Nova Scotia.

Parents of Angus Chisholm -
Archibald Chisholm
Born 19 April 1865 in St. Rose, Inverness County, Nova Scotia
Died on the 21st of November, 1947 in Margaree Forks, Inverness County, Nova Scotia
Isabel MacLennan
Born 1865 in Chimney Corner, Inverness County, Nova Scotia
Parents of Archibald Chisholm -
William Chisholm
Born in Margaree Forks, Inverness County, Nova Scotia
Mary Chisholm
Born in Heatherton, Antigonish County, Nova Scotia
Parents of William Chisholm -
Donald Chisholm
Born 11 June 1751 in Strathglass, Urquhart and Glemoriston Parish, Inverness, Scotland
Died c. 1809 in Antigonish County, Nova Scotia
Mother (unknown)
Parents of Donald Chisholm
William Chisholm and Catherine McDonell

Angus was one of the first fiddlers from the island to record a commercially available album when Decca released the recording Rothermurches Rant, Braes Of Auchertyre, Braes Of Glencoe, Moonlight Clog and Hennessey's Hornpipe, on November 18, 1934. He was regarded as one of the world's best Celtic fiddlers and performed on the John Allan Cameron show with the Cape Breton Symphony, a group of fiddlers that included Winston "Scotty" Fitzgerald, Jerry Holland, Joe Cormier, Wilfred Gillis and John Donald Cameron. The group subsequently appeared regularly on CBC television on The John Allan Cameron Show and other programs.

Listen to some of Angus' early recordings .....

This track was recorded at Angus's first session which too place at Roxbury. He could not remember hearing anyone play Rothermurches Rant but learned it from sheet music.

Angus recorded these tunes at a session which took place in the middle 1930s. During this period of his life, besides devoting much of his energies to music, he also taught school, was a forest warden, and worked for a time in the Arctic.

Angus' unique, highly influential style, distinguished for its gaiety and lightness, shines out in this track made during his second recording session which too place in Montreal shortly after his first session. Angus went up there with A.A. Gillis and Dan J. Campbell, well known Inverness County, Cape Breton fiddlers. The jigs are "Thompson's" and "Light and Airy."

The inclusion of tunes from Irish sources shows Angus' wide knowledge of related styles and tunes. The second and third tunes are Cape Breton Reels.

You can listen to more at,

For more information about Inverness County, Nova Scotia, go to,


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