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The East Pointers: A Maritime Ensemble with Global Appeal

The East Pointers are an East Coast band known for their incredible folk music performances. The Celtic-inspired trio is comprised of guitarist Jake Charron; banjoist Koady Chaisson; and Chaisson’s cousin, fiddler and lead singer Tim Chaisson. Hailing from Prince Edward Island, the group won a Juno for their internationally renowned debut album, Secret Victory.

The band just finished their 10-month world tour and were going to make a highly-anticipated New Brunswick stop on their Canada-wide tour. Unfortunately, the show was cancelled. With their new album What We Leave Behind, the band is tackling new themes and challenges. Naturally, I wanted to know their perspective on all of the attention, praise and excitement they are experiencing.

Tim Chaisson gave insights into Maritime culture, the challenges of traditional music and its thrilling ability to bring people together.

The Brunswickan: Given that you’ve just travelled the globe on a 10-month tour, how has your perspective of Maritimer audiences changed?

Tim Chaisson: There’s nothing like playing for a room full of Maritimers. Happy, dancing, kind, buzzing Maritimers. The best!

Bruns: Your music has very Atlantic Canadian themes at times. Have you seen international audiences relate to those issues and concepts?

Chaisson: We have! When we did our first international tour in 2015, we had no idea what to expect from audiences. Fiddle, banjo, guitar and the odd step went over quite well; turns out most people are into the idea of letting loose on the dance floor to a couple of tunes.

Bruns: Your style of music is obviously a product of the Maritimes. Why do you think it is that audiences connect with it so readily?

Chaisson: Hmm, because the Maritimes are mostly made up of Scottish, Irish and French (and many more); it’s in our blood. For some reason, Atlantic Canada preserved this music very, very well—it was always used for dancing, entertainment and escaping the rough times that a lot of our ancestors endured. Although our songwriting can be on the heavy side, our tunes are mostly uplifting. [We’re] just carrying the torch!

Bruns: What have been some of the challenges blending traditional music with modern techniques and styles?

Chaisson: Externally, I’d say our biggest challenge would be the folks who resist the evolution of folk music. Internally, I’d say just bridging the gap between old and new; it’s a challenge and we love it. All three of us grew up playing at square dances every week, so we know the roots of the music…The excitement in The East Pointers is writing new tunes and songs [based on] how they feel to us rather than how our great-grandparents felt. It’s an ode to them in the new age; hopefully they’d like us!

Bruns: Given that your music spans over generations, what similarities and differences have you noticed in the reactions of various age groups?

Chaisson: One thing we notice is many different folks on the dance floor at our shows… Newborn babies—held with  headphones on, obviously, teenagers, college kids, parents, grandparents, etc. Looking down and seeing the variation is pretty cool.

Bruns: What message would you like to deliver to Fredericton on your NB stop?

Chaisson: We haven’t played in Fredericton as The East Pointers before, so we’re looking forward to the show! Koady did a year at UNB and Tim (along with Jake and Koady) did a lot of partying there back in the day, so we’re ready for a good night!

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