Meet John Durang (1768-1822), dancer, acrobat, actor and performer with Ricketts’s Circus across the northeastern United States and into Canada. Born in Pennsylvania of German and French parents, he was George Washington’s favourite dancer.
The tune was composed for Durang in new York in 1785 by Mr. Hoffmaster, his German violin teacher.
Here are several different versions from North American musical cultures: two teaching videos (American and Canadian); a performance video (traditional African-American string band); and archive reel-to-reel audio of a West Virginia fiddler.
Choose your favourite to learn!
Katie Henderson (fiddle)
America: teaching video from Katie’s encyclopaedic New Tune A Day Youtube site.
(Durang’s Hornpipe (Old-Time Fiddle Tune) NTAD) YouTube video, 2:11. Uploaded by Katie Davis Henderson, 20 Sep 2011. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bMTzACv31Lg)
Patti Kusturok, Shamma Sabir (fiddles)
Canada: teaching video from Patti’s YouTube fiddle tunes vlog.
(‘Day 229 – Durang’s Hornpipe – Patti Kusturok’s 365 Days of Fiddle Tunes’ YouTube video, 2:14. Published by Patti Kusturok, 17 Aug 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pNDgl5iws5o)
Carolina Chocolate Drops
Justin Robinson (fiddle), Dom Flemons (snare drum), Rhiannon Giddens (flat-footing)
The wonderful African-American stringband performing at Mass MoCA, May 2010.
(‘Carolina Chocolate Drops – Durang’s Hornpipe’ YouTube video, 2:24. Uploaded by Music Maker Relief Foundation, 31 May 2010. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Mef_qNAj6o)
Frank George (fiddle)
Recording by widely-respected West Virginia fiddler William Franklin ‘Frank’ George at the Berea College Celebration of Traditional Music, 30 October 1976.
Carolina Chocolate Drops: website
Frank George: Berea College recordings
John Durang: http://johndurang.yorkhistorycenter.org/