Baerendans, Barendans, or Baerentanz

Fiddle tunes by Katie Pressley

The girls learned an old fiddle tune from David Kaynor several years ago. We first uploaded the song to YouTube back in 2012. I really don’t remember if we made a guess at the name or if we found it online somewhere—either way we spelled the tune Baerendans.

Last week were were pickin and grinnin in the kitchen after a performance and Paul said we ought to do the old tune since it had been a good long while since we played it.

Chatter filmed it for their channel and I decided to share it with you for today’s Pickin and Grinnin’ in the Kitchen Spot.

On the day Chatter uploaded the video she asked me how to spell the name of the song. I did a quick search and found a piece of sheet music for Barendans, so that’s what she titled the video.

As I began to prepare this post I searched for the history of the song and came up with nothing. I couldn’t even find the piece of sheet music I found a week ago. Deciding we must have spelled the name wrong I went searching for all sorts of variations of the word. I even drug out the girls’ Portland Collection Songbook but the song wasn’t in there.

I went back in the channel archives and discovered we’d titled the song Baerendans in 2012 so I searched for that and found a very interesting page.

The North Atlantic Tune List had a post from 2017 about the song. Basically they were asking for information about the song. The heading was: Baerendans (or Baerentanz).

That find sent me off on a search for Barentanz where I found this great version.

After listening to it I headed back to the North Atlantic Tune List.

By this point Chitter had come to help me. As I scrolled down the page I said “Would you look at that! They’ve got the video of you playing the tune in Blairsville back in 2012. We were both surprised to see our version highlighted.

Just above the video there’s a music player you can click to hear a sample of the song. I clicked it and Chitter said “Wait a minute let that play, that’s David Kaynor if I’ve ever heard him.” I said are you sure? Chitter assured me it was without a doubt David.

She wandered off back through the house and I kept searching.

Having finally decided that Chatter spelled it wrong in her recent video I called her back to show her what I’d found.

Wondering if Chitter was right about David being the fiddle player on the page I started the player to see what Chatter would say. The tune had barely began when she said “That’s David playing how did they get that?”

I hope you enjoyed the tune! I’m still smiling over the serendipity of finding Chitter and her mentor David Kaynor used as examples on the same webpage.


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  • Reply
    November 1, 2021 at 12:00 pm

    I really enjoyed the piece. Such a lively tune.

  • Reply
    Denise R
    October 31, 2021 at 4:44 pm

    Love this song!!! So pretty and lovely!!!

  • Reply
    October 31, 2021 at 1:39 pm

    That both Chitter and Chatter heard David’s unique style on the Bear Dance piece is a testament to their love and respect for him. I thought the tune sounded Medieval and translating the German from the album notes confirms it. The music could have been written anywhere during the period, I suppose. It sounded English to me, but I have no musical background. It sounds like something I’ve heard played in one or more movies.

    The Bear Dance is also a famous painting. A search will quickly yield a hit. I wonder if the song inspired the painting or vis versa?r

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    October 31, 2021 at 12:04 pm

    You guys don’t just play music, you live it, you eat and breath it. You are quite amazing people /historians/musicians!

  • Reply
    Margie G
    October 31, 2021 at 8:21 am

    That is certainly a live and peppy tune. In my mind I could see deer dancing and prancing about. It’s a good and catchy tune! So glad you shared! I will tell you this. I knew an old couple who had guard geese and lived a quiet life. They showed me a Stradivarius beat up violin which I would’ve argued had seen better days. They sold it and it went to UVA to be conserved and repaired and is now worth millions, as so few are found. Apparently a mini ice age gives the wood it’s distinctive and sought after sounds… no other like it in the world before or since to be had…

  • Reply
    Valeri K Feinbloom
    October 31, 2021 at 7:59 am

    It makes me wonder about the origins of the tune, how old it is, and what the name might mean… Bear Dance? Bare (naked) Dance? German, or Dutch roots, or some other language? It’s lovely to hear it. Thanks to you for sharing this! Hugs

  • Reply
    October 31, 2021 at 7:21 am

    I have no clue about the song, but it sure sounds pretty when y’all play it. I’m not a musician, butI do like listening to all kinds of music. It reminds me of an Irish jig, but I’m probably wrong about that. Anyway, it sounded great and I enjoyed listening to y’all play it. Thank y’all for sharing!

  • Reply
    GoodGriefLouise ( Bill )
    October 31, 2021 at 7:11 am

    Doesn’t surprise me the girls could listen to the song and hear David playing. Our senses are amazing. And so are the Pressley’s. Thanks for the sweet song.

    Ears are like tongues and tongues are like noses. The ear hears the subtleties, the tongue tastes the delicacies and the nose knows all of the roses.

  • Reply
    donna sue
    October 31, 2021 at 7:07 am

    I enjoy hearing Katie play her fiddle very much. She can make any song come to life. She inspires me to keep working through and practicing on whatever I am doing in my life. Your post about searching for the correct title of this song was very interesting. I enjoyed reading it! You have every right to smile and be proud of those two girls!! They are just beginning great things in their life!

    Donna. : )

  • Reply
    Larry Paul Eddings
    October 31, 2021 at 6:48 am

    Beautiful tune by whatever name. I always enjoy listening to y’all play.

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