Holland is a fiddler strongly rooted in Cape Breton, Scottish and Irish
dance music traditions. An active performer and recording artist, many of
his own tunes have entered the traditional repertoire around the world.
His tunes, books and recordings have remained influential wherever Celtic
music is played.
Jerry comes by his music honestly, his father was a musical man and respectful of tradition. Jerry Senior was over 50 years old when Jerry was born and this placed the budding musician directly into a vibrant older culture.
Traditional musicians always have a high respect for their sources. Jerry is no exception. In his childhood, Jerry's father exposed him to some of the last generation's greatest Cape Breton Scottish fiddlers.
The beauty of traditional music lies in individual expression. Because Cape Breton was remote, its fiddle music and dancing kept to the old Scottish style, a tradition that Jerry Holland was raised to respect and support.
From childhood on, a series of fortunate events put young Jerry in the company of many of the greatest Cape Breton musician of the last generation, Winston Fitzgerald, Bill Lamey, Angus Chisholm, and several other less well-known fiddlers, including his father. Jerry Senior also had an interest in Irish music and passed on his repertoire to Jerry, including music learned from the 78's of Coleman, Morrison, Killoran and Cape Breton fiddler Johnny Wilmot.
Jerry has devoted his energies to the music life of Cape Breton Island. He is an emotional performer; his concerts and recordings are always memorable.
Jerry has taken his music to many parts of the world. Those places include Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Ireland, Scotland, Finland, Germany, Mexico, England, France, USA, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, PEI, New Brunswick, Quebec, Alberta, Ontario and NWT.
Starting to learn the fiddle around the age of five, Jerry was performing publicly at age six. By the age of ten, he was playing at Bill Lamey's dances held in Brookline Massachusetts. It was during this time that Jerry began his association with fine piano accompanist, such as Doug Mac Phee, Eddie Irwin and Mary Jessie Mac Donald. During this time Jerry was an accompanist for his father, and by the age of twelve, he played guitar for Angus Chisholm and Bert Foley on a regular basis.
Jerry's family made annual summer visits to Cape Breton when he was a boy, and eventually, he made up his mind to move there in the fall of 1975.
Many will remember seeing Jerry perform on The John Allan Cameron Show. These shows were taped in Montreal and ran from 1974 to 1977. On John Allan's show, Jerry shared the stage with his hero, Winston Fitzgerald, along with fiddlers Angus Chisholm, Joe Cormier, Wilfred Gillis and John Donald Cameron. During the years that the show ran, Jerry had to learn more than a thousand tunes. Eventually he acquired an extensive repertoire of traditional Cape Breton Fiddle Music.
For Jerry there has been no shortage of conservative influences. From childhood on, a series of fortunate events put young Jerry in the company of many of the greatest Cape Breton Musicians of the last generation. For the past 25 years, life in Cape Breton has surrounded him by people who know and love the music. Digesting those experiences, a mature musician and composer has evolved. Today, his settings of older tunes and his own compositions usually pass the muster with the traditionalists. Jerry himself plays many of the tunes differently depending on his mood. The beauty of traditional music lies in the individual expression.