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November 10, 2009

The Newfoundland Ugly Stick

Filed under: Newfoundland Culture — Tags: , , , , — admin @ 6:14 am

2 The Newfoundland Ugly StickLew Dite plays his Newfoundland ugly stick (purchased in St. John’s about 10 years ago) with a little help from his tie.

The ugly stick is a traditional Newfoundland musical instrument fashioned out of household and tool shed items, typically a mop with bottle caps, tin cans, small bells and other noise makers. The instrument is played with a stick that has undulations carved into it so that it can be dragged across the mop handle to given a rhythmic sound. The instrument’s main body is a mop cut to approximately four feet. A tin can is attached to the top. At strategic intervals along the length of the shaft, nails affixed with bottle caps would be nailed to the shaft. The ugly stick is held in one hand at about 3/4 up the shaft and the musician holds the beating stick in the other. The instrument is lifted and dropped on the floor in a rhythmic fashion while the musician strikes the attachments to embellish the sound.
This instrument originated in outports and remote villages. Social gatherings such as concerts (colloquially referred to as “tymes”) and kitchen parties, were an important part of the rural culture. The principle melody instruments were accordions and fiddles with rythmic accompaniment from the ugly stick.

“Beaten with the ugly stick” is an American and British idiom for someone or something that looks ugly or unappealing.

Duration : 0:3:55


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25 Comments »

  1. no, this is the …
    no, this is the most technologicly advanced musical instrument newfoundlan has to offer, it also doubles as a weapon. so you know, two for the price of one

    Comment by myothernamewastaken2 — November 10, 2009 @ 6:14 am

  2. its a baymen thing …
    its a baymen thing thats all that needs to be said

    Comment by ghw1985 — November 10, 2009 @ 6:14 am

  3. So, When they say, …
    So, When they say, “I had to beat them off with an ugly stick” that means a mop-instrument. Interesting the origins of sayings.

    Comment by vallejodave — November 10, 2009 @ 6:14 am

  4. hilARious!
    hilARious!

    Comment by kanuz777 — November 10, 2009 @ 6:14 am

  5. im from …
    im from newfoundland and i never hurd of it, guess its a newfie redneck thing

    Comment by darylghghgh — November 10, 2009 @ 6:14 am

  6. bye she some stick. …
    bye she some stick. Do you think she is good for ice fishing. Play a song, and fish at the sake time. like ya would bye bye

    Comment by MrNewfoundlandcanada — November 10, 2009 @ 6:14 am

  7. That is so cool. I …
    That is so cool. I want one of those.

    Comment by phlewis86 — November 10, 2009 @ 6:14 am

  8. I’m sorry but I …
    I’m sorry but I don’t remember. It was a Newfoundland artist.

    Comment by lewdite — November 10, 2009 @ 6:14 am

  9. what’s the second …
    what’s the second song (slower song) and artist?

    Comment by DavidHowell — November 10, 2009 @ 6:14 am

  10. that is some badass …
    that is some badass ugly sticking!

    Comment by takracke — November 10, 2009 @ 6:14 am

  11. Very nice ugly …
    Very nice ugly stick technique! We have something called the “freedom boot” check out some of our vids to watch Paul Clifford in action.

    Comment by groanbox — November 10, 2009 @ 6:14 am

  12. some shockin good
    some shockin good

    Comment by vandernewf — November 10, 2009 @ 6:14 am

  13. if your newfie post!
    if your newfie post!

    Comment by dragonslayer1974 — November 10, 2009 @ 6:14 am

  14. Happy New Year to …
    Happy New Year to you too buddy…
    I love Newfoundland

    Comment by lewdite — November 10, 2009 @ 6:14 am

  15. better of livin on …
    better of livin on a farm lol good jod ole buddy merry christmas and a happy new ugly stick new year. jessejamescrane from cox,s cove nfld realy enjoyed the vid peace

    Comment by SKINROCK71 — November 10, 2009 @ 6:14 am

  16. that not how you …
    that not how you play the ugly stick…… well it is but thats not a ugly stick song

    Comment by colinthenewfie — November 10, 2009 @ 6:14 am

  17. That’s amazing… …
    That’s amazing…I’m gonna make me one!

    jimmy

    Comment by JCMcGee — November 10, 2009 @ 6:14 am

  18. holey that old …
    holey that old man has skill

    Comment by nickblakekid — November 10, 2009 @ 6:14 am

  19. mike underscore …
    mike underscore madigan at yah oo dot c o m If you can figure that above then you can mail me and I can send you a pic of me and da kids. Mike Madigan in Nfld

    Comment by sharecroppermike — November 10, 2009 @ 6:14 am

  20. Me son,this youtube …
    Me son,this youtube thingie is wonnerful grand,isn’t it?? Should’ve given me yer tel number..or u can email me. Just check my sharecropper web site 4 da email since it won’t work in’ere. Yes Barney’s Reel..lookup Bugs Greene on google or maybe on u tube.I use that song wit da kids..dey love it.I can send ya a pic of dem learning…they get a kick since da stick has a doll head on it. The grade ones grimace when I tap it there!!ha Drop in fer a Dominion Ale nx time..UR in Pasadena …tks..MikeMad

    Comment by sharecroppermike — November 10, 2009 @ 6:14 am

  21. I’m going to phone …
    I’m going to phone you mate…. in a day or two… I am trying to find Barney’s Reel so that I will have some inkling of this tune before I call. In the meantime, check out my latest video “Lew Dite practices his scales” and give me your comments. (My wife plays the ugli-stick on this one)
    P.S. I’ve been through Pasadena on my way to Labrador (via Cornerbrook and Grosse Morne). If I’m ever that way again you can be sure I’ll take you up on that lesson!

    Comment by lewdite — November 10, 2009 @ 6:14 am

  22. Oh my son! Now I …
    Oh my son! Now I need to give you a lesson how that’s played.Phone me and I’ll put the jig on and play mine for you. You have to use the 2-2-1 pattern you hear in a lot of Newfoundland songs. Try Barney’s Reel…that’ll get ya doing it. I teach the ugli-stick to kids in school for LTTA (Learning Through the Arts). Hope we meet someday for a lesson!
    Cheers…Mike of the SharecropperTrio tel709-686-5427 here in Pasadena Newfoundland. U R forgiven!!!lol

    Comment by sharecroppermike — November 10, 2009 @ 6:14 am

  23. Hey, this is great! …
    Hey, this is great!

    The Ugly Stick, the Lagerphone, the Stumpfiddle, the Pogocello…. are there others?

    I had no idea… this could be the missing link in our common ancestral gene bank.

    Comment by lewdite — November 10, 2009 @ 6:14 am

  24. The lagerphone and …
    The lagerphone and Ugly Stick remind me of the Stumpf Fiddle or Stumpfiddle/Pogocello. Great instruments for a good old skiffle.

    Comment by Monklady — November 10, 2009 @ 6:14 am

  25. Well, thanks for …
    Well, thanks for that Raymond. I googled the lagerphone and it’s great to see that such an instrument belongs to the inventive “outpost” mind. It just goes to prove we have common ancestors.

    Comment by lewdite — November 10, 2009 @ 6:14 am

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