Feature

Zeke Mazurek, lost and found

When the right music arrives in your life, at the right time, it is a force as powerful as love itself.

I had seen the late, legendary fiddler Zeke Mazurek live sporadically over the years, at Mariposa and with Prairie Oyster. At a memorable mud-strewn Markham Fair gig, with the roars of a nearby tractor pull invading the wet tent, Zeke’s keening instrument went on the attack, rocketing with flair and grace over the racket of commercial farm implements.

Next thing you know, I was in Picton, Ontario at a posthumous 60th birthday party for my old muchacho Norm Hacking, and, in a trash ‘n’ treasure store, this gorgeous CD, called I Ain’t Dead … Yet, Vol. 2, jumped at me.

The disk brought me to a new appreciation of the full force of Zeke’s lyrical yet muscular style. It also brought the knowledge that the man himself was living the struggle of that title a few miles away. A variety of cancers had popped up at a routine medical examination. A Zeke-Aid concert ensued, and a rush of affection was delivered to a local hero in the best way: live, instead of too late.

Now that Zeke’s struggle is over, that CD with its proud title has become a valuable preset on my musical GPS, and a new disk of Zeke’s live music has arrived. David the Bard – Zeke Mazurek Lost and Found was curated by his beloved Prince Edward County community and Through The Cedars Music Productions.

Long time folk emeritus Sneezy Waters, Jeanette Arsenault and a full card of local players accompany Zeke’s melodies with hearty rhythms, singing, and audible dancing.

David the Bard reveals David “Zeke” Mazurek’s grasp of most of the identifiable genres and disciplines of fiddle music and his talents as a hearty raconteur and jokester. Fine traces of the man’s serendipitous soul lace these twenty-one disparate archival pieces into a poignant and powerful listening event.

Meditative traditional ballads like “Blind Mary” and “Auld Lang Syne” unfurl like fragile parchment, while Zeke’s legendary verve lances out on “Devil’s Dream,” “Whisky Before Breakfast” and a dozen reels and waltzes. A wistful and winsome original, “A Girl I Knew,” features a heart-breaking vocal by Aron Wilson.

Emotionally, historically, and musically, David the Bard is an important, well-recorded and forceful document of the enigma wherein transient spirit stubbornly outlives its handsome earthly investment.

The title track portrays the Hebrew king, calling one last time: “Bring me my harp, my companion so long, let it once more join my voice in song”. It speaks and sings as a life’s permanent souvenir, with a voice similar, in many ways, to love itself.

David the Bard – Zeke Mazurek Lost and Found is available at Books & Company, 289 Main Street, Picton, Ontario. Proceeds go to Zeke’s family.

ZekeAid slide show courtesy Phil Norton.

If you are enjoying this content, please take a second to support Roots Music Canada on Patreon!

3 comments

  1. avatar
    Joel LeBlanc 20 April, 2011 at 08:28

    Great to see this CD come out so quickly. Zeke was a great fiddler and good friend of Blue Skies. He is missed.

  2. avatar
    Saul Broudy 26 April, 2011 at 14:01

    I am so sorry to hear from this article about the passing of both Zeke and Norm. I have many happy memories of hanging out with them at Canadian festivals, with Norm around Toronto, and with Zeke….Danny Greenspoon and I did some gigs with Zeke in Germany in the 1980s. When I get back up that way someday, it will be sad knowing they won’t be there.

    Saul Broudy
    Philadelphia, PA USA

  3. avatar
    Marie-Lynn 30 April, 2011 at 12:20

    Hearty thanks for this review and tribute, as well as the wonderful slide show of Phil Norton’s photos of the Zeke Aid event. I am SO glad, as you say, that we were able to do the benefit with Zeke present in all his warm and funny glory. It’s hard to believe that it was 30 years ago he toured with my old band, Stringband, for a couple of years. If you want to hear Zeke really smokin’, check out this version of Devil’s Dream that Bob Bossin put up on YouTube:

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *