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.
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.