Since Cape Breton guitar pioneer Estwood H. Davidson passed away in 2005, family and friends have established a memorial bursary in his honour. These bursaries are presented each year to graduating students of Richmond Academy who demonstrate community involvement and a keen interest in performing arts.
During his musical lifetime, Davidson played with many Celtic musicians but will probably be remembered as the left-handed guitar player who accompanied the late Winston (Scotty) Fitzgerald. Together with the late Beatty Wallace, they performed together as the Radio Entertainers. They performed at many dances, concerts, and radio shows, hosted a television show called Cape Breton Ceilidh, and performed in Canada as well as the U.S. During their time together, they recorded several albums and a few 78s. Davidson is remembered for his wit and his musical contributions. (Read about Davidson’s travels with Fitzgerald and Wallace in Issue 54 of Cape Breton’s Magazine)
“It’s an honor to be thought of for this concert that celebrates a true pioneer in the Cape Breton style of guitar playing,” says fellow left-handed guitar player Patrick Gillis who will be taking part in the bursary concert Saturday night. Gillis, a well-respected accompanist who has played with a long list of contemporary Cape Breton fiddlers, credits Davidson’s style of playing with making him think about decorating the music in a different way. “He played a lot of bass runs and chords like Django Reinhardt. I am more of a beat the drum player. He has influenced all guitar players to some degree that I know who currently play the Cape Breton / Scottish style.”
The Estwood Davidson Memorial Bursary is funded by an annual concert which has been held in River Bourgeois or St. Peter’s. This year’s concert will take place at the St. Peter’s Lion’s Hall, St. Peter’s on Saturday, May 12. Gillis will be sharing the stage with Howie MacDonald, Mac Morin, Donnie Campbell, Buddy MacDonald, Mckayla MacNeil, Donna Marie Dewolfe, Harold and Myles Davidson. Start time is 7pm. Admission Is $15.00 per person. Proceeds go to graduating students at Richmond Academy.