POLAND SPRING—On Saturday, May 27, the Squid Jiggers will once again celebrate the music, food, and culture of Newfoundland at the Seventh Annual Newfoundland Day concert at Mel’s Hilltop Restaurant at Poland Spring Resort. 

Soon after the duo formed in 2010, they made a connection between the Celtic-influenced sea-going music they do and Newfoundland when they started seeing a group of ex-pat Newfoundlanders at nearly all of their shows. The Squids had an idea to do a show just for their Newfie friends, and Newfoundland Day was born. After seven years, the show has grown to a party for all who come, Newfie or not.

“It’s  funny—these songs really are the folk music of Maine, too,” explained Squid Jigger Dave Rowe. “In the days of sail, these songs made their way to ports all over the eastern seaboard in some form or another. Most of them have roots in old Celtic music as well. We learned many of the tunes from my dad’s group, Schooner Fare. It’s just that Newfoundlanders still remember the songs and sing along—and there are quite a few of them around here!”

Newfoundland Day festivities begin with a buffet of uniquely Newfoundland fare like Newfoundland fish cakes, Jiggs’ dinner which is similar to a corned beef boiled dinner, figgy duff which is a bread-and-raisin pudding sweetened with molasses, and toutons which bear a striking resemblance to fried dough. Later in the evening, after the Squid Jiggers have performed a bit, there will be a Screech-In—a hilarious initiation ceremony that Newfies enjoy foisting upon non-Newfs involving the consumption of Newfie steak (bologna), dancing a jig, kissing a codfish, drinking a shot of Newfoundland Screech Rum, and reciting a nearly unintelligible verse of Newfoundland allegiance in a Newfie dialect, all while balancing precariously on stones from the Newfoundland shore while wearing fishermen’s garb. At the conclusion of the bizarre ritual, a certificate is presented to the participant (victim?) bestowing the title of Honorary Newfoundlander. 

Interspersed throughout the evening will be the music of the Squid Jiggers—a Maine-based folk duo comprised of inveterate musician-entertainers, Dave Rowe and Troy R. Bennett. They took their name from the A.R. Scammell song “Squid Jigging Ground,” which is a wonderful musical depiction of fishing for squid in the waters off Newfoundland. They combine their talents on guitar, bass, bodhran, and tin whistles to lay down a thunderous musical base for their robust vocal harmonies.

Newfoundland Day festivities begin when the doors open at 4:30 p.m. The buffet will be served at 5:30 p.m. and the music starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are available online at <http://tinyurl.com/newfie17> and can be purchased for the concert and buffet for $34.50 or for just the concert for $16.50. Admission at the door will be $20 with no buffet available on a first-come basis. FMI: Call 207-619-FOLK or visit <http://squidjiggers.com>.


Troy Bennett and Dave Rowe are the Squid Jiggers.

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