The family and friends of an influential Métis fiddle player in Manitoba who died this past weekend say he will be remembered as a legend and an inspiration in music circles.
Clint Dutiaume, who was 59, “left a mark on Manitoba and Canadian country music like no other,” said Kimberley Dawn, a local country musician and on-air personality who toured with him for 20 years.
“And he is going down in Canada as a legend.”
His brother, Tom Dutiaume, said his family is also grieving losing a son, father, uncle and grandfather — but the loss extends far past that.
“I think it’s a huge loss and there’s gonna be a huge hole there for a long time. He did so much for a lot of people,” Tom said on Monday.
“He was a teacher. He shared all his knowledge with anybody he could. And he inspired countless, countless musicians.”
Tom Dutiaume said his brother battled for months with lung cancer after being diagnosed in August. He died on Saturday, four days after he turned 59.
He leaves behind his mother, two kids, two grandchildren and 10 siblings.
Clint Dutiaume also previously played with the C-Weed Band, where his brother said he “really cut a path for a lot of Indigenous and Métis musicians.”
“That changed the landscape for Métis musicians,” said Tom. “He really, really blazed a huge trail.”
Tom and Clint Dutiaume also recently shared a moment in the spotlight, when their former band — the Younger Brothers, which also included two of their other brothers — was inducted into the Manitoba Country Music Association Hall of Fame in November.
Rhonda Head, a classically trained opera singer from Opaskwayak Cree Nation, said that’s the last time she saw the late musician.
“It was emotional watching them get their award and to be inducted. It was a very special moment,” said Head, who met Clint Dutiaume over a decade ago, when the C-Weed Band came to perform on Opaskwayak.
She said she won’t soon forget watching him perform, especially on the fiddle.
“Watching him perform … he made it look so easy, and a lot of fun,” Head said.
“[This is] going to be a huge loss in the music industry. I’m gonna miss him a lot. I’m gonna miss his presence, for sure.
“He left a huge, huge legacy behind with his music and inspiring a lot of up-and-coming fiddle players and established fiddle players. So he’s going to be greatly missed.”
Dawn said she met Clint Dutiaume in 2002, and that he was “the most humble and most generous person.”
“He gave so many artists that opportunity, like me, to be able to start out in their career, to just guide them,” she said on CBC’s Information Radio.
“Clint had so much patience for me. He actually spoiled me quite a bit. And he basically started me and so many other artists in this industry.”
Information Radio – MB6:56A Manitoba fiddling legend has died. His friend wants everyone to know about the legacy he leaves behind
Tom Dutiaume said as he mourns his brother’s death, he’s finding solace in seeing how many people’s lives he touched.
“It is a little bit comforting to know that he did pass on what he could,” he said. “Not to mention what I learned from him.”