Grade 5 ended for Luc and Aidan Wrigley this week.

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Grade 5 ended for Luc and Aidan Wrigley this week.

On July 2, the school of folk sessions begin for the 11-year-old identical-twin fiddlers.

Luc and Aidan, along with their father, guitarist Rob Wrigley, are Double the Trouble; they play traditional Métis fiddle songs and reimagined versions of popular tunes.

While the boys are still in middle school, they've become veterans of Winnipeg's folk-music scene. Double the Trouble played the Winnipeg Folk Festival as minstrels wandering throughout the festival grounds, and have also taken the stage at Festival du Voyageur, the Matlock Festival of Music, Art and Nature and the Trout Forest Music Festival in Ear Falls, Ont.

They've also taken Manitoba's biggest stage -- the MTS Centre. When they were just six years old, they were part of a group of fiddlers performing a tribute to Métis culture at the Aboriginal People's Choice Music Awards.

While they've learned a lot about music and about the three Rs at school, Aidan has found out there is no textbook or educational app for learning about show business.

"I remember walking the red carpet, and I thought it was just any carpet," he recalls of the Aboriginal Peoples Choice Music Awards. "I didn't know what a big deal it was."

Another big deal will be their new recording, Keep Calm and Fiddle On, which Double the Trouble will release at a party Thursday, July 2, at the Park Theatre.

The Wrigleys spent several Saturdays over the winter and most of spring break working on the album at the Warren studio of Lyle Baldwin of the Foster Martin Band.

"It was a real pleasure to make the record with him; he is so good with kids," says Rob. "He made it so much for all of us."

One of the tunes they've picked up is the fiddle classic The Devil Went Down to Georgia, made famous by the Charlie Daniels Band in 1979.

Luc and Aidan didn't have to travel down to the southern United States or make a pact with the devil to learn the song either. Instead, they went to their instructor, Manitoba Métis fiddle master Clint Dutiaume, and he showed them the way.

"When you get to know how to play it, it's pretty easy," says Luc, who said it took about 2 1/2 months to get the song down well enough for concerts and the recording.

"They wanted to learn that very early on but they had to work their way up to it," Rob says. "They are learning new songs incredibly fast."

Another song Double the Trouble has adapted to its act is the White Stripes song We're Going to be Friends.

"They're pretty quick to try songs they've heard on the TV or on the radio and kind of make it their own," Rob notes.

The boys also put their francophone schooling at âcole Taché to good use; they sing in both of Canada's official languages.

"Recently, in our class they asked us to bring our fiddles, but we don't play at school a lot," Aidan says.

The group has even gone on the road, thanks to an invite to perform at a Manitoba Métis Federation gathering in Churchill last year.

It proved to be a dream come true for Rob, who, like his kids, grew up playing music and performed in a local rock group, Further, with future R&B sensation Remy Shand and present-day Winnipeg Folk Festival artistic director Chris Frayer.

"I'd gone to Churchill on gigs before, but was it ever worth it to go with my family," Rob says. Like most schoolkids at the beginning of July, thoughts drift quickly to summer vacation, and the Wrigleys are looking forward to a trip out west.

But they won't be leaving their fiddles behind.

"We're planning on going on a family vacation in Banff and Jasper," Aidan says. "Hopefully we'll do some busking there."

alan.small@freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @AlanDSmall

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Alan Small

Alan Small
Reporter

Alan Small has been a journalist at the Free Press for more than 22 years in a variety of roles, the latest being a reporter in the Arts and Life section.