Skip to main content

Minnie White

Minnie White was born in the south coast community of St. Alban's, Baie d'Espoir, Newfoundland, in 1916. She grew up learning a wide variety of dance tunes from her father Sammy who played accordion, fiddle, and mouth organ. At the age of 16, she moved to the Codroy Valley on the southwest corner of Newfoundland, where she accompanied many of the fiddlers on piano for community dances.

After marrying and starting a family, she gave up regular performing and didn't pick it up again until the late 1960s and after her family was raised. She then found herself drawn back to the accordion and many of the tunes she had learned as a girl. She also began to compose tunes and built a formidable reputation in the ensuing years as a performer with a regular 13-year gig at the Starlite Motel. Minnie composed and arranged music, hired bands to back her up, and performed on accordion and mandolin.

With the revival of traditional music in Newfoundland, she began to travel the province and sometimes beyond, recording four albums and becoming an inspiration for new generations of Newfoundland musicians. She was awarded the Order of Canada in 1993, inducted into the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council Hall of Honour in 1994 and was a 1995 East Coast Music Awards Instrumental Artist of the Year nominee. Until her death in 2002, she performed regularly at festivals and special events around Newfoundland.