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Canadian Folk Music

sian, west wales 18 Feb 10 - 05:13 AM
Beer 17 Feb 10 - 10:08 PM
Penguin Eggs 17 Feb 10 - 09:56 PM
JedMarum 17 Feb 10 - 10:02 AM
sian, west wales 17 Feb 10 - 09:30 AM
Jack Lewin 12 Jun 09 - 10:16 PM
Eve Goldberg 07 Apr 09 - 10:03 PM
balladeer 02 Apr 09 - 11:04 PM
Beer 02 Apr 09 - 08:47 PM
Eve Goldberg 02 Apr 09 - 08:19 PM
balladeer 02 Apr 09 - 06:05 PM
Eve Goldberg 02 Apr 09 - 04:32 PM
balladeer 02 Apr 09 - 02:10 PM
Eve Goldberg 02 Apr 09 - 11:51 AM
Peter T. 02 Apr 09 - 09:58 AM
Peter T. 02 Apr 09 - 07:52 AM
Peter T. 02 Apr 09 - 07:48 AM
gnu 01 Apr 09 - 03:46 PM
Peter T. 01 Apr 09 - 07:53 AM
GUEST,Peace 01 Apr 09 - 02:26 AM
GUEST,Peace 01 Apr 09 - 01:00 AM
Sandy Mc Lean 31 Mar 09 - 11:50 PM
Eve Goldberg 31 Mar 09 - 06:46 PM
Peter T. 31 Mar 09 - 01:47 PM
Beer 31 Mar 09 - 12:35 PM
sian, west wales 31 Mar 09 - 12:24 PM
Crowhugger 31 Mar 09 - 12:23 PM
meself 31 Mar 09 - 11:56 AM
Sandy Mc Lean 31 Mar 09 - 11:15 AM
meself 31 Mar 09 - 11:02 AM
Peter T. 31 Mar 09 - 10:55 AM
Eve Goldberg 31 Mar 09 - 10:16 AM
meself 31 Mar 09 - 09:11 AM
john f weldon 31 Mar 09 - 09:05 AM
Beer 31 Mar 09 - 08:50 AM
john f weldon 31 Mar 09 - 08:14 AM
meself 31 Mar 09 - 07:51 AM
bankley 31 Mar 09 - 07:48 AM
sian, west wales 31 Mar 09 - 07:21 AM
balladeer 31 Mar 09 - 04:59 AM
meself 30 Mar 09 - 11:47 PM
Beer 30 Mar 09 - 09:38 PM
Peter T. 30 Mar 09 - 08:53 PM
Beer 30 Mar 09 - 08:14 PM
bankley 30 Mar 09 - 07:49 PM
bankley 30 Mar 09 - 07:38 PM
Big Mick 30 Mar 09 - 06:43 PM
JedMarum 30 Mar 09 - 06:22 PM
Big Mick 30 Mar 09 - 06:22 PM
Big Mick 30 Mar 09 - 06:01 PM
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Subject: RE: Canadian Folk Music
From: sian, west wales
Date: 18 Feb 10 - 05:13 AM

I think this is a conversation which deserves to be resurrected from time to time.

Just a further bit on 'my' part of the Lake Erie shoreline ... I think I was mostly surprised to learn, in reading the aforementioned book, that our early settlement was SO germanic. Now, I confess to a "Duh" moment here, because a lot of the names of the early settlers are still prevalent in town: Doan, Sherk, Zavitz. I went to school with them all so I will hie me to the back of the class.

Anyway, this then led me to thinking what the 'roots' music would have been for the area. There's an invoice somewhere in the book of household items which, if I recall correctly, were lost in a raid during the War of 1812; included are a flute and a fiddle.

What would have been the song repertoire of a predominantly german-dutch population of the time, I wonder? Of course, one would also have to take into account the fact that some of these were first and even second generation Americans.

I guess it relates to the overall topic here, as there were influences on Canadian music beyond the English/Scottish/French.

sian


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Subject: RE: Canadian Folk Music
From: Beer
Date: 17 Feb 10 - 10:08 PM

I also thank you for refreshing it.
Ad.


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Subject: RE: Canadian Folk Music
From: Penguin Eggs
Date: 17 Feb 10 - 09:56 PM

I'm not sure how many of you on this site are familair with the Canadian folk, roots and world music magazine Penguin Eggs, but here's a link to a digital copy of the current issue http://livedemos.texterity.com/penguineggs_demo/

Enjoy,

Roddy Campbell


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Subject: RE: Canadian Folk Music
From: JedMarum
Date: 17 Feb 10 - 10:02 AM

David Francey is on my list! And "The Field Behind the Plow" is one of my very favorites.

Thanks for refreshing sian - I'd forgotten about this discussion.


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Subject: RE: Canadian Folk Music
From: sian, west wales
Date: 17 Feb 10 - 09:30 AM

I'm reviving this thread largely due to the Olympics ... and, as someone who complains bitterly about the cost of Olympics in the UK, this is perhaps ironic.

However, what's done is done.

I thought of this thread when I heard Shane Koyczan recite his poem, We are More , at the opening ceremonies in Vancouver. I know some don't like it, but I think it's great. Some lines, like "don't let your luggage define your travels", will go down in my personal book of favourite quotes.

I thought the use of traditional and folk music in the opening ceremonies was fabulous - Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen, et al. There's another thread on all that, so I won't go on about it.

Big Mick, I'd be interested in knowing more about Bill Gallaher's "Shadow Boats". Would I be correct in thinking that it has something to do with rum running? (A big little business at one time in my home town on Lake Erie.) I've just been reading "Scruples of Conscience: The War of 1812 in the Sugarloaf Settlement" (by Donald G. Anger) and was a bit surprised to learn that the Americans who settled there after the American Revolution weren't upping sticks because they were 'loyal to the crown'; they were actually Quakers and Mennonites who refused to fight in the war or to pay the ensuing fines and had their lands confiscated. I found this passage about the Plumstead Cowboys interesting:

"As Quakers, Joseph Doan Sr and his five sons had for reasons of conscientious objection refused to take up arms agains the King and additionally had refused to pay the heavy fines which resulted because to do so would help congtribute to the war effort. The inevitable result had been the confiscation of their lands during the war. To the sons, this meant that their government was their enemy and the British as a result were their friends. Their 'Jesse James' style careers in thenext several years which included horse-stealing, spying and even the robbing of the Newtown Treasury building were the stuff of legend."

The Quakers and the Mennonites who relocated to that north eastern Erie shore also seemed to have run a lively trade in whisky distilling during the War of 1812.

You read; you learn!

sian


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Subject: RE: Canadian Folk Music
From: Jack Lewin
Date: 12 Jun 09 - 10:16 PM

Great thread guys, Sandy metioned Stompin Tom and Stan Rogers in the same reference, while they certainly contributed to Canadian folk mucic, they did so on different levels. Stompin Tom's songs (a proud Canadian) were not nearly as deep as Stan's. While Tom's are entertaining and identifiable, Stan drew on the emotion of the story within the story that still sets the benchmark for canadian Folk. For example, Stan could have weitten on general terms about the decline of the atlantic fisherey, but intead he wrote "Make and Break Harbour", or he could have written about the plight of prarie farmers, but intead he wrote "The Field Behind the Plow". With a country as large and as diverse as ours, there are so many stories to tell, the trick is to figure out the best way to tell it in under 4 mins.

Good Luck and Good Night
Jack
ps
David Francey should be on your list


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Subject: RE: Canadian Folk Music
From: Eve Goldberg
Date: 07 Apr 09 - 10:03 PM

Following up on what I was saying about folklorists who had a hand in creating some of the public institutions that promote folk music, here's a link to the NY Times obituary of Archie Green. I hadn't remembered about his role in all this when I was posting to this thread:

Archie Green Obituary

Here's an excerpt:

"Mr. Green energetically promoted the idea of public folklore — that is, that folklorists should work outside the academy to gather, preserve and publicize local cultures through government agencies, museums, folk festivals and radio stations. His signal achievement in this area was the lonely lobbying campaign he conducted for nearly six years to create a national folklife center, which became a reality when Congress, by a unanimous vote, passed the American Folklife Preservation Act, signed into law by President Gerald R. Ford in January 1976.

"'By his energy, determination and enthusiasm he was able to impart his passion to members of Congress,' said Peggy Bulger, the director of the American Folklife Center in Washington. 'Without Archie, there would be no American Folklife Center.'"


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Subject: RE: Canadian Folk Music
From: balladeer
Date: 02 Apr 09 - 11:04 PM

If someone starts a thread of the sort Adrien suggests, I might get inspired to chime in, but many of the stories I'm remembering today feel too personal to put into print.


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Subject: RE: Canadian Folk Music
From: Beer
Date: 02 Apr 09 - 08:47 PM

Yes, you should start a thread much like these two that were started and pop up now and again.
1) Montreal 60's Counterculture Question
2) Montreal Sixties

I think one coming out of the Toronto area would be great.
Adrien


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Subject: RE: Canadian Folk Music
From: Eve Goldberg
Date: 02 Apr 09 - 08:19 PM

Why, thank you balladeer! You weren't so bad yourself! It was fun and I hope I get to do it again next year.

And while we're on the topic, Mudcatter's can got to
CIUT's website and pledge money to support Heather Fielding's show "Acoustic Workshop"

As for your stories, balladeer, I think the folk scene in Toronto 1959-1964 is totally pertinent to this thread. Or we could start another thread if you want.

(In other words, we're still waiting...)


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Subject: RE: Canadian Folk Music
From: balladeer
Date: 02 Apr 09 - 06:05 PM

Nice one, Eve! I guess I set myself up for that (lol) but this is a thread about the folk music of Canada, and my stories are about the folk scene I lived in and performed in the midst of, as it existed in Toronto between 1959 and spring of 1964, and London England from June 1964 till Christmas of 1965.

If I ever write that memoir people sometimes suggest to me, I might have to ask Gary Cristall if I may have a look at his record of our conversation!

By the way, Eve, you were terrific on Heather's show the other night - so strong, so focused, so tenacious in keeping to the point.

Joanne


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Subject: RE: Canadian Folk Music
From: Eve Goldberg
Date: 02 Apr 09 - 04:32 PM

Hey, that's pretty cool balladeer! I'm sure you have lots of interesting stories to tell. So... we're waiting...


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Subject: RE: Canadian Folk Music
From: balladeer
Date: 02 Apr 09 - 02:10 PM

Gary interviewed me a while back. We had a delightful visit, and of course his carefully chosen questions spurred me to remember incidents I had forgotten for most of my life!


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Subject: RE: Canadian Folk Music
From: Eve Goldberg
Date: 02 Apr 09 - 11:51 AM

I heard Gary present a very distilled version of the CBC series at a panel at the Ontario Council of Folk Festivals last fall, and it was totally fascinating and illuminating. Gary has put together a lot of research and interviewed tons of people about folk history in English Canada. I can't wait for the book to come out!


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Subject: RE: Canadian Folk Music
From: Peter T.
Date: 02 Apr 09 - 09:58 AM

CBC Radio's "Inside the Music" did a 5 part series on the history of Canadian folk music last summer, by Gary Cristall, and they are going to be rebroadcasting it in June.

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Canadian Folk Music
From: Peter T.
Date: 02 Apr 09 - 07:52 AM

Oops, and to add to the long list of people I forgot -- speaking of entrepreneurs -- Sam Gesser of Montreal, the Folkways pipeline. Our own Moses Asch.

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Canadian Folk Music
From: Peter T.
Date: 02 Apr 09 - 07:48 AM

This guy, Gary Cristall, seems to be working on a history. There is not much text yet, but there are some outstanding images of the early stuff as you go from chapter to chapter. The most immediately interesting (given the discussion) is the original poster for Mariposa 1961. There they all were!!

And I'd totally forgotten about the Jewish camp scene (one of the Canadian links to Pete Seeger).

Check out:

http://folkmusichistory.com/outline/01.shtml

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Canadian Folk Music
From: gnu
Date: 01 Apr 09 - 03:46 PM

Peace... "It's a brilliant distinction you made, Sandy."

Indeed!

As for the 1957/67 hypothesis, Peter T, I can get with that. Especially when one considers the "incursion" of C&W on our radios in the 70's and 80's.

I would also suggest you consider that the Canuck R&R and Rock bands during the same decades (and subsequently) did much to pull young people away from the folk you speak of, making it less viable and thereby, less playable. I am not "blaming" these musicians. Their amazing talent is to be lauded. In fact, young Canucks were inspired by that talent - The Guess Who immediately comes to mind as one example - and it certainly has served the purpose of generating new musicians, poets, writers.

Fortunately, it's not been a dog/tail thing. It's served to generate, initiate and and substantiate the music industry. As long as the industry is healthy, it gives rise to all genres.

I'll stop with the philosophy.. or, bullshit, if you prefer... and address logic : please explain to me how the Junos can have an award for Group Of The Year based on computer tracking of record sales and have five "nominees" for the category?... WTF?... or did I miss sommat?


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Subject: RE: Canadian Folk Music
From: Peter T.
Date: 01 Apr 09 - 07:53 AM

Well, I await a real expert to blow this up, but I agree that Anglo Canada just didn't have a real showman or two -- in spite of the people I mentioned, good people, well meaning, it just stayed a kind of museum-piecy thing. The critical mass of players -- the deeps of Appalachia, etc., were just no longer there -- again, not for the maritimes, and certainly not for Quebec. There were also time delays and the Quebec thing. If (and here I am making this up) if the Canadian Centennial -- which was a huge deal in Canada, really a whole cultural awakening -- had been in 1957 rather than in 1967, I think we might have had a real Anglo folk tradition.   By 1967 it was just too late: too much else was going on.

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Canadian Folk Music
From: GUEST,Peace
Date: 01 Apr 09 - 02:26 AM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-BQyP869BHs


'The Hockey Song' and 'Sudbury Saturday Night'.

It's YOUTUBE (for those with slow connections).


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Subject: RE: Canadian Folk Music
From: GUEST,Peace
Date: 01 Apr 09 - 01:00 AM

Without doubt, Stompin' Tom writes songs ABOUT Canada; as Sandy said, his songs are about the people and places in this crazy nation. It's a brilliant distinction you made, Sandy.


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Subject: RE: Canadian Folk Music
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 31 Mar 09 - 11:50 PM

When we try to define Canadian folk music one roadbump is splitting traditional public domain songs from more recently composed stuff. Of the recently composed is it strictly Canadian or more internationally generic? All great stuff but is it a Canadian song or a song by a Canadian?
To my feeble mind Stompin'Tom wrote about Canadian places, people, things and history in a way that was very nationalistic and educational.
Stan Rogers did exactly the same but with a much different style. I believe that somewhere between these two lie my definition of Canadian Folk Music. Sadly I do not do the songs of either, not because I don't love both but because it is hard to match the original song.


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Subject: RE: Canadian Folk Music
From: Eve Goldberg
Date: 31 Mar 09 - 06:46 PM

Peter, I think you are right that even though there were people like Edith Fowke and Helen Creighton et al around doing a similar kind of work, for some reason folk music did not worm its way into the national consciousness in the same way that it did in the United States.

From reading that I've done, it sounds to me like people like Charles Seeger and Alan Lomax and their colleagues in the US actually set out to get American folk music forms recognized at a government level as a unique cultural heritage that should be preserved, and managed to get federal money dedicated to some of the programs that I mentioned above. I think they had a grand vision, if you will, that included ideas like making sure all Americans learning folk songs in school, creating national events where Americans would come together and celebrate their cultural heritage, having places like the Library of Congress where important field recordings could be made available to the public, etc. etc. They were highly patriotic, very visible and vocal, and very blatant about their mission, and I think they succeeded to a certain degree.

I'm not aware of any of Canadian folklorists/musicologists who had quite that kind of "take no prisoners" approach to their work (I'd love to be corrected here!). Maybe it's yet another difference between Canadian and Americans -- the Americans went BIG with their folklore, while the Canadians quietly and politely worked away...


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Subject: RE: Canadian Folk Music
From: Peter T.
Date: 31 Mar 09 - 01:47 PM

Apologies for the bad editing on the run.

The nice thing about this thread was the fact that I spent the morning listening to Jean Carignan and others. Really a rich tradition, so vibrant in its day.   I like to think that people like Glen Reid are a bit of that thread.

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Canadian Folk Music
From: Beer
Date: 31 Mar 09 - 12:35 PM

Seems to me there is a fellow by the name of Omar Blondell who moved to Newfoundland from Winnipeg and started to collect old folk tunes around the Island. Another Helen Creighton I guess.

Adrien


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Subject: RE: Canadian Folk Music
From: sian, west wales
Date: 31 Mar 09 - 12:24 PM

Either way, meself, you'd have to convert the numbers for our American friends. They have those littler gallons than we does, don't they?

I think we're clocking up a fair old number of collectors, considering we have about a 10th of the population of the States.

I know Sandy Ives is American but he did that collecting in PEI so we might lay some claim ...

sian


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Subject: RE: Canadian Folk Music
From: Crowhugger
Date: 31 Mar 09 - 12:23 PM

Eve, Peter, Mick you're all making lots of sense to me.

My view, (this week at least--it's ever evolving), is that Canada is such a young country we're only starting to develop musics that are bred in Canadian bones rather than in our ancestors' motherlands. Some of that is in the newer tradition (is that an oxymoron?) of the "white" singer-songwriters mentioned above, and some of it is the many hybridized "coloured" styles mostly referred to as roots.

What they have in common is that they can only flourish in a young culture like Canada's, where there aren't a thousand years of establishment filling up our psyche, where people don't have to let go of their heritage to belong, where people from all over the world can make music and cross pollinate each other's ideas in relative peace and prosperity. I hope they do flourish so we'll have the stories of late-20th century immigrants added to the primarily WASP-ish fireside lexicon.

Val.


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Subject: RE: Canadian Folk Music
From: meself
Date: 31 Mar 09 - 11:56 AM

Yeah, but is that metric or imperial?


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Subject: RE: Canadian Folk Music
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 31 Mar 09 - 11:15 AM

If you were to add in Margaret Bennett and Jim Payne that would make at least three. :-}


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Subject: RE: Canadian Folk Music
From: meself
Date: 31 Mar 09 - 11:02 AM

"Ken Peacock, Edith Fowke and Helen Creighton are two examples" - here's why I don't like PET: the damned metric system! I still haven't gotten my head around it!


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Subject: RE: Canadian Folk Music
From: Peter T.
Date: 31 Mar 09 - 10:55 AM

Hi Eve, actually there was a lot of folkloric stuff going on -- Ken Peacock, Edith Fowke and Helen Creighton are two examples, and all those Canadian "folk collection" albums, and then Mariposa.   I have stacks of albums by people like Alan Mills and Wade Hemsworth. It wasn't that there weren't people trying. And the National Museum had some real giants working on French Canadian music back when nobody cared (Marius Barbeau was unbelievably prolific).   It just never "caught fire" in the way it did in the US -- and my not very sophisticated diagnosis is that by the time it came around in Canada there was just too little left (and here I am talking about central Canada) to be robust.   

Jean Carignan was a god.

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Canadian Folk Music
From: Eve Goldberg
Date: 31 Mar 09 - 10:16 AM

Peter,

Thanks for that interesting perspective on Canadian folk music. It fills in some gaps in my understanding, that's for sure.

And it makes me think of another difference that I've noticed between Canada and the US regarding folk culture and folk music. In the US, there was a small but influential group of musicologists and folklorists in the early part of the 20th century who championed folk music as a part of the US's national heritage, and who succeeded in getting major funding for several institutions that are still with us today. I'm thinking of Alan Lomax, Charles Seeger, and probably others that I'm forgetting right now.

Today, Americans have the American Folklife Collection at the Library of Congress, the National Folk Festival (which moves around the country every two years), the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, the National Heritage Fellowships, and departments at the Smithsonian Institution that produce programming related to folk music and folk culture in the US.

On a bigger level, I believe that the idea of a folk heritage that is worth preserving became an important part of American cultural mythology. The fact that PBS regularly produces and/or broadcasts music documentaries like Ken Burns' "Jazz" or Martin Scorcese's documentary on the blues, or the "American Roots Music" series illustrates the way that Americans now see all of those kinds of music as part of their cultural heritage and their contribution to the world.

Although there are institutions in Canada like the Museum of Civilization, collections at the National Library and so on, I don't sense the same kind of mythology about Canadian traditional folk music.

On the other hand, I think over the last thirty or forty years, a modern mythology of the Canadian songwriter has been emerging, that celebrates musicians like Lightfoot, Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen, Neil Young, etc. I believe that mythology is still really in its infancy, so we'll have to see how it develops and where it goes, but to me it feels very tiny and modern compared to the American folk music thing.

Am I making any sense?


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Subject: RE: Canadian Folk Music
From: meself
Date: 31 Mar 09 - 09:11 AM

Ah, Fingers McGee! You never here much about him these days ...


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Subject: RE: Canadian Folk Music
From: john f weldon
Date: 31 Mar 09 - 09:05 AM

Happily Gilles Losier is still in the land of the living (last I heard) and what a great multi-cultural, gap-bridging guy he is.

A few years ago at Champlain Valley, fiddlers from all over were playing "stump Gilles"... ...trying to find tunes he wouldn't recognize (all in good fun). But he invariably came out with something like: "Oh yeah, that's St Possumtrot Reel, first recorded in 1923 by Fingers McGee." (which would turn out to be correct).


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Subject: RE: Canadian Folk Music
From: Beer
Date: 31 Mar 09 - 08:50 AM

I remember him well John. When I was taking care of entertainment for a very large Psy. Hospital he came in along with Jeanne d'Arc Charlebois and Gilles Losier and put a show on for the patients. What a great show it was.
Adrien


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Subject: RE: Canadian Folk Music
From: john f weldon
Date: 31 Mar 09 - 08:14 AM

Jean Carignan would have been a perfect musician to bridge certain cultural gaps. A virtuoso player of Quebec music, he was also eclectic in his tastes. He played duets with Pete Seeger and Yehudi Menuhin. His big mistake was identifying Scottish and Irish tunes as such; in Quebec, you're supposed to claim every fiddle tune is from Quebec. He was largely rejected by Francophones in his lifetime, but re-claimed post-humously. (Big deal!)

His playing made him internationally famous.

He made his living driving a cab in Montreal.


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Subject: RE: Canadian Folk Music
From: meself
Date: 31 Mar 09 - 07:51 AM

In Canada, it wasn't just the embarrassment over and finally, as Peter says, hatred of, traditional rural/regional music, that was "a big factor", but a blatant contempt for ANY Canadian music. Remember the days before the CanCon regulations? Ronnie Hawkins says that when he would hire musicians (such as Robbie Robertson) from around southern Ontario, he would have to tell bar-owners that they were American ...

CKLW, in Windsor, which was, apparently, the most influential pop music radio station in North America, fought CanCon tooth and nail, and when they finally had to accomodate it, did everything in their power to literally make a mockery of it - and of music recorded by Canadians.

And in that era of university-building, it was typical for new universities to be staffed largely by Americans - the prevailing wisdom being that Canadian would-be academics couldn't possibly have what it takes to be real university professors.

We've come a long way since then.

If you haven't already, read John Ralston Saul's "Memoirs of a Siamese Twin". Great discussion of what this country's all about. A deep understanding of the country (as opposed to PET's lack of understanding).


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Subject: RE: Canadian Folk Music
From: bankley
Date: 31 Mar 09 - 07:48 AM

it started shifting from rural to urban in Canada, in the 50's when CBC began to relocate to Toronto from Montreal... we still had Don Messer's Jubilee... but the fix was in... CBC is in trouble yet again facing big cuts, 800 job lay-offs, and scaling back of regional programs.. Thank you Mr. Harper (not)... there's a petition circulating at present protesting this....

Beer... it's been really nice... so laid back in this area, if it got any slower I'd have to walk backwards just to catch up... even the crows caw with a drawl... it's been great staying in touch through the Cafe... I enjoy this thread, a lot of insight .... I'll be quiet for a week or two, as I'm hitting the road this morning for points west.. everyone stay well,,,,... R.


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Subject: RE: Canadian Folk Music
From: sian, west wales
Date: 31 Mar 09 - 07:21 AM

Peter, in your discussion of the Media you have pretty much described that which has happened in Wales (and the UK). In Wales, the creation of a dedicated Welsh-language television channel was, arguably and paradoxically, a real blow for Welsh traditional music. Rather than strike its own path, it felt that it had to prove itself on the international stage and adopt global norms and goals. (There was a time when I would have called these, 'American cultural' norms but I think Global Corporations have even left the USA behind) When your norms and goals are global, your career paths are defined by something other than your indigenous culture.

I was involved in a European project a few years ago which brought together people from traditional music in 5 European nations. I remember one representative, from ... Sardinia, I think ... saying that their music had next to no air-time even on local channels, and on the odd occasion when they did appear, they were almost inevitably sat on a bale of hay.

There's been some very good work done on explaining the mis-fit between rural and urban life and values at Concordia (New Rural Economics project) and I think a lot of the overriding findings work in music as well as the general economy.

I'm not sure if this counts as thread drift. I think the Media's attitude to rurality, including music, is probably a big factor in how Canadian music has evolved but I also think it's had that effect in most other (western?) countries as well.

sian


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Subject: RE: Canadian Folk Music
From: balladeer
Date: 31 Mar 09 - 04:59 AM

What is the name of Peter T's thread?


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Subject: RE: Canadian Folk Music
From: meself
Date: 30 Mar 09 - 11:47 PM

Thank you, Peter.


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Subject: RE: Canadian Folk Music
From: Beer
Date: 30 Mar 09 - 09:38 PM

Your on a roll tonight Peter. Read your other thread. Good one.
Like what you have said here as well. Lots to think about.
Adrien


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Subject: RE: Canadian Folk Music
From: Peter T.
Date: 30 Mar 09 - 08:53 PM

I don't claim to be a great expert, but here's my two cents, having lived through a whole range of the recent history (last 50 years).   I think that there is one characteristic about Canadian folk music that hasn't really been talked about in detail, though parts of it have been referenced (meself for instance).

While each area has a rich local history, the political/media centre in Ontario essentially lost or turned its back on virtually all of its own Anglo tradition -- there were bits of it left here and there -- Peterborough, the Ottawa Valley, and some northern communities, but it got pretty sparse -- and it was these people who were the most influential for so long in Canadian culture over the last 100 years. They hated everything rural. The political/media centre was crippled by a colonial belief in sophistication, which could only be British, and then American, sophistication (and ironically not folk music from either place). When I was growing up in central Canada, Canadian folk music and dance were a dismal joke: something for Dominion Day. Don Messer and the Islanders were beneath hicks.   It is notorious that the CBC -- which essentially ruled Anglo Canadian culture -- desperately hated, HATED all of that regional music, and tried to kill it over and over again. The Canadian equivalent to the powerful Appalachian spinal cord or the rich concentrated heritage of the blues as a central spine was scattered about or wasn't even there, and in the end the hatred for the rural culture was so successful that there were barely fragments left there to go back to when the time for going back came. There wasn't enough left to make a tradition. People tried, folklorists tried, but.....So while chunks of the country could still work on its own folk music heritage and keep it going, most of the central Anglo tradition that wasn't "provincial" went, when the time came, into eclectic borrowing from the United States to fill in the vacuum. Rick Fielding and I used to have conversations about the late 50s and early 60s, the pre-Canadian centennial folk albums, and some of the Folkways albums, and it is really hard to recapture how thin on the ground the whole Anglo-Scottish-Irish tradition became in central Canada (though of course it was thriving in the Maritimes). But even a lot of those folk traditions really needed a lot of juice when the time to come back came back. People don't remember how really sparse it all was all over English Canada: except in a very few places, we are talking the thinnest of threads for the longest time.

The result is that while there are these strong local traditions outside of central Canada, central Canada's folk tradition became Gordon Lightfooty -- a kind of new/old tradition (not to say that it was only in central Canada that this Americanization took place).   The Canadianness of this new tradition is in the content, not in the technical forms. The forms are borrowed, as people have said, from the U.S. Very few people (Rick Fielding was one) really championed the old Anglo songs -- logging songs, parlour songs, patriotic ballads, local history songs.   But ironically enough, this vacuum at the power centre means that Canadian folk music has evolved into this complete and I think delightful eclecticism -- there was no one to say, this is what Canadian folk music has to be, and so all the strong regional traditions and the "new traditions" borrowed from the US mingle together. There are good historic and political reasons why there is no one Canadian style.

The great tragedy, of course, is that, except in the tiniest way, the French Canadian music tradition never really made it into the Anglo world. The attempts in the 50s and 60s to make a "new" pan-Canadian tradition were strangled at birth by the eruption of Quebec independence as a movement.   The 350 years of French Canadian music, by far the richest tradition in Canada, never made a dent on the Anglos, nor has it yet, so far as I can tell, to their impoverishment.   

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Canadian Folk Music
From: Beer
Date: 30 Mar 09 - 08:14 PM

Hope your having a great time Ron and good luck in the recording.
Adrien


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Subject: RE: Canadian Folk Music
From: bankley
Date: 30 Mar 09 - 07:49 PM

a snap shot of a Canadian writer :

so here I am in rural Georgia for the past month writing new songs with a Southern feel to take to West Kentucky in a week or so, and do some playing and recording up there...go figure
it'll be fun and I'm glad to be doing it, all of that... I'll post one here with me and Jayto for around Easter... stay tuned.. y'all eh !


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Subject: RE: Canadian Folk Music
From: bankley
Date: 30 Mar 09 - 07:38 PM

Sure Mick, when I get back home I'll send you a pic of the sash. I almost forgot but it's also featured on my last CD, part of the inner artwork, a superimposed shot which makes it look like it's flying in the wind over a rooftop.. a weave from Langstaff's family tree, much like the Scots and their tartan....

There's a few Canadiana images in the booklet, a snowshoe, a Haida sculpture in argilite, a maple leaf shaped bottle of syrup,some beadwork from the NWT Dene people, things picked-up in my travels north of 49,,,!!!

and Good Luck with the song.... it could turn into a whole project... now there's an idea.......hmmm got me thinking too, again..

"My Father came from Scotland's shore, a young man in his day
He came to live upon the plains while working for the Bay
He dealt in furs and buffalo hides and wed an Indian girl
By and by a son was born by the name of John McLean" .....

excerpt from "John McLean" by Willie Dunn...


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Subject: RE: Canadian Folk Music
From: Big Mick
Date: 30 Mar 09 - 06:43 PM

Yep, Jed, that is what I have been trying to say throughout this thread. It is very hard to define, but I know it when I hear it.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Canadian Folk Music
From: JedMarum
Date: 30 Mar 09 - 06:22 PM

I heard a bit of discussion this weekend, from the stage about the Fenian movement - and Canada, et al. My friend Jim Flanagan introduced "COME TO THE BOWER" and told the story behind the song.

But, as in all good threads; we've digressed!

My original comment was not so much a comment on style, songwriter and finger finger pickin' techniques. I was talking about the spirit of the music. The soul. The magic. The muse. New Englanders and their northern neighbors, it seems to me are closely aligned.

The first time I'd been away from New Engalnd for more then a two years, as my plane was landing and I could gaze out the window at the early summer, rolling hills, shiny black ponds and green pines, oaks and maples - I just had this feeling that said to my heart, "Oh yes! I'd forgotten. That is what the world is supposed to look like!"

When I sit and pick with Paul, Joanne, and in days gone by, Rick. I had that same feeling. "Ah yes, that's why I love to hear and to sing these songs!"

I can't describe why. It just feels like home.


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Subject: RE: Canadian Folk Music
From: Big Mick
Date: 30 Mar 09 - 06:22 PM

Terry ..... I should delete your post..... no fair claiming 100 on a thread you haven't contributed to, you sneaky Brit whistle player!!!!

Mick .... with tongue planted firmly in cheek.


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Subject: RE: Canadian Folk Music
From: Big Mick
Date: 30 Mar 09 - 06:01 PM

From the Fenian's perspective, the idea was to use the captured land as a bartering chip to get Merry Old out of Ireland. They never intended to keep it, but rather hold it as ransom to free Ireland.

That Metis story, sian, is absolutely priceless. I love the fact the that the bell came up "missing". And you are right... there has got to be a song in there.

Mick


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