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Tuesday 26 April 2011

A NL Musical Interlude

I'm not sure if it's inborn in all people who came from this amazing province but I can truly say that hearing well written traditional music about NL pulls at my heart strings like very little else can. It can raise the spirits and bring a tear to the eye of the sternest of men. In the spirit of celebrating the things that make NL a great place to be from and an even better place to live I give you a few of my favorite NL tunes.

Up first is the newest song to catch my attention. I kept hearing it on the Sunday morning traditional music shows and at first I thought it had a catchy tune, and then when I really started listening to the words it struck me as quite profound. By A Crowd of Bold Sharemen, my first selection: When We Was Boys.

A list of favorite traditional NL songs is not easy to compile. Well, I should say it's not easy to whittle down to a short list of songs, as there are quite a few to pick from. From my childhood I recall favorites like Aunt Martha's Sheep by Dick Nolan, Sonny's Dream by Ron Hynes, and of course the holiday classic The Mummers Song by Simani. Very few musical groups will ever have the impact on NL music as Ryan's Fancy, and below you can hear them perform an old NL classic by Art Scammell, The Squid Jiggin' Ground.

Of course there is at least one NL musical group that continues to have incredible impact on the music scene. They write and perform music and comedy for people across Canada. Buddy Wasisname and the Other Fellers have captured the hearts and the funny bones of many people from this province, and for good reason. Their most popular song captures a small part of the magic of living in NL, and those of us who know what they're talking about can only smile and know that to truly understand you have to experience what they are singing about.

Rarely can I claim a personal connection to a great piece of NL history, let alone NL musical history but there is one instance where I am proud to say that I can. Ryan's Fancy was popular enough that in the 1970's into the early 80's they had their own CBC program and a number of musical specials. One of those specials took them on a trip down towards Bonavista on the Bonavista spur line of the old Newfie Bullett. Thank goodnes it did because in the piece of film below you will see an older gentleman with grey hair and glasses striking a matchbox on his elbow and his knees, in time with the music. That gentleman was my great-uncle Cliff Keats. Unfortunately he passed away when I was quite young so I don't have many real memories of him, but thankfully I can always tune in to see him on the Bonavis Line.

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