Monday, June 14, 2010

Dominion Day

is coming up.
(And I don't want to hear any mention of "Canada Day" from any of you heathens.)

And we're planning a party. All the traditional activities for the July 1st weekend will ensue: grilling meat out doors. Drinking beer. Griping about the GST/government/CBC...

I was just putting a list of Canadian music together for a friend who is putting it all on his computer for the party. I sent him the following email on Facebook:

Canadian Sound: or "McBreton"

The entire Canadian music scene is hugely dominated by the Celtic-Rock thing that comes out of the east, the epicentre of which is Cape Breton Island, where kids learn the fiddle like you and I learned to use a remote control. I met a ten year old boy once who had learned to fiddle from his dad. He used to come to the weekly public market in Halifax on Sunday mornings and he was amazing. I asked him how much money he made on Sundays, and he said about $300.

He was ten. Ten fricking years old. I wanted to break his fiddle over his head. Instead I gave him a loonie.

Almost all home grown Canadian music is McBreton-inspired or influenced.

Ashley McIsaac was the name of the celtic/rock guy with the distasteful sexual proclivities and the habit of admitting to them on tv. He's a pretty unsavoury guy personally, but the music is great.

He is a key figure in the whole Cape Breton Celtic/Rock sound.

Barra McNeils: more traditionally Celtic. not rock-synthesis, and very very Cape Breton.

Natalie McMaster: Also a Cape Breton icon, daughter of the great (but less mainstreamy) Buddy McMaster. Another big name in the Celtic-Rock thing, but does more traditional stuff.

Also, a practising pro-life Catholic who comes to play at Pro-Life events for free. A good egg.

The Great Stan Rogers: Stan was actually born in Ontario, but to a Cape Breton family and both did traditional Nova Scotia sea songs and wrote a huge pile of fabulous folk songs about the life of all sorts of ordinary Canadians. Songs about being a farmer in Alberta, and about a kid who had to leave Nova Scotia to take a job in the Alberta oil fields...great great great stuff. Stan is a massive Canadian folk hero. He died in a plane fire (in the 80s some time, I think) and there is an annual music festival in Nova Scotia named after him

He's the man with the really big voice

Mary Jane Lamond:

one of the more recent additions to the canon. I think she was discovered by Ashley McIsaac, and has become more mainstreamy and less Cape Bretony. But she is famous for doing that weird traditional Irish gaelic singing style. You'll see what I mean; it's very distinctive.

That should get you started. More later.

But really, no collection of Celtic-themed music can be complete without

Angus McGonagle, the gargling gargoyle, gargling Gershwin.



Anonymous said...

Where's Stompin' Tom?

Anonymous said...

Actually, the whole Celtic music thing has faded a fair bit since you lived here, though some of the acts (I hear) can still command a pretty good price per "gig".


Anonymous said...

I think I had only heard of one of these artists previously, and only accidentally from working in several record stores way back when. Thanks for the tunes!


Fr. T. said...

Barrett's privateers---we need to hear Barret's privateers.