Newfoundland & Labrador music, the JUNOS and who knows??
Music and Friends
There are a lot of people on the streets of St. John’s these days. People who are not from here, but known as ‘Come From Aways’ or CFAs as they are referred to around these parts. They’ve arrived on our sunny (until yesterday) soil to be a part of the 2010 Juno music celebrations that are now underway in this ‘City of Legends’. I’ll wager a guess that there will be a few more ‘Legends’ added to the stockpile before the closing of the Junos on Sunday night!
One thing about inclement weather is that it is great for indoor activities such as taking in the pub entertainment around the city. There’s nothing quite like the heat that hits your face when you walk into a cozy watering hole from off of a wet cold street. It just makes you want a frothy beer or a belly warming drink of the old black rum!
The music around this town at the moment is actually much like the music the year around in St. John’s, just perhaps a little more concentrated. Our performers are showcasing their stuff with all the gusto and spirit we’ve come to know them for. The outside world of music is once again being treated to some good old Newfoundland and Labrador entertainment as the variety of traditional, country, rock, gospel, world, and other genres are displayed in all their musical glory!
It has long been known around these parts at least, that the east coast of Canada and more specifically, the province of Newfoundland and Labrador has more than its fair share per capita of incredible musicians and entertainers, but the question begs to be asked “Why is this the case”? The answer surely must be that it is our weather that’s directly responsible for our music!
We are descended from common, hardworking stock that came to these coasts some 500 years ago, mainly for the fishing. Life was rough enough just being on the waters of the North Atlantic, then add to that the hardships of scratching a living out of the earth and forests, all the while contending with long, hard winters followed by fog, drizzle and rain. Our summers are sweet but short, made all the sweeter by just how nice it actually gets with the fresh ocean breezes and sparkling sunshine.
Yes, it’s our generally long winter that led to our staying indoors for lengths of time. Once the work was done we needed to relax and so a harp or a fiddle came out, then later the concertina and the guitar, until now just about every man, woman and child in this place can either sing or play! Practice makes perfect so the saying goes, and our artists have practiced their whole lives to be doing what they are doing. This is why they sound so wonderful.
Couple with that the fact that our residents hail from around the globe, from anywhere that a boat can be launched, or a plane can land and you’ve got the combination for the cultural diversity that so permeates our society that we all too sadly, sometimes take it for granted. Indeed when a Newfoundlander or Labradorean goes a wandering we are struck by how much we miss our music. It’s that loss more than any I believe that tugs at our heartstrings because any other event in daily family life here is generally assisted by a heaping dose of our music.
The Junos were here eight years ago and are here again. That alone is testament to Canadian music’s recognition of our place in the mosaic. With all the other venues in this country, we have been bestowed with the honour of hosting for a second time! That alone speaks loud.
Me? I’m going to listen and sing and take part in whatever I can of these celebrations. I won’t be taking in the Gala Celebration on the final night though. The cost is too prohibitive for my wallet at this time. I could afford to go alone but I’d rather sit at home with my family watching on television, than sit without them in the concert. That’s just the way I am.
If you’re interested in listening to and reading more of our music scene in Newfoundland and Labrador check out these sites:
www.thescope.ca. [Now defunct]
www.nlfolk.com The folk Arts Society
www.musicnl.ca Our Music Industry Website
www.itcamefromcanada.com This site has an extensive collection of not just NL music but all of Canada, some of it very rare!
www.downhomelife.com Our Number One publication for all things Newfoundland and Labrador!
www.mocm.ca An excellent collection of all things Canadian. The true Museum of Canadian Music!