Connectedness

Pebbles along Hampton Wharf Beach, N.S.

“Oh, but I can hear you, loud in the center / Aren’t we made to be crowded together . . .”

                                    ~ Robin Pecknold (Fleet Foxes), “Third of May” 

More pebbles on Hampton Wharf Beach, N.S.

Notes:  

1.  Kristina Boardman’s wonderful pebble paintings, which I highlighted in a post last year, inspired me to take these photos along the shore.  Her paintings show why even with the amazing capabilities of digital photography, masterful paintings by talented artists of a given subject capture an expressive element that photos can’t match.

2.  Fleet Foxes, one of my favorite folk-rock groups, after a several years’ hiatus released the album “Crack-Up” earlier this year, which contains the song from which the above quote is taken.  While the song is principally about Pecknold’s challenging relationship (like most!) with a close friend, like many Fleet Foxes songs it also contains some thoughtful ruminations on life.  For me, the line line quoted above conveys nicely how we as people are meant to be social and connected, in varying degrees, and how goodness and purpose flow from that.   Song video below.

 

Canadian Music Vibes: A Little Folk Rock, Alt Rock, Reggae, Traditional . . .

 

I truly love all sorts of music and I thought I might share a few tunes that showcase the wide diversity of offerings by Canada’s talented musicians. Since it’s always hard to choose favorites and there are way too many other performances — oh my gosh, so many good ones! — that I appreciate from this country, I’ll just note that the songs below are among those that I like a great deal because they inspire me, move me or just make me smile.

 

(The titles below are linked to YouTube videos.)

⇒Joni Mitchell, “The Circle Game”

⇒Neil Young (with The Band and Joni Mitchell), “Helpless” 

Leonard Cohen, “Hallelujah”

Johnny Osbourne & Bunny Brown, “Love Makes The World Go Round”

⇒Noel Ellis, Jackie Mittoo, Willie Williams & Jerry Brown, “Rocking Universally”

Gordon Lightfooot, “If You Could Read My Mind”

⇒Len, “Steal My Sunshine”

⇒Stompin Tom Connors, “Muleskinner Blues”

Alan Mills, “A La Claire Fontaine”

Alanis Morissette (with Salif Keita), “The Prayer Cycle Movement I – Mercy”

 

 

Photo Credits: Wikimedia Commons

Songs & Ballads from Nova Scotia

Ballads Cover 1

Front Cover Illustration by Reginald Knowles for Helen Creighton, Songs & Ballads from Nova Scotia (1933)

In the late 1920s and early 1930s, Helen Creighton, a  then-budding musicologist, set about criss-crossing Nova Scotia to collect songs peculiar to the province.  In 1933 she published 150 of these songs in Songs & Ballads from Nova Scotia, the first of her many song collections.

I had the good fortune recently to come across a lovely first edition of this book and have enjoyed thumbing through it, while marvelling at the laborious effort reflected in its pages.  Here may be found songs of the sea, of love and its missing, of battle, of children’s play, as well as connections to the English, Scottish, French, Acadian and Mikmaq influences on this rich local music.  The book’s front and back covers are graced with an exquisite woodcut by the noted illustrator, Reginald Knowles, and depict scenes suggestive of the songs within.

Title Page

Title Page, Helen Creighton, Songs & Ballads from Nova Scotia (1933)

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Homeward Bound

“Homeward Bound,” from Helen Creighton, Songs & Ballads from Nova Scotia (1933)

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Devil's Island Scene

Frontispiece Illustration by R. Wilcox for Helen Creighton, Songs & Ballads from Nova Scotia (1933)

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Ballads Back Cover 1

Back Cover Illustration by Reginald Knowles for Helen Creighton, Songs & Ballads from Nova Scotia (1933)

The Sweet Lowdown: “Red Shift Blues”

The Sweet Lowdown

The Sweet Lowdown is an amazingly talented folk and roots music trio based in Vancouver Island, B.C.  The group consists of Amanda Blied on guitar,  Shanti Bremer on banjo, and Miriam Sonstenes on fiddle.  Their wonderful harmonies and skillful musicianship and songwriting are starting to attract much-deserved wider recognition, including coveted nominations by the Canadian Folk Music Awards as 2015 Ensemble of the Year and 2015 Roots Group Recording of the Year by the Western Canadian Music Awards for their album “Chasing the Sun”.

The video above is for “Red Shift Blues”, a soulful tune from the band’s 2011 self-titled album “The Sweet Lowdown”.  More info on them and their music can be found on their official band website.

(Photo Credit: Ashli Akins)

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