Sunday, December 12, 2010

A History of Folk Music in English Canada

 By Gary Cristall

What is this book about?

In Nova Scotia in the first decade of the last century Roy Mackenzie, an academic on holiday in his native province, gathered ballads from acquaintances of his youth, sure that he was preserving the last remnants of a dying tradition. Almost one hundred years later hundreds of artists perform folk music at almost one hundred festivals and from countless stages in clubs and concert venues. Much of the music they perform bears little resemblance to what Professor Mackenzie and his associates thought of as folk music. Yet the songs they collected are still there, joined by a dozen other traditions.

Reports of the death of folk music, pronounced with regularity throughout the 20th century have been found to be not only premature but also simply wildly erroneous. How that genre of music came into being, who created it, how it found its proponents and its audience is a tale worth telling. This book will look at the academics, the collectors, the singers, the entrepreneurs, and everyone else who had a hand in creating folk music in English Canada. It will look at how a musical form that began as the nostalgia of the political right became the vehicle for the ideas of the political left.

It will trace a story that is about more than music, a story that encapsulates much of the history of the search for national identity in a state that has never been fully convinced that it is a nation. Moreover it is also the tale of dreamers, fools, hustlers, visionaries, and some of the best-loved artists and art this country has produced.

Read this online book HERE. 

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