holiday gift list: music of Canada
Canada has as many diverse and varied sorts of music as does its neighbor to the south. Here at Music Road, we’ve many regular readers from Canada, from Whitehorse and Yellowknife to Victoria and Vancouver, from Calgary and Edmonton to Regina, Ottawa, Toronto and Quebec, and from Charlottetown to St. John to Halifax to Sydney to Baddeck. If you’re looking to fill up holiday gift baskets, here are several of our favorites from Canadian musicians.
Maria Dunn The Peddler
Dunn writes of heritage and immgrant life and the struggles of war and the joys of friendship in this recording. She’s been called the female Woody Guthrie, and while she is certainly her own artist, that gives you a bit an idea of what to look for. On this recording, look for her Scottish roots, too, in melody and instrumentation, and in the presence of The McDades as back musicians on many tracks.
Ian Tyson Yellowhead to Yellowstone and Other Love Stories
Ian Tyson is the voice of the western plains. From his days as half of the duo Ian and Sylvia to his part in the cowboy renaissance to his place as a poet of the west, he’s told the stories and sung the songs of the lives and people who live in the sometimes harsh but always beautiful western part of North America. On this recording, his voice, weathered by time and illness, may seem a bit different, but it’s still Ian Tyson, and the songs are all his too, from the opener framed in the travels of a wolf to the closing bittersweet affirmation of hope for love after loss.
Whatever part of the world you hail from, it’s worth a listen.
Le Vent du Nord :La Part du Feu
From Quebecois history to lively dance tunes to reflective songs to pure fun, the men of Le Vent du Nord bring the many shades of the music of their home place, Quebec, to the world.
The Barra MacNeils 20th Anniversary Collection
The Barras, as they’re known for short, bring the music of the Maritimes and Cape Breton home, with sea songs so fresh you can taste the salt, connections to their Scottish heritage with outstanding versions of Robert Burns’ My Heart’s in the Highlands and Doug MacLean’s Caledonia, tasty sets of tunes, and well done new pieces including Island and Coaltown Road. Outstanding lead and harmony singing too.
Natalie MacMaster Blueprint
Cape Breton fiddle player MacMaster kicks this one off with a tune called A Blast, and it is, with her lively beats, distinctive tone, and flair for writing and choosing fine tunes. The Touch of the Master’s Hand is a thought provoking song, and Josefin’s Waltz shows she can handle a slow tune with emotion as well. The concluding song, My Love, Cape Breton, and Me, is a real keeper too, a last minute addition to this album that fits perfectly as a closing piece.
You may also want to see
Music Road: thinking about Cape Breton: music and landscape
Music Road: Leahy: Live in Gatineau dvd
Music Road: songs of place: Canada
Music Road: holiday gift list: Irish music