Friday, November 20, 2009

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 Dougie MacLeans’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

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posted by Kerry Dexter at


Blogger Alexandra Grabbe said...

Thanks for this great selection! I was looking for a good gift for a friend, born in Canada, but living in Marin, so you list was certainly timely.

5:50 PM  
Blogger Authentic Seacoast Company said...

Wonderful list of holiday gift music from Canada. It has been a great year for Nova Scotia music with new CD releases from a number of our favourites. Here's some Nova Scotia music we'd recommend adding to your Nova Scotia holiday gift list:

The Rankin Family: These Are The Moments

Lennie Gallant: If We Had a Fire

Joel Plaskett: Three

Bruce Guthro: No Final Destination

We hope you enjoy our picks. Happy Holidays from the Nova Scotia Authentic Seacoast!

4:59 PM  

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