Monday, June 25, 2012

Celebrating Canada and Newfoundland: The Once

Canada Day: as diverse and different as the landscapes communities, and people of Canada are, July first is a time when celebrations of the country take place from the Pacific coast to Whitehorse to Hudson's Bay to Ottawa to the Maritimes. Here’s music to help you celebrate as you prepare for and enjoy Canada Day.

Andrew Dale, Geraldine Hollett, and Phil Churchill met as three actors working in  the once newfoundland musicNewfoundland in the far north of Atlantic Canada. They discovered they all liked to sing and make music, too. The result is their trio called The Once. Hollett’s compelling lead singing fits in with strong support from Dale and Churchill on backing vocals and acoustic instruments including guitar, mandolin, fiddle, and bouzouki

Their first album. called simply The Once (it’s a term that means immediately, imminently, right now in Newfoundland) showed a fine mix of traditional and contemporary material along with a strong, individual sound for the trio. Their second offering , called Row Upon Row of the People They Know, builds on this.

Songs include the well woven story of loss, change, memory and hope called Cradle Hill and the driving traditional story Jack the Sailor. The beat goes on in the traditional song with a couple of aspects you might not expect called My Husband’s Got No Courage in Him, and the quite different, reflective story of another sort of courage, that required to live in Newfoundland in times not so long past, in the song By the Glow of the Kerosene Light.

In the music they create and the music they choose to interpret, the the tree musicians of The Once go beyond the sea chanties and pub songs to a deeper place in the history and present day of this far northern province of Atlantic Canada. It is well worth traveling with them.

From the group’s first album, here is a piece that comes along with images to give you a flavour of Newfoundland landscapes

learn why Hollett’s singing is compelling as she takes on this song based on a true story from Canadian history

you may also wish to see

Le Vent du Nord, from Montreal, brings French Canadian heritage in to the mix with their new recording Tromper Le Temps
the Rockies and plains of Canada's west are the subject and substance of Ian Tyson’s recording Raven Singer
The Once have appeared at the Celtic Colours Festival on Cape Breton in October, a festival not to be missed if you love the music of the Maritimes, and at many other festivals and venues across Canada and internationally as well.

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posted by Kerry Dexter at


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