becoming manitoban

Music can change the world because it can change people. ~ Bono

When I lived in Halifax I routinely went out for drinks with my girlfriends and listened to live music. The girls would tip a few back, and hit a bar to rock out to a local band. It was some of my favourite times from the years I lived in Halifax. I remember one night we had thrown back a few martinis and stumbled into The Marquee. I think it was 2001, give or take a year. This guy was on stage rocking out. His name was Joel Plaskett and he was playing a song called Extraordinary, and I loved it. I loved everything about it. His look, his music, his attitude, I loved how he engaged a crowd and made them enjoy themselves. I heard he was from Nova Scotia and I felt this sense of immense pride as he was one of us, a local Nova Scotian. Over the next few years I saw Joel Plaskett in concert countless times in various places. I have grown to be a huge fan of him and his music. Every time I listen to his music I just feel happy. I feel proud as he is a Nova Scotian and that Nova Scotia could give this guy the opportunity to flourish in the music community and represent, proud to call him one of their own. Joel now has a large following. He has recorded numerous albums and routinely plays to sold out shows on the east coast. His music has been used in commercials and movies. He is one of the current faces of Halifax musical talent and Nova Scotians are proud.

My life in rural Manitoba is very different from my old life in urban Halifax. When I lived in Halifax I was single, in my 20s and fun was heading downtown to hear a good band and share some drinks. My life in Manitoba - I am happily married, in my 30s, and fun is trying a new recipe in my kitchen while listening to some quiet music playing in the background. I love my Manitoba life but I do miss experiencing local music and discovering new local favs. I live a couple hours from Winnipeg and Brandon and the opportunities to hear good, local, current musical talent is not great. I sometimes surf the net trying to find some local Manitoba musicians, but so far I have been disappointed. I’m looking for my Manitoban version of Joel Plaskett, someone with great musical talent, who knows how to entertain a local crowd, who is from Manitoba and gives a sense of pride to Manitobans. Someone that I can have playing in the background while I’m baking. A musician to write to Nova Scotia friends about - exclaiming well you might have Joel Plaskett but guess who Manitobans have!?!?

This week I think I finally found a potential Manitoba musician who could eventually fill this role. He is a 16 year old teenager named Sean Quigley who is from Winnipeg. He wrote, produced, directed all aspects of a youtube video called “Little Drummer Boy” which is his version of the classic Christmas carol. It is fantastic and has gone viral, gaining him international recognition. I can’t believe he is only 16 years old and accomplished such a great song and video on his own as it is very professional. He filmed the video in Winnipeg and it highlights the city in outdoor scenes that are well known to Manitobans. The first time I saw the video I felt this sense of pride. I’d never felt that sense of pride about Manitoba before, I’ve always felt Manitoba is just where I live, it is not part of who I am, different from the way Nova Scotia is part of who I am and is so engrained into my personality. The pride feeling I felt was similar to how you feel when you are cheering for your home team, someone that represents you and your city and province, it was that same feeling I felt the first time I saw Joel Plaskett. It was in that moment that I realized I am now officially Manitoban. I have crossed the boundary from being just a Nova Scotia girl living in Manitoba, but now a Nova Scotia girl who is now also Manitoban. Dual provincial citizenship, rooting for the Manitoba homeboy, proud to have Manitoba represented.

Keep up the great work Sean, maybe some day you will meet Joel Plaskett and rock out on stage together - what a great moment that would be to have both my provinces - Nova Scotia and Manitoba - sharing the stage and spotlight together.

For more information on Joel Plaskett visit www.joelplaskett.com.

For more information on Sean Quigley visit him on twitter @seanquigley204.