nova scotia music

campfire songs

The truest expression of a people is in its dance and music. ~ Agnes de Mile

Growing up in Nova Scotia it was pretty common to sit around a campfire and share a few laughs, beers, and songs. Whether it was a wiener roast at the shore, or a fire pit at a cottage, someone was bound to do something stupid and then break into song spontaneously creating an impromptu sing-a-long. Nova Scotia has a long history of music and all it takes is one evening at a few Halifax pubs or a weekend in Cape Breton to realize Nova Scotia has its own special twist and musical influence. There are a few Nova Scotia themed songs that always seem to pop up from time to time in Nova Scotia and are a crowd pleaser, especially around campfires. For instance, Farewell to Nova Scotia, a classic song that pulls on the heartstrings of many Nova Scotians with its deep ties to the sea and sailors.

When I lived in Nova Scotia it was always a great sense of pride when a group would all sing-a-long to Farewell to Nova Scotia, it united us all around the campfire, bringing out our Nova Scotia pride. Another popular one is Barrett’s Privateers, again pulling on the heartstrings of Nova Scotians with its deep ties to the sea and sailors.

Even in a drunken stupor most Nova Scotians can still bellow out a line or two of these songs and raise their beer to toast the tune and our Nova Scotia heritage.

When I moved to Manitoba and started attending parties and campfires here in this prairie province I would listen closely to see what songs would pop up with a Manitoba theme or underlying history. So far the only one that I have seen a Manitoban crowd go wild for is “The Last Saskatchewan Pirate”.

The song is great and gives Farewell to Nova Scotia and Barrett’s Privateers a good run for its money, but the thing that gets me is the song is about Saskatchewan and not Manitoba. So Manitobans I ask you - what songs are your go to Manitoba campfire songs that create a cheering crowd, a sense of Manitoba pride, and an impromptu sing-a-long? Surely Manitoba has a few ones that touch on Manitoba, its history, and its pride?!?!?

the great canadian slugfest

The Stanfields make you proud to be a Maritimer, and jealous if you aren't. ~ Q104FM Halifax

Adding Nova Scotia charm to New York punk rock, Gloryhound continues to solidify their spot in the Canadian music scene. ~ The Examiner

I spent most of my twenties in Halifax, Nova Scotia where east coast music is celebrated and encouraged. I would routinely hit a local pub or bar with friends and catch the newest east coast band. I have many fond memories of those years, and lots of songs as souvenirs that immediately transport me back to that time in my life. When I moved to rural Manitoba it was a bit of a struggle to give up the idea of not being surrounded by east coast music. Friends back home would email me with tips on all these new great Nova Scotia bands they were seeing live, and a small piece of me would twinge with jealously that I wasn‘t there to see them in concert. Now it is their turn to be jealous of me.

Recently The Watson Art Centre in Dauphin hosted two fantastic Nova Scotia bands - Gloryhound and The Stanfields. I knew I had to go. Nova Scotians always support other Nova Scotians, especially when they are outside of Nova Scotia. I was familiar with The Stanfields, they came on the Nova Scotia music scene after I moved to Manitoba, but friends back home raved about how great they were live and I already knew all the words to a couple of their songs. Gloryhound seemed familiar but I didn’t know any of their music, but I had this gut feeling they were be great too.

Both bands were fantastic live at the Watson Art Centre. With two Nova Scotia flags proudly displayed on stage, both bands rocked out and put on a great show. Gloryhound was a heavier rock band, their talent and skills were very evident and they were great interacting with the crowd. The Stanfields combined traditional east coast music with old fashioned rock and roll, producing a very upbeat and enjoyable sound. After the concert was over both bands hung around and mixed with the audience. It was really nice to meet all the members of both bands and to share some east coast memories and stories. As I left the Watson Art Centre after the concert one of the other east coasters yelled out to me “see you later, Nova Scotian”. It was a proud moment. Proud to have the opportunity to see two great Nova Scotia bands in Dauphin, and proud that I live near Dauphin - a city that values up and coming Canadian music and strongly supports touring musicians.  I am thankful to the City of Dauphin, the Watson Art Centre, Gloryhound, and The Stanfields for offering me a small taste of home.

If you are like me, a “come from away” living in the Dauphin area, keep your eyes and ears open. You just never know when a band from home will cruise on into Dauphin and play a show. It sure was nice to have a little piece of home show up in my new Manitoba community.

For more information on The Stanfields please visit www.thestanfields.ca.

For more information on Gloryhound please visit www.gloryhoundband.com.

For more information on the Watson Art Centre visit www.watsonartcentre.com.