Tall, Dark, and Mysterious

7/1/2004

And she doesn’t look a day over 135.

File under: Home And Native Land. Posted by Moebius Stripper at 9:05 pm.

We Canadians, said Romeo Dallaire in a talk that literally changed my life - I’ll have to write about it in more detail later - sell ourselves short. He was referring to our modesty regarding our values, our politics, our history, and I should really elaborate on those thoughts sometime - but not today. I have a party to attend, after all.

We sell ourselves short regarding our culture, though, as well. Musically, we’re known by likes of Avril Lavigne and Alanis Morisette, and we keep our most quintessentially Canadian talent to ourselves. Heck, some of our most talented artists are Canada’s own best-kept secrets:

  • On most days, the mathematical evangelist / potter / teacher lifestyle suits me fine, but whenever I pop a Leahy album into my stereo, I start to reconsider - having eleven (11) kids, and raising them to stepdance and play the fiddle begins to sound like a damned good idea. It worked for them, after all. I saw them in concert in Vancouver (and later, in Ottawa, and after that, in Toronto) where their energy - formidable on their albums - was magnified tenfold. Their enthusiasm is contagious; I can’t stay unhappy when I listen to them. I left each of their concerts feeling like everything was right with the world, and I didn’t stop feeling that way for days.
  • I probably wouldn’t know about Jesse Cook, either, if his latest album hadn’t been featured at one of the Chapters listening stations. Cook plays guitar, but his album is collaborative and wordly, featuring talented vocalists and violinists, and blending Latin and Middle Eastern styles in songs that showcase the value of multiculturalism.
  • Loreena McKennitt, alas, hasn’t put out any new albums in years, but her older ones are timeless. Her first few are traditionally Celtic - she plays the harp expertly on all of them - and she branches out considerably on her last two, The Mask and Mirror and The Book of Secrets. One of her trademarks is setting old poetry to music - Secrets contains a ten-minute rendition of Alfred Noyes The Highwayman, and the fit between the lyrics and music is so perfect that when I listen to it, I often forget that they were written some two hundred years apart.

And these three are all still living in Canada, while most of the artists that we brag about have migrated south. Humility, alas, is one of the more self-defeating of Canadian traits.