Imagine driving around for several thousand miles in silence. You could sing to yourself – that’s an option but one that runs out of novelty real fast. You could also play license plates by yourself -either you’ll always win or always lose; it’s your choice. Or you could go get some CD’s of local music. In Newfoundland, there is a wealth of musical ability. Newfoundlanders love to make music even if it’s just for themselves.
Newfoundland music is perhaps some of the best I’ve found for driving (and partying). Take your choice of upbeat, funny, rousing, sad, tender, raucous, historical, whatever. Largely based on a folk idiom with a strong Celtic influence, it’s almost impossible to sit still while listening. That said, it can sometimes make you drive a little faster, OK a lot faster, than you or the RCMP* would like.
But like any movie, a trip must, absolutely must, have it’s own soundtrack. And whether or not you sing along, and I admit I did, it has to reflect the trip. So much so that when you later hear a particular piece of music, it transports you right back there to that very time and spot.
There is no shortage of very talented groups recording in Newfoundland. The most popular and famous group is Great Big Sea who tours frequently in the US and Europe. But that’s only scratching the surface. Musicians like Amelia Curran and Ron Hynes speak with their own unique voice. Groups like Shanneyganock, The Navigators, The Once, The Dardanelles, The Fables, and Eventide helped make the miles go by so much easier and are a wonderful backdrop to the land and the road.
Being folk music, everything is fair game for a song. From “Cod Liver Oil” to “The Fellow from Fortune” to “The Scolding Wife” and so much more, it’s all there. To quote “The Scolding Wife” a favorite of mine and the ringtone on my phone for my wife (much to her dismay):
“And if the devil will take her, I’ll thank him for his pain, I swear to God I’ll hang meself, if I get married again.” Love you sweetie! I think I’m going to have to buy some flowers for this one!
* – RCMP – Royal Canadian Mounted Police or Mounties.