Category Archives: Music

So Excited About This!

royal canoe on ice

On January 31st my favourite Winnipeg band Royal Canoe will be performing a concert called Glacial at The Forks. The band will be working together with ice artist Luca Roncoroni to create instruments made from ice.  Roncoroni who grew up in the Italian Alps and is currently an Oslo resident is the creative director of the Icehotel Group in Sweden which has an ice hotel and art exhibition and engages in ice design projects like Glacial around the world. According to a Winnipeg Free Press article Royal Canoe will be reimagining their own repertoire of music for the event. 

Images on Instagram yesterday show the group has already begun their ice instrument creation and the recording of ice sounds for their exciting show. If the weather conditions allow the concert will be performed on the river.

A Royal Canoe Facebook post indicates Glacial is being produced in association with The Forks and Sputnik Architecture Inc.  The show production team will also include instrument designer Andy Rudolph, projectionist Stephanie Kuse, and sound technician, Elliot Filbert.

In an Instagram video, band member Matt Schellenberg indicates some of the inspiration for the show may have come from an experience the band had at the National Music Centre in Ottawa where they recorded an ‘icy’ version of one of their songs. Another band member Matt Peters says Royal Canoe will work on the unique project for the entire month of January. He describes it as  “another crazy thing that will challenge the band in exciting ways.”  

Our family posing outside the Burton Cummings Theatre before the release of Royal Canoe’s album Something Got Caught Between Here and the Orbit in 2016

I have seen Royal Canoe perform in many places and on many different kinds of stages, at the South by Southwest Music Festival in Texas, at the University of Manitoba, in front of a gigantic crowd at the Summer Games in Winnipeg, at the Centennial Concert Hall with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, at the Winnipeg Folk Festival, at venues in Toronto and New York, at the West End Cultural Centre, at the Burton Cummings Theatre, at the Regina Folk Festival and I could go on and on.  But I think Glacial will be something completely new when it comes to my Royal Canoe experiences. 

Royal Canoe performing at the Winnipeg Folk Festival.

And if for some reason you don’t get a chance to take in Glacial, which by the way is a free show, you can also catch Royal Canoe in another winter show in Winnipeg in February when they will be performing at the Festival du Voyageur. 

Full disclosure- my son Bucky Driedger is a member of Royal Canoe. 

Other posts…………

Waver- A New Album From Royal Canoe

A Fun Evening in Toronto

The Regina Folk Festival


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Filed under Music, Winnipeg

Come Healing

I really loved the film The Farewell which we watched at Cinemateque last week.  It is a moving story about a girl who travels from her home in New York to China to say good-bye to her grandmother who has been diagnosed with a terminal illness. The story is beautifully told in the film and although it is a sad one there are definitely some laugh-aloud moments as well.  The situation in the film is one that will resonate with many families.

I was particularly drawn to the music in The Farewell and wanted to know more about it so I  listened to a fascinating interview with composer Alex Weston who put together the score for the film. 

The musical piece in the film I particularly liked was a song written by  Leonard Cohen and Patrick Leonard called Come Healing.  The words were so meaningful and in the interview, Alex Weston explains that while the lyrics of the song fit beautifully with what is happening in one of the final scenes of the film, they thought Leonard Cohen’s very deep bass voice might not be the best fit for a story with a young female protagonist.  So they asked Elayna Boynton, an American indie-soul singer to record it. She does a perfect job.  You can hear her singing it here

I would definitely recommend seeing The Farewell, both for its plot and its soundtrack. I am including the lyrics for Come Healing a piece of poetry I think I could write a sermon about. 

Come Healing      by Leonard Cohen and Patrick Leonard
O gather up the brokenness
And bring it to me now
The fragrance of those promises
You never dared to vow
The splinters that you carry
The cross you left behind
Come healing of the body
Come healing of the mind
And let the heavens hear it
The penitential hymn
Come healing of the spirit
Come healing of the limb
Behold the gates of mercy
In arbitrary space
And none of us deserving
The cruelty or the grace
O solitude of longing
Where love has been confined
Come healing of the body
Come healing of the mind
O see the darkness yielding
That tore the light apart
Come healing of the reason
Come healing of the heart
O troubled dust concealing
An undivided love
The heart beneath is teaching
To the broken heart above
Let the heavens falter
Let the earth proclaim
Come healing of the altar
Come healing of the name
O longing of the branches
To lift the little bud
O longing of the arteries
To purify the blood
And let the heavens hear it
The penitential hymn
Come healing of the spirit
Come healing of the limb
O let the heavens hear it
The penitential hymn
Come healing of the spirit
Come healing of the limb

Other posts……….

That’s How Light Gets In – Hope From Leonard Cohen

Lessons From Leonard

Filial Piety

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Filed under Movies, Music

The Spirit of Solstice

Yesterday was the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year. 

 I first heard The Wyrd Sisters sing their  Solstice Carol at a Tom Jackson Huron Carol concert in the mid-1990s.  Tom Jackson is a well-known Canadian musician and actor. Every year in December he stages a series of concerts across the country to raise money for homeless and hungry people in Canada. The theme of the concerts is Defeating Hunger- Feeding the Soul. The Solstice Carol was a perfect fit for that theme.  It remains a favourite Christmas season song of mine. 

a fire is burning
the long night draws near
all who need comfort
are welcome by here
we’ll dance ‘neath the stars
and toast the past year
for the spirit of solstice
is still living here

we’ll count all our blessings
while the mother lays down
with snow as her blanket
covering the ground
thanks to the mother
for the life that she brings
she’ll waken to warm us
again in the spring

the poor and the hungry
the sick and the lost
these are our children
no matter the cost
come by the fire
the harvest to share
for the spirit of solstice
is still living here

People have been celebrating the winter solstice for thousands of years. It is believed the Roman emperor Constantine who began the celebration of Christ’s birth in 336 chose a December date because the Roman people were used to having a festive event at that time of the year.  

With my siblings around the Christmas tree- age 10

In Canada Christmas is a time when we celebrate the beauty of the winter world, get together with friends and family, and are inspired to give generously to people who need our help. All of those activities are beautifully expressed and encouraged in the lyrics of the Solstice Carol.  

To have the solstice spirit means being thankful for the beauty of creation, showing appreciation for the warmth of friends and family, and sharing that beauty and warmth with those who need it most. 

You can listen to the Solstice Carol here. 

Other posts………..

I Had a Moment

Christmas All Year Round

The Family of Jesus Portrayed in a Controversial Way

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She’s Two People

Bring a Torch Jeanette Isabella!  Every time I’ve heard the words of that traditional French carol I’ve assumed Jeanette Isabella was one person, she just has a two-part name, like my own.  

The CMU Women’s Chorus under the direction of  Janet Brenneman singing Un flambeau, Jeanette, Isabelle

I was listening to the Canadian Mennonite University Women’s Chorus sing Bring a Torch Jeannette Isabella  on Saturday afternoon at their Christmas concert and perhaps because it was a group of such talented women singing it I started thinking about how few Christmas carols are about female characters – think Good King Wensceles and God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen. Of course, there are the carols about Mary, but all the other characters in the nativity, Biblical or imagined in carols of the season are male- Jesus, Joseph, the little drummer boy.  Even the innkeeper, shepherds and the magi are usually sung about as males even though some of them may well have been women.  

How refreshing then to hear about Jeanette Isabella!  I wanted to know more this carol featuring a young girl. I discovered the song originated in the Provence area of France. A 1668 collection of carols by Nicolas Saboly a French composer, choirmaster and poet was the print debut of Bring A Torch Jeanette Isabella.   

I was excited to find this delightful illustration for the song by artist Ginger Opal.

According to every source I looked at Jeannette and Isabella are not one young woman, but two separate milkmaids, farmhands or shepherds at the time of Jesus birth. They discover the infant Jesus with his mother in a stable and rush to tell everyone in the nearby village to come and see him. When all the visitors crowd into the stable Jeannette and Isabella remind them to be quiet so the baby can sleep.  

Illustration of the Christmas Eve torch parade to mass in Provence on the cover of a 1963 illustrated version of Bring a Torch Jeannette Isabella by Adrienne Adams

Apparently, children in Provence still dress up as milkmaids/shepherds on Christmas Eve and walk to mass carrying torches and candles and singing about the two young girls Jeanette and Isabella. I’d love to see and hear that. 

Other posts………

A Christmas Carol Saved Our Lives

Christmas Carol Inspiration

And Mary You’ve Seen Hard Times

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Filed under Holidays, Music


I don’t want less, I want more
More stars, more sun
More truth, more love
More kisses, more spring
I just want more of everything

My brother introduced me to the song More by Lynne Miles.  It really resonated with me.  In her spoken introduction to the song, Lynne talks about how as people get older they tend to turn more inward and become more isolated.  She says she wants to do just the opposite.  As she ages, she wants to reach out to other people, to have new experiences, to appreciate deeply all that life has to offer.  

Lynne Miles

Often as we get older some of our time is freed up from family and work responsibilities and so we actually do have the opportunity to examine things more closely, to look at things more deeply, to experience things more intensely.  Lynne puts it this way. 

The sky’s not blue, it’s indigo
That’s not a tree, it’s a willow
I’m not crying, I’m deep
I don’t cry, I weep

To me Lynne is suggesting that growing older doesn’t mean getting more complacent, becoming less involved, being more cautious or fearful. I know I am realizing that it is actually easier to take risks as I age because I have already had a great life and I am not worried about it ending.  I’m realizing as I grow older there aren’t necessarily as many ramifications for expressing my opinions freely, exploring new ideas openly, facing some real truths about myself and my relationships, or trying things that aren’t exactly safe. Lynne says……..

I want the whole bottle, not just a shot
Don’t want a little, I want a lot
I don’t want rain, I want a downpour
I don’t want less, I want more
I don’t want the evening, I want midnight
Don’t want to argue, I want to fight
Don’t show me the outside of my heart, I wanna see the core

I don’t want less, I want more
More stars, more sun
More truth, more love
More kisses, more spring
I just want more of everything

Listen to Lynne singing More here.

Other posts………..

Growing Old Is Not For Cowards

What Will You Be Building When You Have To Go?

Should We Get Tatoos Or Go Skydiving?

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Filed under Music, Retirement

I Don’t Want to Outlive the Trees

On Sunday afternoon I went to hear the boys choir my daughter-in-law conducts perform in a concert called Autumn Kaleidoscope. One of the pieces they sang was The Sun is Mine by Laura Hawley.  The words come from a poem by Robert Hogg and Robert Priest.  It is a lovely piece of poetry but it has a sad message.  Children are acknowledging their worry that the trees of the forest may die before they do. They are hoping the trees will go on for generations but they aren’t sure they will.  They sing, “I don’t want to outlive the trees.”

The song reminded me that in the last few weeks it has been teenagers and children who have been protesting and demanding our attention about the need for climate change in the world. We need to listen to their voices.

The Sun is Mine by Robert Hogg and Robert Priest

The sun is mine
and the trees are mine
the light breeze is mine
and the birds that inhabit the air are mine
their voices on the wind are in my ear
I am young and I want to live to be old
and I don’t want to outlive these trees – this forest

When my last song is gone
I want these same trees to be singing on – newer green songs
for generations to come
So let me be old, grow to be ancient
to come as an elder before these same temple-green sentinels
with my aged limbs
and still, know a wonder
that will outlast me.

Other posts………..

The Religion of Trees


Imitating Emily

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Filed under Music, Nature

A Good Night At the Movies

It was quirky, funny, charming, a tad suspenseful and I thoroughly enjoyed the music. We saw the movie Yesterday on Sunday night with long-time friends. The premise of the movie is that during a 12-second worldwide power outage certain things are erased from the global memory including Harry Potter, cigarettes, Coke and………. The Beatles.

The movie’s hero is a struggling British singer/songwriter named Jack Malik whose music career is being managed by Ellie a school teacher who is his loyal and lovely best friend from childhood. Jack is hit by a bus during the global blackout and survives. He seems to be the only person in the world who remembers The Beatles. He uses their now unknown songs to become an international music star.

Lily James plays Ellie and Himesh Patel plays Jack in the movie

Yes, the whole thing is completely unrealistic but that didn’t stop me from being charmed by the love story at the film’s heart. I laughed out loud in lots of places especially during a scene where Jack is trying to sing Paul McCartney’s and John Lennon’s song Yesterday to his mother and father. I felt a strange affection for Jack’s down to earth parents and decidedly eccentric friends. I was a little on edge waiting to find out what would happen when Jack discovers a pair of music lovers who also remember The Beatles.  Will they blackmail him or expose him as a fraud? I loved hearing all the covers of well-known Beatles tunes.  My very favorite is when our hero sings Obladi Oblada with an auditorium full of kids.

Maybe I was just in the right mood, or with the right company, or the weather was right( it had been a balmy beautiful day) or it was the right occasion(we were celebrating our friends’ wedding anniversary) but whatever it was I had a delightful couple of entertaining hours in the theatre watching Yesterday. 

I looked later and although 40% of critics have panned the film 90% of viewers enjoyed it thoroughly just like I did.

Other posts……….

Crossing Abbey Road

The Fab Four Learning More

Words of Wisdom on a Wine Bottle

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