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Category Archives: Performances

Ah, the Brothers in Law …

 

The Brothers-in-Law was a Canadian satirical musical group active in the 1960s and early 1970s, recording many popular record albums and creating the occasional controversy.

The group was born in 1963 by four police officers in Windsor, Ontario (hence the name Brothers-in-Law). The group’s collection consisted of musical satire making fun at the Canadian government, the law, and buyer issues. They performed and recorded a mix of original songs and adaptations of folk and stage tunes.

The band’s most popular recording was the album Oh! Oh! Canada, which was released in 1965, which sold between 100,000 and 275,000 copies (sources differ as to the exact number). The album’s best-known songs included “Rally Around the New Flag“, which lampooned the extensive political discussions over the “Maple Leaf” national flag design.

The band recorded five albums of songs and a number of singles in Canada. They also recorded an album for release in the United States which included a new rendition of “The Pill” and “Canada-U.S.A.”, a song about Canadian-American similarities and the long-standing debate over whether Canada should become the 51st state.

The original members of the band included songwriter Alec Somerville on banjo, Howard Duffy on the guitar, Larry Reaume on the guitar, and Ken Clarke on bass. In 1965, Clarke left the band and replaced by schoolteacher Bob Lee. But a year later when Duffy left the band in 1966, he was not replaced. The group members maintained their regular jobs, treating their musical career as a sideline and only giving intermittent concerts.

The group officially disbanded in the early 1970s, but in the early 1980s, a compilation album named, Oh! Oh! Canada, Eh? was released. (The appending of the phrase “Eh?” to the title suggests its release was inspired by the success of Bob and Doug MacKenzie.).

In 2008, the Quebec-based label Unidisc reissued most of the group’s albums over a three-volume CD series. Volume 1 collected Oh! Oh! Canada and Strike AgainVolume 2 featured Expose ’67 and Onward the Establishment, while Volume 3 presented The Pill and the previously never released recordings featured in the 1980s compilation Oh! Oh! Canada, Eh?

 

Discography

  • Oh! Oh! Canada (1965)
  • The Brothers-in-Law Strike Again (1966)
  • Expose ’67 (1967)
  • Expose ’67 Plus (1967) – same album as above, with extra tracks
  • The Pill (US release; year unknown, c.1967)
  • Onward the Establishment (1969)
  • Oh! Oh! Canada, Eh? (early 1980s compilation)
  • The Brothers in Law (2008) – three-volume CD series collecting most of the group’s albums
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♫ They Did It Their Way! ♫

Canadian music. It’s actually interesting.  Here are just a few highlights:

Canadian Pop Music Highlights

  • “American Woman” by the Guess Who (based in Winnipeg, Manitoba) hit the top of the Billboard Hot 100 list for three weeks in May 1970.
  • Musician Burton Cummings was born on December 31, 1947 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He was a member of The Guess Who and was the first Canadian to have a quadruple platinum-selling album in the U.S. for his 1978 album Dream Of A Child.
  • Bryan Adams, Singer/songwriter, was born in Kingston, Ontario on November 5,1959.  He was the first Canadian musician to sell one million alburms in Canada with his 1984 album Reckless.
  • Anne Murray was born in Springhill, Nova Scotia on June 20, 1945.  She was the first solo Canadian female artist to be awarded an American Gold album (500,000 sales) in 1970 with her second album This Way Is My Way.  It featured the well-known hit “Snowbird.”
  • Shania Twain, Canadian country music star, was born Windsor, Ontario on August 28, 1965.  Her second album (1995) The Woman in Me, holds the record for most weeks at Number One on Billboards’s country album chart.  It resided there for 29 weeks at the top and has sold more than 7.7 million copies.
  • Alanis Morissette, musician, was born in Ottawa on June 1, 1974.  She still holds the record for the best-selling American début for a female solo artist, for her 1995 album Jagged Little Pill.  The album won four Grammys and has sold more than 33 Million copies.
  • The band April Wine (from Halifax, Nova Scotia) became the first Canadian group to make a Platinum album (100,000 sales) in Canada just for advance sales, for The Whole World’s Goin’ Crazy which was released in September 1976.  They also hold the record as the first tour to gross $1 million.
  • Céline Dion was born on March 30, 1968, in Charlemagne, Quebec.  She was the first Canadian to receive a Gold Record in France.  She did this in 1983 at just 15 years old.
  • Justin Bieber was born in Stratford, Ontario, on March 1, 1994.  He is the first Canadian musician with five Number One albums on the Billboard 200 chart before turning 19 years old.  He achieved this for his  album My World 2.0 (2010),  Under the Mistletoe (2011), The Remixes (2011), Believe (2012), Believe Acoustic album (2013).

I hope you enjoyed the post.  Who are your favourite Canadian musicians?

 

 

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I Am Canadian … more than beer!

I’ve recently come across the Molson’s “I Am Canadian” printed ad.  Such genius advertising!  So for those who aren’t familiar with what I’m talking about, here it is; oh, and if you do know what I’m talking about, I’m sure you’ll enjoy this!

Lyrics to Molson's I Am Canadian

Molson’s I Am Canadian

It was an extremely popular ad campaign centred on Canadian nationalism, the most famous examples of which are “The Rant” and “The Anthem”, and then there was Canadian William Shatner’s version.

In March 2000, using nationalism as a platform, the ad starred a man named Joe: an “average Canadian”, standing in a movie theatre, with a cinema screen behind him showing different images relating to Canadian culture. Joe proceeds to give a speech about what is it to be a Canadian and what it is not to be a Canadian.  It was performed by Canadian actor Jeff Douglas and directed by an American, Kevin Donovan, but written by a Canadian, Glen Hunt.  Interestingly, this commercial premiered during the Academy Awards, which, in that year, included Robin Williams singing the song “Blame Canada”, a satirical song from the movie South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut.   The commercial won an advertising industry Gold Quill award in 2001.

The first one is Joe’s “I Am Canadian” on Vinko’s YouTube channel, who has quite a collection of ads:

The second is William Shatner’s “I Am Canadian” on BuryMeInGames’s YouTube channel:

The third and last one is Molson’s “Canadian Anthem” on cymbaline’s YouTube channel:

I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s post!

 

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Ride the Lobster!

Have you ever heard of the Ride the Lobster race? No matter what you envision, it’s not even close .

Ride the Lobster was the world’s longest unicycle race. This was an 800 kilometre international relay race around the roads of Nova Scotia. It was first conceived by Edward Wedler. He gave the race its unusual name because he thought the roadways around Nova Scotia resembled a lobster.

The five-day race had five stages, composed of four legs winding around the province of about 200 km each and one day of time trials. The first stage was from Yarmouth to Annapolis Royal. The second stage went to St. Margarets. The third stage was composed of two-time trials, Hubbards in the morning and Truro in the early evening. The fourth stage was from Truro to Antigonish. The final stage went from Port Hawkesbury to Baddeck. The event co-ordinator, Heather LeBlanc, intentionally made early stages easier for the contestants and the final stretch difficult.

Originally the race was meant to be held annually. After the first race in 2008, the organizers have not arranged subsequent races. I’m sorry to say I don’t know why.

Each team was composed of four people—three riders and one support person. The support person was not allowed to ride. The three riders took turns completing the distance of the race. The rider was not to be switched over for the first 10 kilometres of each race day. After that, the team had full discretion about how often they want to switch riders.

In 2008, the inaugural race began on June 16, with 104 riders (124 had qualified) on 35 teams from fourteen countries.

The race concluded in Cape Breton with contestants reaching the finish line between 5–7 pm on June 20. The winning team was awarded $5,000 in cash and prizes.

You can watch some of the event in these two YouTube videos. It’s pretty awesome!

1st place: Germany (Jan Logemann, Johannes Helck, Arne Tilgen, Holger Summer) in 36:17:47
2nd place: New Zealand (William Sklenars, Ken Looi, Tony Melton and Véronique Grégoire) in 36:35:46
3rd place: U.S. (Kevin Chang, Corbin Dunn, A.J. Greig and Sondra Grisham) in 37:17:18
4th place: U.S. and Canada (Roland Kays, Vincent Lemay, Steve Relles and David Kays) in 37:29:38
5th place: Australia, U.S. and U.K. (Geoffrey Huntley, Chuck Edwall, Sam Wakeling and Jonathan Marshall) in 37:52:05

To read more details about this, I highly recommend visiting The Cape Breton Post.

 

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Why Canadian History is NOT Boring

Here is a [somewhat] short video from TED Talks about “Why Canadian history isn’t as boring as you think it is,” by Chris Turner.  Hope you all enjoy it!

 

 

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Happy Canada Day!

canadian crowd Last year, I wrote a post about Canada Day, and you can see it HERE.

Canada Day on July 1, and the U.S. Independence Day on July 4 bring Canadians and Americans together to celebrate.  For example, Detroit, Michigan, and Windsor, Ontario, have, since the 1950s, celebrated both Dominion or Canada Day and the United States’ Independence Day with the International Freedom Festival; a massive fireworks display over the Detroit River, the strait separating the two cities, is held annually with hundreds of thousands of spectators attending. A similar event occurs at the Friendship Festival, a joint celebration between Fort Erie, Ontario, and neighbouring Buffalo, New York, and towns and villages throughout Maine, New Brunswick, and Quebec come together to celebrate both anniversaries together.

This year, I’d like to talk a little about Canadian expatriates.  While Canada is celebrating this big day, so are Canadians around the globe!

In Hong Kong, the celebrations are called “Canada De’h” and about 12,000 people attend every year on June 30 at Lan Kwai Fong.

Since 2006, annual Canada Day celebrations have been held at Trafalgar Square—the location of Canada House—in London, England; originally initiated by the Canadian community, endorsed by the Canadian High Commission, and now produced by Canada Day International, the event features Canadian performers, visual artists, a street hockey tournament, among other activities.

In 2013, Canada Day International expanded to New York City with a similar program of food, music, and street hockey in Central Park. They also announced that they planned to expand to more cities before Canada’s sesquicentennial in 2017. They are currently exploring expanding to cities such as; Hong Kong, Mumbai, Paris and Rio de Janeiro among others.

In Afghanistan, members of the Canadian Forces mark the holiday at their base.  And in Mexico, at the Royal Canadian Legion in Chapala, and at the Canadian Club in Ajijic. In Shanghai, China, Canada Day celebrations are held by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai at the Bund Beach.

Our government has created a Canada Day page, and it’s a good page. There’s even a link there from CBC that allows you to watch the celebrations from the capital live!

The Creation of Canada Day
July 1, 1867: The British North America Act (today known as the Constitution Act, 1867) created Canada.

June 20, 1868: Governor General Lord Monck signs a proclamation that requests all Her Majesty’s subjects across Canada to celebrate July 1.

1879: A federal law makes July 1 a statutory holiday as the “anniversary of Confederation,” which is later called “Dominion Day.”

October 27, 1982: July 1, “Dominion Day” officially becomes Canada Day.

 

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O Canada

canadian crowd   The original French lyrics of “O Canada” were written by Sir Adolphe-Basile Routhier, to music composed by Calixa Lavallée, as a French Canadian patriotic song for the Saint-Jean-Baptiste Society and first performed on June 24, 1880, at a Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day banquet in Quebec City.

Lyrics:

English:
O Canada!
Our home and native land!
True patriot love in all thy sons command.
With glowing hearts we see thee rise,
The True North strong and free!
From far and wide,
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
God keep our land glorious and free!
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
To hear the English version from 1925, click HERE

French:
Ô Canada!
Terre de nos aïeux,
Ton front est ceint de fleurons glorieux!
Car ton bras sait porter l’épée,
Il sait porter la croix!
Ton histoire est une épopée
Des plus brillants exploits.
Et ta valeur, de foi trempée,
Protégera nos foyers et nos droits.
Protégera nos foyers et nos droits.
To hear the French version from 1918, click HERE

In the Throne Speech delivered by Governor General Michaëlle Jean on March 3, 2010, a plan to have parliament review the “original gender-neutral wording of the national anthem” was announced. However, three-quarters of Canadians polled after the speech objected to the proposal and, two days later, the prime minister’s office announced that the Cabinet had decided not to restore the original lyrics.

To find more information,  I suggest Anthems and nationalistic songs of Canada, and List of national anthems.

 

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