Tag Archives: music

Fifty Years of French Protest Songs

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Alban Bargain-Villéger It all happened sometime in late March 2003, during the first days of the invasion of Iraq. My then-roommate and I were watching CNN’s coverage of the Battle of Nasiriyah in our Vancouver living-room, when my friend suddenly decided to break the silence that had been reigning for about fifteen minutes. “I’m telling you, dude, there’s going to… Read more »

The Rites of Dionysus: Live Performance, Pleasure, and The Tragically Hip

Paul David Aikenhead “Playing live is cool because it’s two hours of twenty-four that I can think about nothing,” Gordon Downie revealed in an interview from June 1991, with his signature rasp. “I have no worries, no insecurities; everything flows. It’s therapeutic every day to jump through that hatch in the roof and howl at the moon.”[1] For the lead… Read more »

History Slam Episode Seventy-One: Race, Gender, and Rap

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http://activehistory.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Francesca-DAmico.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | DownloadBy Sean Graham When teaching courses on the history of popular culture, one of my favourite exercises is to play a song and then ask the class what the song is about. With certain songs, students come up with answers pretty quickly, while in other cases, it takes a little more prodding. In all… Read more »

A Fish Box and a Folk Festival

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By David Frank I keep my camping gear in an old wooden box that sits neatly in the back of my car. Nothing unusual about that. But when I packed up to go Canso for the Stan Rogers Folk Festival this summer, I realized this would be a kind of homecoming — for the box. Let me explain. The box… Read more »

“We Meant War Not Murder”: A Punk Rock History of Klatsassin and the Tsilhqot’in War of 1864

By Sean Carleton Vancouver punk band The Rebel Spell are touring across Canada this fall to promote their new record, Last Run. Released in late September, Last Run showcases the band’s song-writing skills and passion for social justice. What is most interesting for ActiveHistory.ca readers, however, is the fact that The Rebel Spell have included a song on their album… Read more »

How Cuban Music Made Me a Better Historian

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By Karen Dubinsky “If you want to learn anything about the history of this country, you have to start listening to Carlos Varela.” This advice, offered by a colleague who was helping me make my way through a Cuban film archive a decade ago, proved remarkably true. I arrived in Havana in 2004 to research child migration conflicts. But what… Read more »

Concert tonight: “What is Toronto?”

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How might historical themes be translated into musical composition? A group of musicians will engage with this question tonight as part of “What is Toronto?” This concert will explore the iconic events, places, and unique qualities that define perceptions of Canada’s largest city, both past and present. The event is organized by Spectrum, a group of Canadian composers who create… Read more »

“A Proud Canadian” or a Canadian too proud? Understanding Stompin’ Tom’s nationalism

By Kaitlin Wainwright Last Wednesday, Canada lost its “national troubadour”, an “icon”, and “one of [its] most prolific and well-known country and folk singers”; a man who ranked 13th in CBC’s The Greatest Canadian list. Stompin’ Tom Connors is credited with writing three hundred songs, many of which are loudly and proudly Canadian. Upon his death, online tributes poured in… Read more »

History Slam Episode Thirteen: Musician Del Barber

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http://activehistory.ca/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Del-Barber-Final-Edit.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | DownloadLast Saturday night in Ottawa, a young musician took the stage at the National Arts Centre and sang about a dream he had had. The dream was interesting because all his favourite historical figures – from Friedrich Nietzsche and Jean-Jacques Rousseau to Bob Dylan and Woody Guthrie – had shown up for a party… Read more »

Was the Past a Happy Place?

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By Ian Milligan Was the past a happy place? Could we take a large array of information and learn whether there was an emotional content to it? I’ve been increasingly curious about how we can apply a host of tools that data miners are using on contemporary information to large repositories of historical information: could we learn something new from… Read more »