CC 2014 #2 A Musical Postcard from Newfoundland
Sushil K Dade
Producer, Commonwealth Connections
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Producing this feature has been an immense JOY and researching the music of the fascinating island of Newfoundland has been a truly illuminating experience for me. It's amazing to learn of how strong an impact Scottish, French and Irish music have had on the traditional music of Newfoundland and how their lasting influence can still be heard today.
I initially made contact with some musical friends, both Canadians, drummer Mattie Foulds and singer songwriter Michael Johnson in the hope of finding some leads and bizarrely enough it wasn't long before I found out that Mattie's mum is Artist Director of Canada's Celtic Colours Festival. Joella Foulds tipped me off and passed on contacts for some of Newfoundland's key players and my journey was now well underway. Working in different time zones had its challenges and after many attempts at trying to reach singer and collector of Newfoundland songs Jean Hewson (photographed above), I finally heard her warm tones at the end of my telephone line. She told me excitedly about a weekly jam session that she and friends participate in every Tuesday at a former hardware store and gathering place for the community, the kind of place that would parcel things up in sheets of brown paper and string.
Outside The Rocket coffee house
Special thanks of gratitude go out to Glen Tilley and Terry Windsor from CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) for assisting in the recording of the music which I am deeply grateful. I hope you enjoy the life affirming sounds, energy and passion from all the musicians involved, sent from St. Johns with love.
Commonwealth Connections is broadcast on BBC Radio 3 as part of World On 3 (Friday 11pm-1am) the series runs until the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in July.
Frank Maher and Jean Hewson
inside The Rocket coffee house