I’ll take “Canadian music” for $500, Alex. Icons and lyrics

How to get familiar with the language that Canadians really use day-to-day? In this series "Canadian English: Quirky, eh?", we take listeners on a romp across Canada making small talk, recognizing signature foods, and navigating head-scratching grammar rules and colloquial expressions. We’ll have you sounding like a Canadian in no time!

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I’ll take “Canadian music” for $500, Alex

Hello! Bonjour! Oi! Welcome, and thanks for tuning in to a new episode of our series Canadian English, Quirky, eh?  Let´s poke some fun – and hopefully a lit bit of learning along the way – about some of the quirkier aspects of the English language. In particular, Canadian English.

Today’s podcast is all about a subject near and dear to our Canadian hearts: music. 

  • From the log-rolling tunes of the northern lumberjacks to the coureurs de bois and French Canadian chansonniers…
  • From La Bolduc, the Gaspé songstress who captured hearts around the world during the dirty thirties to international superstar Celine Dion packing them in every night in Vegas…
  • From the Western icons Joni Mitchell and kd lang to the Super Bowl headliner The Weeknd
  • From teenage heartthrob Paul Anka of the 60’s (still playing to sold-out crowds in Vegas) to Justin Bieber, today’s teenage heartthrob…

We love our music and so does the world!

My name is Larry and today’s installment is presented in the form of  a contest. Hence the title: I’ll take “Canadian Music” for $500, Alex, a shout-out to the late Alex Trebek, Canadian Hall-of-Fame host of America’s Favourite Game Show, Jeopardy. 

It would be just wrong to discuss Canadian music without mentioning the above artists along with superstars Leonard Cohen, Bryan Adams, The Guess Who, Rush, Anne Murray, Alessia Cara and Drake. This list goes on and on, but we have to draw the line somewhere!

So today’s challenge zeroes in on those songs that name Canada or a Canadian city or landmark in the title or lyrics. How many do you know? We came up with ten and would love to hear about any we have overlooked.

  1. Oh Canada

This one’s a gimme. Everybody gets a point for the National Anthem composed by Calixa Lavallée. But you get an extra point if you can sing the new lyrics replacing “all thy sons command”. This discussion has been causing a real Canadian kerfuffle for decades and was finally changed to a gender-neutral version in 2018. 

  1. Farewell to Nova Scotia 

A Maritime folkloric tribute to the ‘sea bound coast’ of the province of Nova Scotia.

  1. Canadian Railroad Trilogy

Our beloved troubadour Gordon Lightfoot tells the story of the trials and tribulations of building the cross-country railroad.

  1. The Wreck of the Edmond Fitzgerald

“The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down of the big lake they called Gitchee Gumee.” This is another classic saga from the great Gordon Lightfoot.

  1. Bobcaygeon

A more recent song from another Gord, Gord Downie and the Tragically Hip. He sings about a Toronto police officer who de-stresses by spending his off-time in the immensely popular cottage-country party town:

“It was in Bobcaygeon, I saw the constellations
Reveal themselves one star at a time.”

  1. Alberta Bound

This homage to his home province is from Paul Brandt, an award-winning country music artist who became popular in the 90s.

  1. Un canadien errant

Pure classic love song to Canada sung by a rebel banished from his country. “The Wandering Canadian” has been covered by many artists over the years, but was written in 1842 by Antoine Gérin-Lajoie after the Lower Canada Rebellion of 1837–38. Some of the rebels were condemned to death, others forced into exile. A very sad time.

  1. I Just Wanna Stop 

Gino Vannelli wrote and sang this hit in 1978. It sold millions of records and still brings concert-goers to their feet with the opening line: “When I think about those nights in Montreal…”

  1. The Hockey Song

Every hockey playing nation on the globe would like to lay claim to the “Good ol’ Hockey Game”. And they might get away with it, right up until Stompin’ Tom Connors yells near the end “Henderson scores for Canada!!!” That’s where the anthem’s ownership is made official. 

  1. Hockey Night Theme

Technically, this piece of music has no lyrics (that I know of) but it will always signal the beginning of Hockey Night in Canada even though it has since changed. So it does not really meet the criteria for this contest but… my game, my rules.

So how did you score? If you have other titles to add to our list, let us know at waveplus.ca. 

We hope you enjoyed  today´s  episode. Please take a moment to give us your feedback and like us with the big fans up. Fill free to play it again and share it with friends and family. 

You have been listening to Canadian English, Quirky, eh? The podcast series produced by Brazilian Wave Canada. This project was made possible through the generous support of the Canadian Periodical Fund. If you want to subscribe to the series and have access to the exclusive episodes, please sign in at waveplus.ca.

Until then,

Catch you later!

Adieu!

Tchau!

Stay healthy!

Glossary

Gimme: Short form of give me. (https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/gimme?q=Gimme)

Kerfuffle: Noise, excitement, disturbance. (https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/kerfuffle)

Lumberjack: A person whose job is to cut down trees that will be used for building, etc. or to transport trees that have been cut down. (https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/lumberjack?q=Lumberjacks)

Saga: A long complicated series of related, usually negative, events. (https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/saga?q=Saga)

Troubadour: A male poet and singer who traveled around southern France and northern Italy between the 11th and 13th centuries entertaining rich people. (https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/troubadour?q=Troubadour)

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Podcast – Canadian English: Quirky, eh?

Produced by BRZ Group Inc., Canada, 2021

  • Director: Christian Pedersen
  • Production Coordinator: Ana Carolina Botelho
  • Scriptwriter: Lauri Richardson
  • Voices: Eric Major and Lauri Richardson
  • Vignettes: Robson DJ Estudio 
  • Website Production & Marketing: Creative Team
  • Project Management: Teresa Botelho