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The Jannies were here…

Growing up we always referred to concept of mummering as jannying. I am not sure how it came about that we adopted the term “Mummer”. It may have had something to do with Simini’s iconic tune, “The Mummer’s Song” produced in 1984. It became a mega-hit and helped revive a dying tradition. One can hear the tune and watch a video of mummering that has more than 200,000 views.

Musicians and local artists have significant influence on popular culture and the way in which communities consume culture and local lore. Although the tradition of mummering is not as vibrant as it once was, I think it is one of those traditions that is here to stay in rural Newfoundland & Labrador, especially on the Great Northern Peninsula.

This Christmas we saw the jannies going around visiting at Christmas night! I have also seen multiple postings on Facebook highlighting janny visits, videos of people stepping ‘er down and enjoying the tradition. We have the opportunity to utilize the social media to share and encourage more active participation in a tradition that was once common for all ruralites to do during the holidays.

The jannies were here last night…

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If you are interested in jannying this Christmas, there is still time! Tonight marks a couple of mummer’s dances at Thirsty’s Lounge and Flower’s Cove Lion’s Centre. As well, there are still two nights left to Christmas – so get your bed sheets, rubber boots and pillow cases ready! Keep up the tradition right up to Old Christmas Night.

Live Rural NL –

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Coca Cola Much Covers – Profiles Rural Newfoundland’s Travis Sheppard

Rural Newfoundland & Labrador has talent. I stand by this statement, which I had written in July 2010 after attending the Big Droke Idol as part of the annual Big Droke Heritage Festival. There was a diverse range of talent – with some very young vocalists singing to background music, to more veteran singers using the squeezebox and those that needed no music but their own. It was quite the night and array of talent.

Just moments ago, my friend messages me on Facebook with the following message:

http://covers.muchmusic.com/index.php/profile/view/3551/5
Watch my Much Music video by following the above link. Copy the link to your facebook page so all your friends can watch too…..
 
This truly is a great way to self-market. Have your friends be Champions for you and promote the product or service you are selling. Any small business person or self-employed individual could learn something from this artist that has talent.
 
In 2005, I was able to first meet Travis Sheppard. He already had a Demo CD produced. I purchased a copy and was greatly impressed. The lyrics of his songs, that were self-written, were very powerful. You could tell that they were fueled by emotion. Travis is entrepreneurial and played several gigs throughout the summer locally. He has been pursuing a post-secondary education at Memorial University and has been performing and can be found signing a number of covers at www.youtube.com.

Make sure you rate the video and share on the social networks.

If you have talent, join the competition. Release Your Inner Superstar!

Live Rural NL –

Christopher Mitchelmore

The Roving Newfoundlanders

Newfoundlanders & Labradorian’s continue to roam the world, passing on talents, exploring and making history. I’ve been reading Old-Time Songs and Poetry of Newfoundland: Songs of the People from the Days of our Forefathers. Compiler and Publisher, Gerald S. Doyle (1892-1956) was one of Newfoundland’s most successful businessman, establishing a province-wide pharmaceutical and home products business. Additionally, he had a passion for preserving culture. His newspaper, “The Family Fireside” was provincially distributed, provided good advice and noted first-hand accounts about the social and economic conditions of rural communities, as well as promoted his products. He certainly was a very savvy businessman. He has done us all a remarkable service through his publications. We now have preserved in time these songbooks for us to enjoy, reflect and compare with current Newfoundland folk songs.

Newfoundlanders  are known for being musical and having our own unique folk songs. Today, I will share with you “The Roving Newfoundlanders” taken from Ballads and Sea Songs of Newfoundland

The Roving Newfoundlander

  • As I was setting in my homestead on day
  •          while all alone,
  • I was thinking of my countrymen and
  •         where they had to roam,
  • From England to America, Australia and
  •        Japan
  • Where’er you go you’ll surely find a man
  •        from Newfoundland.
  • They’re the pride of every country, good
  •        fortune on the smile!
  • They climbed the heights of Alma, and
  •        crossed the river Nile,
  • They sailed unto Vancouver, you’ll find it on
  •        the roll,
  • And on the expedition went nearest to
  •       the Pole.
  •  
  • It’s way out in South Africa where hogs
  •       they stand so high,
  • They used their guns and bayonets the
  •       Boers for to destroy,
  • Where cannons roar like thunder
  •       destructions on the plain
  • You sons of Terra Nova, you fought for
  •       England’s fame.
  •  
  • ‘was Nelson at Trafalgar the victory
  •        did gain,
  • The Americans fought the Spaniards for
  •        blowing up the Maine;
  • She sunk with all of her gallent crew,
  •       that gay and gallant band,
  • They’re sleeping in their watery graves like
  •       sons of Newfoundland.
  •  
  • When my mind been bent on roaming, ’tis
  •       something sad to tell
  • Out in the mines of Cuba one of my
  •      comrades fell.
  • His age had scarce been twenty-one, just
  •      entered in full bloom,
  • On the eighteenth day of June was
  •      summoned to his tomb.
  •  
  • They sailed the Mediterranean, I’ve heard
  •       the clergy tell,
  • They went out into Egypt, from that to
  •       Jacob’s Well,
  • They’ve fished the Northern and Grand
  •       Banks from every hole and knap,
  • They are the tyrants of the sea, they
  •       fished the Flemish Cap.
  •  
  • And now my song is ended, I think I have
  •       done well,
  • My birthplace and my station I’m trying
  •      for to tell.
  • I’ve spoken of every nation, I’ve freely won
  •      my race,
  • I am a Newfoundlander belongs to
  •      Harbour Grace.

My grandfather at 80 years, passed away this June. He had a remarkable memory and ability to rhyme off anecdotes, jokes, stories, poems and other lines from days gone by. I only wish we had greater written accounts of all his knowledge and tales. He is sadly missed. So take time and write down that traditional song, story or event, it can help us preserve our Newfoundland & Labrador culture as  we continue to advance in society. In the early 1900’s we may have been required to own a newspaper company to reach the mass of a province; however, today we have social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Blogs and others to reach the world.

Live Rural Newfoundland –

CCM

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