Canadian Music and the World

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Canadian Maritimes

The Canadian Maritimes is another geographic region of Canada with a unique musical culture. The Maritimes usually refers to the Eastern provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island.

Most commonly associated with the Maritimes is Celtic influenced fiddle-based music. This is due to the mass immigration from Scotland and Ireland earlier in the century and before. These new Canadians brought their musical traditions with them, as well as strong regional dialects and accents.

Especially associated with this area are "kitchen parties." Members of the family (which are usually quite large in number) as well as neighbors and friends gather in the kitchen of a particular home, and bring their instruments with them. The music emanating from the fiddles, penny whistles, and accordions can keep going into the wee hours.

Not surprisingly, most of the artists from the Maritimes are known for their Celtic sounds. Fiddlers Natalie MacMaster and Ashley MacIsaac in particular have reputations that got beyond the borders of that region, MacIsaac especially for his contemporary improvisations and flaunting of his unusual lifestyle.

Great Big Sea is a band whose own Web site plays upon the kitchen party theme. This band is energetic, and appeals to fans of rock, country, and folk alike. On a Celtic sampler album, Fire in the Kitchen, Great Big Sea recorded a track with the legendary Chieftans.

The most popular band to emerge from the Maritimes is arguable the defunct Rankins, formerly known as the Rankin Family. This group of five brothers and sisters created delicate harmonies and displayed a great deal of musicianship.

Another family act is Leahy. Although they actually hail from Lakefield, Ontario, on their mother's side they have roots on Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. Each member is an expert musician as well as dancer. Their stage show features non-stop movement.

Although she is usually identified with British Columbia all the way on the West coast of Canada, where she has lived for quite a while, superstar and Lilith Fair founder Sarah McLachlan is from Halifax.

Obviously, Canadian Music, in all its various forms, has influenced the world of music way beyond its borders.

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