Friday, August 23, 2013

Treasures we Choose to Pass On

I write a lot about what we pass on to our children, because I think it's one of the most important things in the world. It's how evolution happens. So I want to be careful about what I choose to pass on.

Tali and Rhiannon using their instruments at our campsite.

I am trying to pass on my love of traditional folk music. Folk music = people-music. And I'm trying to pass of my love of the people I share it with. This is one of the gifts my mother gave me.

My lovely Mama, Lyn van Lidth de Jeude
We have some wonderful friends, Jon and Rika, who are magnets for BC's traditional folk scene... and no wonder, since they've dedicated their lives to collecting, preserving, and promoting BC's, North America's, Britain's, and some of Europe's traditional music. Wherever they go they seem to create a folk festival, and it's pretty much guaranteed to be mostly attended by musicians -- many of whom travel great distances to participate -- as well as to be a good kernel of raw traditional music in a field that is now very much populated with pop music. They are in many ways the heartbeat of this music genre in our corner of the earth.

Jon Bartlett and Rika Ruebsaat

So these days they're living in Princeton, BC, and that's why we go there every summer for the now 6-year-old Princeton Traditional Music Festival.

Dancing in the evening with

-- which happens to include our dear friend Morgan Bartlett on euphonium!

My Mum and brother and I like to perform there. We watch all kinds of fabulous performances, we hang out at Jon and Rika's house making and enjoying music and good company late into the night(s), and most of all, we find the old friends who have been such an important, though infrequent, part of our lives. These friends aren't the people we have over for tea or family celebrations; in fact we nearly never see them except at folk events. But there is something in the sharing of this music that connects us.

Barry Hall
One of those people is Barry.
Once, when I was a teenager, I saw a long-haired man walk into the room at the Vancouver Folk Song Society's annual retreat, and felt as if I'd known him all my life, despite having no recollection of him. He played amazingly beautiful blues guitar, that day, and eventually I had to ask my Mum who this man was. I was sure I knew all my uncles, but really -- could I have forgotten one?
She laughed. That's Barry! He and I used to sing together when you were a baby and you spent a lot of time playing around our feet. Ah. So he is family. Musical family. Barry Hall turns out to be a hugely respected musician (this took me a while to realize, as a teen), who is credited by some with inspiring a generation of banjo players, after his record, The Virtuoso 5-String Banjo came out in the 60's. But more importantly to me, he is one of the kindest people I have ever known, and I guess such people never leave my heart!

This year I was delighted to discover that Barry was coming to Princeton. I hadn't seen him in many years, and it was a wonderful thing to be able to introduce him to my husband and children. He allowed me to film some of the pieces he played, for this blog post.



  1. thanks Emily it was great to hear Barry play and sing

  2. hey Barry - lonnng time since Bill Lewis...


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