Singers and Songwriters

Newfoundlanders have always been topical in their songwriting, fashioning lyrics to reflect their lives and their communities, celebrating heroes, villains and characters and recording events from the epic to the comical.

But the best music of Newfoundland and Labrador does much more than simply tell stories or recount history. The music is a reflection of the place and its people, articulating hopes, dreams, myths and fears. It provides a window on qualities considered central to the Newfoundland character: humour, irony, ambivalence and endurance, to name a few.

Newfoundland and Labrador Folk Festival Musicians Performing, 1979.
Newfoundland musicians performing at the Newfoundland and Labrador Folk Festival, Bannerman Park, St. John's, 1979.

Courtesy of the Centre for Newfoundland Studies Archives (Coll - 154), Memorial University of Newfoundland Library, St. John's, Newfoundland.
(50 kb)

"The songs are there behind every tree and every rock," said Harry Martin, one of Labrador's most renowned composers. "It's just a matter of putting it on paper. It's not difficult to write a song about the big land."

In this tradition, the songwriters of the province are popularly seen as the voices of Newfoundland and Labrador. The following are a few of the more prominent among those voices.

© 2001, Jamie Fitzpatrick

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