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Men of the North (are we)

by Don & Anne Hill

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MEN OF THE NORTH (are we) is a documentary LP released in 1976.

Featuring conversations recorded in the 1970s, the interviews are the basis for STORY TREES (an interactive exhibition at New Adventures in Sound Art gallery in 2021) online at www.storytrees.ca

A student project, Don Hill and Anne Prevost (later Hill) set out in search of "stories, tall tales, legends, myths and songs" that exemplified life in resource sector towns and settlements throughout northern Ontario. The couple were advised by Germain Lemieux, a professor & director of the folklore centre at Laurentian University.

Decades later, while digitizing the reel-to-reel oral history interviews, Don was surprised by how things were said at the time in northern Ontario. It wasn’t the content of the conversations that first caught his ear; it was the little asides, the nuanced bits of intonation, inflections of speech, as if northern Ontario had a different dialect way back when. As the towns and the province grew in population, he heard a shift in the patter. He also heard something - an emergent literary voice, a kind of wisdom - that wasn’t accounted for by words alone.

Things to keep in mind for the modern listener: The sentiments you hear in the documentary reflect an era that is quite different in tone from our present day. And the opening montage (confusing as it may sound upon first listen) is a tip of the hat to Glenn Gould's remarkable contrapuntal radio masterpiece The Idea of North.


released January 12, 2021

THE VOICES: Samuel Allen, Bud Biron, Lois Brown, Russel Brown, Rory Bucknell, Max Cameron, Gramma Gene Campbell, Frances Colville, Clarence Edmunds, Elvin Everett, Hans Hansen, Jimmy Kearney, Art Lees, Buzz Lein, Sandy McDonald, Viola Moody, Oscar Newton, Earl Orchard, Don Parrott, Anne Porter, Tom Porter, Anna Rawn, Joeseph Raymond, Frank Rowe, Walter Scott, Allan Shaw, George Spreng, Diana Taft, Benjamin Thomas, Dave Thomas.

COVER ART: Dennis Labbe

SPECIAL THANKS: Don Pugh & Stig Puschel

PRODUCTION (1975): Don Hill & Anne Prevost (Hill)


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