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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
CeltArctic Songs Celebrating Canada (24) RE: Songs Celebrating Canada 03 Jul 06

Here in Canada's North - Yellowknife - a group called the Gumboots writes and sings songs about the north. Some are historical, some are local legends, some decribe the importance of the land, some are tragedies, many are celebrations. My favourite, one which I've recorded as a ballad, is a true story about a woman who lost her way in a blizzard in a small community in Nunavut called Baker Lake.

Martha (c) Bob MacQuarrie & Bill Gilday (SOCAN)

Wailing like banshees the cold winds blow over
The frost riven rocks of the barrens once more.
The snow's driven fiercely across the bleak tundra -
A wayfarer loses the footpath before...

CH: Where are you, Martha, my dear heart, my darling,
Beside Qamanittuaq's furious shore?
The children are crying, the daylight is dying--
Oh, Martha, come in from the storm.

For two days the storm keeps the family together;
Through wind-battered walls hunger slowly intrudes.
Then Martha suggests to her husband, Oovayuk,
"I'll go to the Bay, for our children need food."

Turning her shoulder full into the blizzard,
She turns her face sideways, evading the blast.
She loses the path to the shrouded food market
And walks to her death on the tundra, alas.

Repeat first verse.

'Qamanittuaq' is the Inuktitut name for Baker Lake.

Moira Cameron
The Arctic Celt

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