In addition to playing a number of instruments, I also make songs. Over the years I have been writing songs about Bowen Island, where I live. In general these are social songs, made for singing in groups and expressing a common tie to our island and our community. Here are the lyrics and some mp3s of these songs:
Our Island’s Ours Again – A song about the end of summer. Traditionally on the Gulf Island of British Columbia, islanders send off the summer visitors with hi-jinx and shenanigans. The irony of course is that with the end of summer, we may have our island’s back to ourselves, but we also have eight months of rain to look forward to. This song is sung to the tune of “Rolling Down to Old Maui,” an old sea shanty.
- Here is an mp3 of this song, sung to a Labour Day ferry by myself and Alice Bernards.
Song for the Cape – Cape Roger Curtis is a beautiful piece of wild land on the southwest point of Bowen Island. For many years, it has been the subject of controversial development proposals that threatened the almost sacred character of the land. This song, based on an old Irish tune and using Irish devices such as a woman representing the spirit of the land, is a call to be mindful of how we treat this incredible place.
Thank God We Made the Ferry! – Living on an island means depending on the ferry if we want to go to the continent. Many islanders work in Vancouver and so their daily commute takes them across the beautiful Queen Charlotte Channel to Horseshoe Bay on the Queen of Capilano. This song expresses the love/hate relationship islanders have with our ferry, which often suffers from overloads and operating delays. You hate it until you are on it!
The Jewel in the Sound – In 2007, I was asked to compose a song for our annual festival, Bowfest. The theme that year was “Treasure Island.” This song captures the preciousness of what we have here, season to season, both in our natural setting and within the community of people who make Bowen home.
I have composed a number of traditional Irish tunes over the years as well, and some of these have been recorded by myself and others:
- Kavana’s Craic (click to listen) was recorded by the Irish Heather session players on “In the Heather”
- Hawtin’s return has been recorded by The Maenads, as well as by Randy Vic and me on the Bowen Island Music Exchange CD.
- Farwell to Moy was been recorded on the Bowen Island Music Exchange CD by Julie Vik and Corbin Keep.