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Rich and diverse folk music of Canada



Around the globe, there are very few countries that possess folk music as rich and culturally varied as that of Canada. Amalgamation of diverse cultures has resulted in the formation of Canadian musical heritage.


The music of the aboriginal inhabitants comprising the West Coast Salish and Haida, the centrally located Iroquois and Huron, the Inuit and Dene people to the North, and the Innu in the East is one of the oldest sources of music. The French and British settlers have also brought traditional folk music of Europe to Canada. Apart from that, there are songs and melodious music, composed here in Canada. The Canadian music is mostly derived from the European culture. A group of Japanese farmers settled in Alberta, brought with them a musical tradition quite different from that of Japan.The music has also been influenced by American culture because of the proximity and migration between the two nations.


The aboriginal communities had their unique musical traditions. They used a variety of musical instruments elaborately carved and beautifully painted out of materials at hand. Drums and rattles made of carved wood and animal horns respectively, were traditionally used by these people. These musical instruments led to the evolution of aboriginal dances.


In 1608, the country produced its own composers, musicians and ensembles. From 17th century onwards, Canada developed a music infrastructure comprising of conservatories, academies, performing arts centers, chamber halls, radio stations and music video channels. The children were taught to sing and play European instruments, like transverse flutes, violins, drums, guitars and trumpets.

During the beginning of 19th century, the Canadian musicians started writing waltzes, quadrilles, polkas and galops.


Modern music of Canada has evolved from the pop and folk roots. Canadian folk music includes Quebecois, English and Scottish and First Nations and Inuit forms.The country stations in Canada often

play folk-identified acts such as The Rankin Family, Leahy or Bruce Cockburn. In 1990s, folk-inspired artists in Canada started combining folk traditions with rock or pop.


In Canada, folk festivals are organized in cities across the country, which are often open to blues and country artists as well as folk musicians.

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