Author: Heather Sparling
Last Updated: September 7th 2015 at 7:31 AM
This conference paper, ”Survivors Make a Difference: Songs of Death from Newfoundland,” by Joe Scanlon and his undergraduate research assistant, Peter Knowlton, was read at the Canadian Society for Traditional Music conference on Thursday, June 18, 2015, at Cape Breton University, Sydney, Nova Scotia.
This paper will argue that songs written about incidents without survivors will differ from those written about incidents with survivors in three ways. The former will generate songs which generally focus on portraying the experience of those present during the incident while the latter will focus on the experience of the community the incident takes place in. Secondly, songs about incidents without survivors portray those who perished as brave and unafraid of death while those songs written about incidents with survivors portray them as terrified of their impending deaths. A final difference is that songs written about incidents without survivors consistently make a point within the song to ask what occurred at the event even though details are often known. Additionally the similarities between both songs written about incidents with and without survivors and songs written about Newfoundland incidents and military disasters will be examined.