Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Six String Nation - a Canada Day story

Looking for something to be proud of this Canada Day? Want to read a kick-ass story about our culture and heritage in a way that’s never been told before? Read on...

For the second year in a row, I had the good fortune of attending Podcasters Across Borders. Despite it’s name, this gem of a conference – organized by Canadian Podcast Buffet hosts Mark Blevis and Bob Goyetche and their wives, Andrea Ross and Cat Bobkowicz – is about so much more thank podcasting. It’s really about content, creativity and inspiration. The three key elements in plain old-fashioned storytelling, the best way to engage an audience.

That’s exactly how the tone was set with keynote Jowi Taylor, Peabody award-wining writer broadcaster formerly with the CBC, as he presented an overview of his career leading up to the inspiring story of Six String Nation.

What’s Six String Nation and why should you care?

Six String Nation is many things to many people. It started with a dream in 1995 and over the past few years, it’s the result of a cross-country journey and collaboration culminating in:
64 pieces (hand-crafted from vast riches of our history, heritage and culture)
6 strings
1 guitar (the Voyageur)
1 Canada

According to Jowi, the goals are simple:

invite the many voices and perspectives that together define the spectrum of Canadian identity and experience to speak to one another – each in their own voice;
celebrate the people and stories that make each part of Canada distinct;
tell the story of a country from the roots to the trunk rather than the other way around; and
encourage us to tell that story to ourselves and the world through music – the language that Canada speaks just about better than anyone else in the world.”

After Jowi’s story, we were further wowed when Jay Moonah, accompanied by Bob, Mark and a chorus of PAB attendees, started to play With a Little Help from My Friends on the Voyageur. There wasn’t a dry eye in the room.

Many of us also had an opportunity to be photographed and photograph our friends holding the Voyageur as well.

What struck many of us as odd was the fact that there was no direct government support and next to none from corporate Canada. Six String Nation has really been Jowi Taylor’s labour of love.

Help support Jowi by telling others about his story, buying his book – I bought one for Mr. B as a Father’s Day gift – and checking out the Six String Nation tour this summer or a slew of visits to schools and community events throughout the year. You can even have your picture taken with the Voyageur.

Happy Canada Day!

photo credit: Six String Nation at PAB09 by lexnger on flickr, Thanks Lex!
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