That song in your head

Roger Stringer

Roger Stringer / May 31, 2017

3 min read

I grew up in Newfoundland, a small island province on the east coast of Canada. It's got a strong culture and history. My home town of St. John's is actually the oldest city in North America, and there are even two little colonies of France just off the coast called St Pierre et Miquelon1

I moved away back in 2000, but still go home very few years, and if you go to any bar that has a bunch of Newfoundlanders in it, and music comes on from home (Great Big Sea, Simani, Irish Descendents, Fables, Sharecroppers), you'll see something happen instantly...

Every single Newfoundlander in the bar will start tapping the feet, stomping their hands and singing.

Heck, not just tapping feet, you'll see people who never dance (including myself) getting up and dancing.

The music just gets in your head, and your heart, and suddenly, you're up there.

We all grew up with it, with that style of down home beat that you can't resist getting up and singing to.

We had stuff back home called kitchen parties, where someone would have a get together in their kitchen and if you played an instrument then you brought it with you.

That's actually how Great Big Sea was formed, in a kitchen party with a bunch of guys who kind of knew each other from friends of friends.

The style of music we listened to back home is called Irish Newfoundland, and it's a mix of Irish, English and Cornish folk music with our own flavours thrown in.


Now here's a funny story about this type of music.

Russell Crowe (yes, the Australian actor), when people hear he's a singer in a band, they always[^2] assume he's in a rock band due to his reputation. But no, he's jumped fully into Newfoundland style music, and it's not bad either, I recommend you check it out sometime. He's even been a frequent collaborator with Alan Doyle from Great Big Sea.

I've actually seen Dolye and Crowe preform open mic night back in St John's and it's something to see as people realize who the bearded guy with an accent actually is.

An even funnier story is his band's name. It started out as Rusell Crowe and Thirty Odd Foot of Grunts (based on a term used in movie making), but later he dissolved that band and created Russell Crowe and The Ordinary Fear of God. One of the reasons for the name involved that he'd already had swag printed out for Russell Crowe and TOFG.


I know, where did this post come from right?

I actually started writing a post about the music people listen to when they code. Some coders like to listen to EDM such as trance, techno, etc. Others like to listen to classical music.

Myself, I listen to a wide variety, but usually heavier coding involves heavier music or sometimes a random bit of classic rock. But when I want to just chill, then I'll listen to music from home.

So as I got to thinking and listening to music, I got to thinking of music from back home, and thus, this post...


  1. which actually used to be three islands, but we're not going there today.

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