Monday, July 20, 2020

This is Who We Are: Traditional Music with Ernie Pynn #MakerMonday

For #MakerMonday we'll be profiling some of the people practicing traditional skills on the Baccalieu Trail.

Ernie Pynn of Carbonear started playing guitar with a band when he was in high school. He credits seeing Ryan's Fancy in concert at the stadium in Harbour Grace with inspiring him to play traditional music. He stopped playing music for a while, but resumed his interest when his son was in Cubs, and now he plays with his friends as the group Long Drung at senior's homes and fundraisers in the area.

Three generation of the Pynn family performing at the Wooden Boat Museum of Newfoundland and Labrador. Photo courtesy of Ernie Pynn.
One of the best things about knowing how to play traditional music is how it brings people together. Ernie says that one of the biggest opportunities he has gotten from knowing this skill is the chance to socialize and meet new people. He hopes that his music is able to bring a bit of pleasure to the people he performs for.

His favourite traditional songs to play are those that tell stories. He says that these songs teach us what life was like in the past, what was important, and connect us to our roots. Songs like Tickle Cove Pond give us a window into what was important in the past, and what skills were used.

This is who we are, right? And when you think about a song like Tickle Cove Pond, I mean, most people are in cutting wood now with pick-ups and snowmobiles and...which is great. But every now and then you hear of someone going in with a horse and slide, right? And I don't know how familiar you are with Tickle Cove Pond but I mean, it's a song about someone cutting wood and goes through the ice with his horse and so on, right? But I mean, that's the way people lived. That's what you did. And if you didn't do that, you had a cold winter, right? I mean, that's life. Songs, music should be about stuff.
He enjoys sharing these songs and the love of traditional music with his grandson, who has been learning from his grandfather since he was 2 years old. He believes that sharing traditional music with children from a young age will help them to appreciate at it, and help them keep their culture alive. He says that the music is in them, they just need help bringing it out.


Do you live on the Baccalieu Trail and practice a traditional skill or know someone who does? Fill out our survey!

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