An Evening of Canadian Folklore

By Janice

Four files into the first container, I find something fun to work on: a whole album of candid photographs documenting one great event: “FOLKWAYS presents: AN EVENING OF CANADIAN FOLKLORE”, held on Thursday October 25, 1956 at the Salle du Gesu on Bleury. There was singing, fiddling, plucking, harmonica blowing, clapping, dancing, and the finest seats in the house went for $2 apiece.

This event exemplifies Gesser’s role in expanding Folkways Records into Canada. It is also notable as an early appearance of Les Feux Follets. Founded with director Michel Cartier as director and Gesser as producer, this folk dance troupe would go on to enjoy several successful tours and momentous special performances, including representing Canada at Expo ’67 in Montreal and Expo ’70 in Osaka, Japan.  Other folks who graced the stage were Haillaine Baillargeon, Alan Mills, Buck Lacombe, Art Samuels, Bob Hill, Jean Carignan, Angeline Fournier, Aldor Morin, and Wade Hemsworth. The file includes a full program of the event, and photos of just about everybody I just listed. I plucked just a few images to share with you.

Image 1 – These adorable little ones were among a group of kids, identified only as “Children” in the program, who started off each of the programs with demonstrations of schoolyard games.

Image 2 – Here’s Aldor Morin blowing on what I take to be a 6-sided harmonica, an unusual contraption that is essentially six harmonicas of different keys, mounted together so the player can waft in and out of different tunings with a twist of the wrist. This file also includes photos of Morin kicking up his heels for a folk dance. 

Image 3 – Here we have the aforementioned Les Feux Follets. You have to squint for the details, but I decided to use this tiny proof copy of the photo because, unlike the cropped enlargement of the dancers that came with it, this humble little raw version shows us the whole stage–plain, simple and without frills–and it also reveals the source of music for the dancers: one man on the fiddle, who is probably Jean Carignan, and another man clapping along (maybe singing?), who I can’t identify.

5 Comments to “An Evening of Canadian Folklore”

  1. Anonymous says:

    I read this blog all the time, good stuff.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Great read. I also think it could be a bit longer ;)

  3. Anonymous says:

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  4. Minneapolis says:

    I absolutely love your blog and I’m glad you shared this with us.

  5. Xavier Miramontez says:

    Inspiring post, but I feel that there should have been more details and more pictures :)

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