Thursday, July 9, 2015

I is for The Irish Rovers and In Codes

     It is all fun and games until somebody loses an eye!!!  Or, in this case, an "I"!!!
After eight posts in a row that told the stories of some of the most influential performers in our country's history, such as Bryan Adams, Leonard Cohen, Celine Dion and Glenn Gould, today we find ourselves taking a bit of a pause.  There are no titans of industry whose names begin with an "I".

     However, there are a surprising  number of singers and bands whose names you will remember and whose work you are familiar with. So, with that in mind, let's enjoy our lemonade.

     When I first attended Ryerson University in the early 80s, I lived in a co-ed residence. That meant that there were apartments with separate bedrooms for between four and six young men and women to share. One of the young women that I lived with was a girl named Lisa W.   Lisa was studying broadcasting, like I was. But, unlike me, she already had connections in the industry; her father owned a management company. One of the groups that her Dad managed was a Canadian group of some renown at the time, The Irish Rovers.
     The Irish Rovers were a group of Irish singers and musicians who settled in Canada and created their own television show.  This variety-type show was set in a faux pub and featured many Irish and Celtic bands and singers who were popular back in the day.  One time, Lisa invited all of us to attend a taping of their show.  It was a very eye-opening experience to be in the "studio audience" and see all the behind-the-scenes things that went into making the show that appeared on television.  I remember being surprised at how staged it all was and how many stops and starts there were.  On TV, the show looked like it flowed effortlessly from one segment to the next. But, in reality, segments were taped in isolation, often several times from different angles. All the while, the pub-like atmosphere had to be maintained so that any time a camera showed the audience, sitting at our tables as we were, we had to look like we were having the time of our lives.  One way they managed to help us achieve this state of euphoria was to constantly....and, I mean constantly......fill our mugs with real beer!  Our mugs were filled at the beginning of taping and then, during each break, production crew would scurry amongst the tables and top up everyone's mug.  It didn't take long to twig on to this and soon, people were chugging down the golden nectar with vigour just before each break. By the end of the taping, we had all had five or six full beers. For someone as slight as me, that was about three or four beer too many.  Everyone was hammered by the time it came for the closing theme to be sung but, believe me when I tell you, we sang with gusto and a sense of harmony unrivalled in the history of studio tapings......or so, I think.  :)
     Anyway, The Irish Rovers were a popular musical act across the country for several decades, winning one Juno Award for being the Folk Group of the Year.  They became Canadian citizens at the behest of then, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, who invited them to become Canada's "musical ambassadors" on the world stage.  They represented Canada at five consecutive World Expos.  They enjoyed one #1 Hit during their career (Wasn't That a Party) and are known worldwide for their song called, The Unicorn.  The Irish Rovers were as entertaining a band as Canada has produced and, as such, they have left an indelible mark upon our musical history.


     One of the great things about using social media is the ability to connect with people who, otherwise, you would never meet.  Since I started posting this series, I have tweeted the link to each post and have used the hashtag, #canadianmusic.   For those unfamiliar with how Twitter works and, in particular, hashtags well, a hashtag is an organizational device that helps place tweets in categories where they are more likely to be seen by like-minded people. So, by using the hashtag #Canadianmusic, all of my tweets are being read by people who have an interest, commercial or otherwise, in Canadian music.   As a result, I have been "followed" by several new bands since I began posting these articles. They are appreciative of having the spotlight directed toward Canadian music and they are hopeful of being promoted via my blog.   OK.  No problem helping a band out.
    So, please allow me to introduce the nation to an Alberta band called In Codes.  These folks contacted me after I posted "G".  They were the recipients of an Alberta Government Arts grant and are premiering their first video in a couple of weeks.  They are a bit of a rock-punk outfit at present.  I wish them well on their musical journey and hope that by posting their work here and then, tweeting about it on Twitter, that it helps gain them some much needed publicity.  Good luck, my friends and thanks for the "follow".

     A tip of the hat to a small but, mighty list of performers whose names start with an "I":
90s rockers, Idle Eyes and I Mother Earth, modern rockers, Illscarlett, 80s New Wave stars, Images In Vogue, bunkers, From Kingston to Halifax, alternate stars, Toronto-based Funk-rockers, The InfidelsThe Inbreds, Montreal Indie band, Islands and Prog. rockers, Inner Odyssey, The Intervals and Innerspace.  

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