Canadian music has a rich and diverse tradition that includes both traditional and non-traditional instruments. Non-traditional instruments are often used to create unique sounds and add a new dimension to the music. This article will provide an overview of some Canadian ensembles using non-traditional instruments, including The Creaking Planks, The Fretless, and The Blind Boys of Alabama. We will also discuss other Canadian ensembles using non-traditional instruments, and the impact they have on Canadian music.
The Creaking Planks
The Creaking Planks are a Vancouver-based ensemble that specializes in using homemade and found instruments to create their unique sound. They combine traditional instruments like guitar and banjo with unusual objects such as saws, typewriters, and cheese graters. The group’s music has been described as “inventive, playful, and joyfully odd.” They have gained a following in Canada and beyond, performing at festivals and venues around the world.
Pros and Cons
|Creative use of unconventional instruments||May be challenging for some listeners|
|Unique and playful sound||Limited appeal beyond niche audience|
|Broadens the definition of what can be considered an instrument||Difficult to reproduce live|
The Fretless is a string quartet that uses non-traditional tuning and techniques to create their sound. They combine traditional Celtic music with original compositions, resulting in a unique blend of old and new. The group has won numerous awards and accolades, including the 2017 Juno Award for Instrumental Album of the Year.
Pros and Cons
|Blend of traditional and modern styles||May not appeal to purists of traditional Celtic music|
|Innovative use of tuning and techniques||Limited range of sound|
|Well-respected in the Canadian music community||May not have mass appeal|
The Blind Boys of Alabama
The Blind Boys of Alabama are a gospel group that has been active for over 70 years. They are known for their powerful vocals and incorporation of brass and percussion instruments. They have collaborated with numerous musicians over the years, including Ben Harper, Taj Mahal, and Lou Reed.
Pros and Cons
|Strong vocals and musicianship||Limited appeal beyond gospel music fans|
|Long-standing career and collaborations with other musicians||May not appeal to listeners who prefer secular music|
|Influence on Canadian gospel and blues music||Limited impact on the mainstream Canadian music scene|
Other Canadian ensembles using non-traditional instruments
In addition to the ensembles mentioned above, there are many other Canadian groups using non-traditional instruments to create unique sounds. These include experimental and avant-garde groups like The Holy Body Tattoo, and mainstream acts like Arcade Fire, who have incorporated instruments like hurdy-gurdies and glockenspiels into their music. One notable example is the Evergreen Club of Toronto, a percussion ensemble that uses unconventional instruments like flowerpots, garbage cans, and bicycle wheels.
The Evergreen Club of Toronto is another Canadian ensemble that uses non-traditional instruments to create unique sounds. This percussion ensemble has been active since the 1983 and has gained a following for its innovative use of unconventional instruments like flowerpots, garbage cans, and bicycle wheels. They have also incorporated traditional instruments from around the world, like the marimba and the tabla.
The Evergreen Club’s music has been described as “rhythmic, engaging, and surprising.” They have released several albums and have performed at festivals and venues throughout Canada and the United States. Their use of non-traditional instruments adds a new dimension to percussion music and expands the boundaries of what can be considered an instrument.
The Evergreen Club is just one example of the many Canadian ensembles using non-traditional instruments to create unique sounds. From experimental and avant-garde groups to mainstream acts, these ensembles are pushing the boundaries of what is considered music and offering listeners a new and exciting listening experience.
Pros and Cons
|Expansion of the boundaries of Canadian music||May not have mass appeal|
|Creative use of non-traditional instruments||Challenging for some listeners|
|Diverse range of styles and genres||Limited impact on the mainstream Canadian music scene|
The use of non-traditional instruments in Canadian music is an important part of the country’s musical tradition. Ensembles like The Creaking Planks, The Fretless, and The Blind Boys of Alabama have expanded the boundaries of what is considered an instrument and created unique sounds that have influenced other Canadian musicians. Other groups, both experimental and mainstream, have also embraced non-traditional instruments, adding a new dimension to Canadian music.
If you are interested in exploring Canadian music further, a great resource is evergreen.ca. This website offers a comprehensive guide to Canadian music, including information about artists, venues, and festivals. You can also find resources for learning about Canadian music history and current trends.
Non-traditional instruments play an important role in the Canadian music scene, expanding the boundaries of what is considered music and offering a unique listening experience. Ensembles using these instruments have had a significant impact on Canadian music and will continue to influence future generations of musicians.