Monday, May 30, 2011

They sing and play among us: Mennonite roots run deep in Manitoba music

Flying Fox and the Hunter Gatherers: Mennonite roots
Mennonite influences are shot through the literary and music scene in Winnipeg, according to an article in Canadian Mennonite magazine. Aaron Epp notes that writers with Mennonite roots such as David Bergen, Miriam Toews and Di Brandt are self-evident. Perhaps less well-known is the fact that one of the most sought-after recording engineers and producers in Winnipeg, John Paul Peters, was brought up Mennonite. As was Michael Petkau Falk, artistic director of the West End Cultural Centre.
But why are Mennonites dominating Winnipeg’s music scene right now? 
For Bucky Driedger, singer-guitarist for The Liptonians and experimental pop-rockers Royal Canoe, part of the answer comes down to numbers while part can be traced back to Mennonite tradition. “There are a lot of Mennonites in Manitoba,” the 25-year-old says simply, adding, “I think [the Mennonite church] is a culture that regards music very highly, so it’s natural for Mennonite youth or young people to have an interest in making music, whether it’s rock music or choral music or whatever.”



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