Today, our grade seven students were delightfully entertained by the brilliant Mike Ford, a Juno-nominated Franco-Ontarian solo artist who has released four acclaimed albums of Canadian history-inspired songs. A few years ago, he performed at an arts workshop at the Royal Ontario Museum and I was in awe of his performance. The song that stood out most to me was the fast-paced song called I've Been Everywhere. Don't ask me how he can sing the length of that song without being winded. I am actually listening to his CD Canada Needs You: Volume One as I write this, a gift from my teaching partner who happened to have one in our office library. Lucky me! I can't get enough of The Oak Island Mystery, a musical journey to Nova Scotia's "Money Pit." It makes me want to dance. I kid you not. All throughout my younger years, I found history and geography so boring that I subsequently ended up with poor grades in those subject areas. Songs about Canadian history that make me want to sing and dance? Yeah, where were they twenty years ago?
Mike Ford’s 1812 song-cycle “Flames Across The Border,” made possible in part by support from The Department of Canadian Heritage and the Toronto Arts Council, is being performed across Canada at schools, clubs and festivals over the next three years in commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the ‘War of 1812’. And for some of our students today, the 1812-1814 conflict came alive in music and words thanks to Mike Ford's "original songs about epic events (the invasion of Little York, Great Lake ship battles), famous characters (Tecumseh, Fitzgibbon) and unsung participants (farm-trampled settlers, deep woods couriers)." You can hear the songs and access lyrics and a study guide by visiting the1812 page on MikeFord.ca.
Mike Ford is also known to many for his former life in the folk/rock/vaudeville Moxy Früvous. Remember them?