Liona Boyd Sets To Work Promoting Canada In Song

I had first approached Peter Bond back in 2008 about producing a song I had written in Connecticut called “Canada, My Canada.” The idea of composing a patriotic song had been marinating in my mind ever since Jack and I had attended a World Presidents’ Organization conference in Berlin. It was there I realized that we Canadians had no patriotic song, apart from our “O Canada” anthem.

We were about three hundred delegates from all over the world, and one of the WPO organizers had the idea that we should group ourselves by country and each sing something from our homeland as a way of entertaining the others. The Germans belted out a famous drinking song, the Mexicans serenaded us with “Cielito Lindo,” and the Americans sang, “This Land Is Your Land.” Twenty or so Canadians found ourselves on stage trying to determine if we all knew the same Gordon Lightfoot or Stompin’ Tom song. It was useless. None of us knew the words to anything the others did, and very few of us could remember Canada’s original unofficial anthem, “The Maple Leaf Forever,” now very dated. As a last resort, we stumbled our way through the only Canadian song we vaguely remembered, Quebec’s “Alouette” — how embarrassing. Our performance was, as they say, a “train wreck”! I swore to myself that one day I would write a patriotic song about Canada that future school kids and adult choirs could learn and sing together

One winter evening many years later, while driving home from a Joan Baez concert that I had attended in New York with a few American and Canadian friends, someone suggested we sing a Canadian song, and I was again troubled that we had nothing to offer. The following day, the magic happened, and back home in New Canaan I sat down with pen and paper. Somehow I was able to channel the unique energy and patriotic inspiration required, even though at that time, in 2008, I had no plans to return to my homeland.

The words and the melody came to me effortlessly, and the song seemed to write itself. Was my departed lover Pierre Trudeau helping me from “the great beyond”? He had always been so impressed by my songwriting, even though the demos I played for him had used a studio singer’s voice. I honestly believe that this song, with its catchy melody and lyrics, flowed supernaturally into my pencil from some mysterious cosmic guide.

I remember thinking that my biggest gift to Canada, and the one thing I was sure would live on long after I had gone, would be this new song that I had just created, called “Canada, My Canada.”

The spirits of our lakes and rivers gently sing to me

The mighty forests add their voice with mystic majesty

I hear the rhythm in the wings of wild geese as they fly

And music in the Rocky Mountains reaching for the sky

Canada, My Canada

My country proud and free …

Excerpted from No Remedy for Love by Liona Boyd, 2017, Liona BoydAll rights reserved. Published by Dundurn Press. Universal Music Canada has also released an album of the same name, available online and at some stores.

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