THIS 33-SONG double CD is best understood as a sincere offering by Canadian musicians who support the broad goals of The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF).
One Voice makes no pretense about being an album that espouses the Christian religion in its lyrics. Of course, there are exceptions that demonstrate the world-class work of Canadian Anglican choirs and vocalists. They range from the lovely Christian folk of Steve Bell in his 2003 Ever Present Need on “celebration” (disc 1) to several choral recordings of hymns old and new on “inspiration” (disc 2).
[pullquote]Several of the inclusions are instrumentals—everything from the East Coast fiddling of Ashley MacIsaac in McNab’s Medley to recordings from jazz piano legends like the late Oscar Peterson and Oliver Jones.
In a deeper sense, it is the spirit behind the artists’ offering of these pieces on a gratis basis to allow 100 per cent of the proceeds of the sale of the anniversary CD to support the work of PWRDF, that is the very work of Christ in the project. Taken in that sense, love songs like Serena Ryder’s Just Another Day and Roxanne Potvin’s Je T’Aime, the 2006 Loreena McKennitt song of the cycle of life and rebirth Never Ending Road, and family tributes like Blue Rodeo’s Finger Lakes, The Men of the Deeps’ A Miner and a Miner’s Son, Shallaway’s The Ballad Of Skipper Knight and Jully Black’s I Travelled are technically not “Christian” songs. However, they are offerings of love by people to a worthwhile project.
Other pieces have more obvious connections to the historic work of PWRDF in areas of social justice. The album-opening recording of Bruce Cockburn’s Waiting For A Miracle is one of many examples, released as it was on a 1987 greatest hits album just after his trilogy of albums reflecting on his overseas trips. This particular song came out of his second trip to Nicaragua in the mid 1980s. Tara MacLean’s Higher, Lucie Idlout’s Lovely Irene, Rachel Snow’s Alleluia and Nathan Hiltz’s The Cuckoo and the Hawk are more recent but equally striking examples of the fact that Canadian musicians are aware that injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere.
They, and we, have PWRDF to thank for enhancing this awareness. They, and we, support its good work.
Wilfred Langmaid is student advocate and lecturer in biology at the University of New Brunswick and a priest in the diocese of Fredericton. He regularly writes about popular music and religion for The Daily Gleaner in Fredericton.