Irish Music in Canada – Cape Spear, Newfoundland Songs & Stories by the Harrington Brothers

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This is the story of ‘Cape Spear’, a collection of Irish and Newfoundland songs & stories, telling tales of this wonderful warm hearted Canadian seafaring community and its heritage.

When long time Canadian resident Patrick Sullivan visited Cape Spear on a sunny afternoon in 2006, a warm sea breeze and the vast blue expanse of the Atlantic Ocean evoked old feelings of growing up by the sea in Ireland.

Later Patrick embodied those feelings in a poem. When his buddy, Juno Award winning musician and song writer Derek Harrington read it, he immediately thought he would like set it to music. Derek worked his musical magic and subsequently several of Patrick’s poems emerged as songs.

Their friend Jan Peters in Newfoundland, heard these early versions she suggested they make a CD. So Derek persuaded his brothers Paul, famous in Ireland for his soft lilting voice, and Richard Harrington to join him performing his songs. So the album ‘Cape Spear’ was born.

Patrick says he will never forget Paul telling him at the studio one day, how he loves to sing songs that tell a story, and that is just what Patrick’s poetry does. When Paul recorded the title track ‘Cape Spear’ and ‘Coffin Ship’ his evocative singing gave these words and melodies life.

Derek has written most of the new material himself with Patrick Sullivan’s beautiful lyrics. The songs feature the voices of Derek, Paul and Richard Harrington. It also features two remastered tracks ‘Bunclody’ and ‘Sally Gardens’ from a previous Harrington Brother’s album ‘Monto on the Rock’.

David Matheson, whose musical creativity contributed greatly to this CD, Norm Barker and Richard Uglow joined the team early on and got the tape rolling.

D’Arcy Broderick, Graham Wells and Mike Hanrahan also contribute performing Naomi’s Reel, written by Derek and named after one of the worst coffin ships to sail to Canada in 1847.

Like so many journeys that start at Cape Spear, this one also began there. Along the way it brought people together in friendship and remembrance.