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Decades Later, One Cry Still Echoes

As the (not especially good) director of a caravan day camp in Northern Manitoba one summer, I made the decision to switch over our program entirely from a wilderness skills based camp to an arts camp, since there were a lot of forest fires and we weren’t able to continue with the hiking and campfire-building program that had been the basis of our success for a number of decades. To be fair (to myself), the forest fires were actually significant enough to strand us for a portion of a week, and the air and sky were a greyish-orange because of them.

I had written the first version of the song ‘One Cry Echoes’ while in Northern Manitoba, partly expressing a longing for relational connection, and partly reflecting my sense of the landscape around me.

A First Nations band near The Pas, Manitoba, had a talent night the weekend we were there, open to all. I decided that participating in the talent night was right up the alley of a group that wanted to engage with local communities and had a fresh focus as an arts program, so some of us went there. We got a friendly reception, and I sang my song. I didn’t win any prizes – which was only right, because there was a lot of talent there, and winning prizes wasn’t the point for us. But I was encouraged that one young man sought me out to tell me that he really appreciated my song. So if any of you folks wish that I would really just stop… well, blame him – because his encouragement was part of what kept me going.

Anyway, there was something about the way I paced my lyrics in the original that didn’t seem quite right. I tried changing the words, tried changing how I played the guitar, but nothing was ever quite satisfying. Years went by. Then finally, last year, I decided to try changing the melody and the whole musical structure of the song. Now, finally, it feels right to me. So I recorded it and put it out there.

That’s the story of “One Cry Echoes

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