For those who couldn’t ‘Sea’ them

For those who couldnt Sea them

For those who couldn’t ‘Sea’ them

Nathan Carter

In 1993 at Newfoundland’s Memorial University, founding members Alan Doyle, Sean McCann and Bob Hallett formed Great Big Sea.

“We used to sing at the pubs and it was our part time job at the university,” Hallett said. “We decided after many years of playing that we would try to do it full time. We’d start a band that would try to take very local, traditional music and try to bring that to a larger audience.”

The traditional music of Newfoundland is a mixture of English, Irish, Scottish and French traditional music.

“The immigrants came to Newfoundland in the early 1500s and 1600s and there was no more immigration after that,” Hallett said. “As a result the tradition was just allowed to live by itself and percolate.

“Because Newfoundland is so isolated, even now, the tradition just developed a lot of nuances and it took that English-Celtic-French beginning and turned it into something unique.”

The band spent its time honing the sound at home and abroad.

“We went from playing songs that we all knew to creating a body of music together,” Hallett said. “It took us a little while to define that, but we had a model. That was to make pop music.”

Great Big Sea decided that it didn’t want to be a retro band recreating the old sound, but rather use the historical sound as a springboard.

“We wanted to make our pop songs sound like traditional songs and our traditional songs sound like pop songs,” Hallett said. “It took a few years for people to appreciate what we were doing, but in 1995 we signed our first record contract.”

The band is now enjoying success across the North American continent.

Great Big Sea is currently finishing the last leg of the Fortunes Favor tour. The album was released more than a year ago, but a break has allowed the current tour to overlap the recording of its next album. On Oct. 5, Great Big Sea performed in the Taylor Auditorium. The overall crowd response was positive.