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Ivan Emke was born and raised, along with a variety of mixed livestock, on a farm in Bruce County, Ontario, sandwiched between the mighty Lake Huron and the pristine Georgian Bay (where ships can still take on their drinking water for a voyage). He comes from an extended family of farmers who focused on pure bred livestock, and has fond memories of skipping school to exhibit sheep and cattle (and the odd cabbage) at Fall Fairs throughout Central and South-western Ontario. It was almost as good as being in a circus.
After these honest beginnings, he went on to study at several Universities, and has been teaching in a Social and Cultural Studies program at Grenfell Campus since late last century.
Currently, he is the Facilitator for Internationalization at that campus. In terms of research, Ivan spends a lot of time pondering rural communities, both in Canada and elsewhere. He is obsessed with community media (radio in particular). And (in a whole different area of study) he ponders the effects of our modern funeral industry on our rituals around death and remembrance.
Anita Best was born on the island of Merasheen in Placentia Bay on Newfoundland’s south coast the year before Newfoundland joined Canada. When she was a child, singing, dancing and storytelling were the main forms of recreation and when the nights grew longer and colder and the fishing season was over, people would gather in each others homes and keep heart in one another with tunes, songs and stories.
Anita performs the traditional songs and stories from her childhood, as well as ones she learned later from people in Bonavista Bay, Cape St. Georges and the communities in and around Gros Morne National Park. She also performs songs from Newfoundland’s beloved contemporary songwriters, Pamela Morgan and Ron Hynes. With her rich voice and warm personality she builds a marvelous bridge between old-time and contemporary Newfoundland song-making and storytelling traditions.
Anita has received several honours for her work in collecting and disseminating Newfoundland folksongs, including the Marius Barbeau award from the Folklore Studies Association of Canada and an Honourary Doctorate from Memorial University.