Folksteps Music Conference

African Nova Scotian Folk Traditions

Zion Lutheran Church

August 7, 2014

Dr_Ronald Labelle

In 2010 the Lunenburg Folk Harbour Society decided to include a one-day traditional folk music conference as part of the festivities for our 25th annual festival.  Called Folksteps, the conference aimed to stimulate interest in traditional folk music through a day-long educational event.

The first Folksteps conference was organized by Clary Croft, and proved so successful that we decided to continue and in the future to organize around a theme.

For our fifth annual Folksteps Conference, our theme is African Novan Scotian Traditions, curated and hosted by well-known poet and broadcaster, Shauntay GrantDr. George Elliott Clarke, anthropologist, poet  and scholar, will start things off on Thursday morning with a talk on African Nova Scotian Folk Traditions.  We’ll follow that up with music from local gospel group The Sanctified Brothers.  Renowned film-maker Dr. Sylvia Hamilton will pay tribute to legendary vocalist Portia White with excerpts from her documentary film ‘Think on Me’.  Singer Reeny Smith will join Dr. Hamilton in the tribute, and later storytellers Al Johnson and Des Adams will explore regional dialects and share stories from home.

Our conference offers a tremendous opportunity for audiences to explore a vibrant facet of traditional folk music of the province, and to further understand its relevance to the music of today.  The format provides fun and learning and includes expert presentation as well as audience participation, including questions and answers, performance and dance.  Previous Folksteps conferences focused on Ballads (2011), Celtic Connections (2012), and Acadian, Cajun and Quebecois (2013).

Folksteps takes place from 9:30am to 4pm on the first day of the Festival.  The Folksteps conference is totally integrated within the Festival and therefore is included in the Full Festival Pass.  Single day passes are also available for the conference.   Delegates are on their own for lunch with time to explore beautiful, historic Lunenburg.

The conference will offer a tremendous opportunity for audiences to explore a vibrant facet of traditional folk music of this area, and to further understand its relevance to the music of today.


9:00     Registration
Keynote Address: Mapping African Nova Scotian Folk TraditionsGeorge Elliot Clarke
Call and Response: Gospel Music by Rote – The Sanctified Brothers
Storytellers Circle – Al Johnson & Des Adams
12:15   Lunch Break
Portia White: Think on Me Reviewed – Dr. Sylvia Hamilton & Reeny Smith
Shauntay Grant

The full day conference is included in your Festival Weekend Pass; or you can purchase a day-pass for the Conference and Evening Concert; or you can purchase just the conference ticket.  To see prices, follow this link to the About Festival Tickets page.

Folksteps is generously sponsored by FACTOR, The Foundation Assisting Canadian Talent on Recordings and the SOCAN Foundation.


We acknowledge the financial support of the Government of Canada through the Department of Canadian Heritage (Canada Music Fund) and of Canada’s Private Radio Broadcasters.



Supported by a grant from:

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