Skip to main content

Hip Study: Carleton University Grad Student on the Songs of the Tragically Hip

Hip Study:
Carleton University Grad Student
on the Songs of the Tragically Hip

Critical Constructions of Canadianness: The Tragically Hip and Representations of Canadian Identity 
Michelle MacQueen talks about her research

Carleton University master's student Michelle MacQueen was recently listed as a top 25 finalist of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council’s (SSHRC) Storyteller competition. Her research subject? The songs of the Tragically Hip.
The Tragically Hip performing in Aspen, United States (16 October 2007) by Kim Pardi
At the bottom of her research is the notion of culture and identity intertwined. "It is how music develops Canadian identity," she explains.

According to Michelle, the Tragically Hip catalogue contains over 300 Canadian lyrical references. It was the nature of those references that drew her interest. "They either have a darker tone, or darker subjects," she says.

She notes songs like Wheat Kings, which talks about the real life unjust imprisonment of David Milgard, and Goodnight Attawapiskat, that touches on the troubled First Nations community. Even Bobcaygeon, which, while on the surface is a romantic love song, also contains a reference to social unrest and white supremacists, albeit in a more poetic mode.

"I wouldn't necessarily call myself a fan," Michelle says, somewhat surprisingly. As she points out, she was a generation behind the Hip's biggest demographic. "This project is actually my Master's thesis."

The Hip's Final Concert -- televised live across the nation in August 2017 -- and the surrounding mass media coverage is what convinced her to take their music on as the subject of her research. As she watched the live stream and saw the band at work on stage, as well as the connection to the fans, she understood their appeal firsthand. "I thought that was really powerful," she says. "That's what really drew me in."
Gord Downie at the Hillside Festival 2001 by Ryan Merkley
In turning her academic lens on the iconic Canadian band, however, she didn't become an uncritical fan. "There are some issues with taking them as representing all Canadians," she points out. Made up of entirely white male members, it can hardly be said to be diverse.

The massive public platform generated by their Final Concert included the Prime Minister himself, Michelle points out, adding weight to their message. "It's important to look at what they were saying," she says. She notes that their darker and more truthful message comes in contrast to many of the more celebratory songs of many artists considered to be quintessentially Canadian, such as Stompin' Tom Connors.

One of the challenges was describing her thesis in 300 words or less than 3 minutes for the Storytellers' competition. As a top 25 finalist, MacQueen will receive a cash prize of $3,000.

The next step involves joining the remaining 24 contestants to deliver live presentations of their work at the 2018 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Regina – and compete for a top five competition spot.

Here's her pitch:


Popular posts from this blog

Film News - imagineNATIVE Embargo Collective at the Berlin Film Fest

Hot Off the Presses:
(and gosh, doesn't that expression sound quaint these days?)

to have its European Premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival 2010
(Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin 11.-21.02.10)

(Toronto, February 3rd, 2010) The imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival is pleased to announce the official selection of the festival’s Embargo Collective programme for the Forum Expanded section of this year’s Berlin International Film Festival. This programme of works was commissioned by the imagineNATIVE festival for its 10th anniversary and will have its European premiere Monday, February 15th, 8.30pm at Cinema Arsenal 2 and a repeat screening Wednesday, February 17th, 4pm at CinemaxX 6.

Curated by imagineNATIVE’s Artistic Director Danis Goulet, the Embargo Collective is an international group of seven Indigenous artists at the forefront of the changing global landscape of Indigenous cinema. Inspired by Lars von Trier’s The Five Obstructi…

Esmeralda Enrique Spanish Dance Company Spring 2013 Toronto Performances

From a media release:

The new season brings
Esmeralda Enrique Spanish Dance Company
to new heights and new audiences

March 20-24, 2013 - A Night in Madrid
April 25-28, 2013 - Annual Toronto Season - World Premiere of Portales

TORONTO : Following on the heels of Esmeralda Enrique Spanish Dance Company's (EESDC) 30th anniversary year where its production Aguas/Waters was named one of the top five dance shows of 2012 by NOW Magazine, the early months of 2013 are full of excitement and possibility for Esmeralda and the company, which brings the finest flamenco and Spanish Classical Dance to Toronto stages.

March 20-24, 2013 - A Night in Madrid
Company dancers Esmeralda Enrique and Paloma Cortés perform Spanish Classical dance with the celebrated Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir for A Night in Madrid featuring the Iberian flavoured music of composer Luigi Boccherini who made his home in Spain. His work is infused with the sounds of Spanish and gypsy folk music.

March 20-24 …

Guitar Rock | Happy Freuds - Echo Of Sounds Independent: May 31, 2019

Guitar Rock
Happy Freuds - Echo Of Sounds
Independent: May 31, 2019
Stream/Buy on Bandcamp
Stream it on Spotify

With tight musicians and intriguing lyrics, Happy Freuds delivers high energy guitar rock with stylistic flair on Echo Of Sounds, their debut release. Produced with a minimum of overdubs or fixes, the album consists of a mix of original material, rearrangements of works from others and selected, less known, classic rock.

A kinetic rhythm section is the bones of the music, offering interesting patterns that augment sometimes unexpected harmonic changes. It's brainy rock, in other words, meant for music lovers who can appreciate the quality. Teo's vocals are raspy and expressive, growly when necessary - perfect for the musical mode. Teo also covers lead guitar, adapt at ear worm leads, with a tone that can be clean or dirty as required

Their sound ranges from straight up hard rock in tracks like The Mountain to the pop-flavoured acoustic Background Noise and folky To …