I can’t say that I was ever a fan of the Tragically Hip. Proud Canadian I am, but never one to listen to their music.
I’ve heard their songs on the radio for years, but they never fully resonated with me. At least, not until last year, through the tragic circumstances of Gord Downie’s cancer diagnosis. But isn’t that always the case? Only through these kind of situations do we really start to understand a person. Once I started to learn more about Gord Downie and who he was, the more I could see how much of an influence and impact he had on Canadian culture. And with the incredible things he accomplished this past year on borrowed time, especially with his work on The Hidden Path (while bringing to light a dark subject about Canada’s treatment of Aboriginal children) it says a lot about who he was as a person.
The song Ahead by a Century has a lot more meaning to me now for some reason. I don’t know if it’s because the lyrics strike a chord (so to speak) with me as a person today, or if it’s just because of Downie’s impact, but either way it’s something special. There’s a quote floating around somewhere that Downie was to have said, about creating music to bring people together.
This Choir Choir Choir! clip, although a few years old now, is a perfect example. (PS: No one can put together a musical tribute better than them.)