Saturday, May 12, 2012

Zita Cobb: She's the g'll

If you grew up in the maritime provinces of Canada, chances are you'd be familiar with "I's the B'y," a Newfoundland sea chanty. 

It's pretty much in my DNA; although I was born in Prince Edward Island, hardly a week went by (it seems) without that song figuring some way in the life of the locals.

Last year I sang it at an international poetry reading, my poetry being the kind that's accompanied by a fiddle, guitar, definitely a beer break, and maybe some step dancing. 

I printed out a copy of the lyrics to refresh my memory (even that double helix might need some retwisting, right? [oops: eh?]) and sang the last line of the chorus: "Fogo, Twillingate, Morton's Harbour; all around the circle." 

But I didn't really know what I was singing until the other month (!) when I read about the marvelous Zita Cobb and her extraordinary work on Newfoundland's Fogo Island.

Cobb, a child of the rock, established herself as a careerwoman in Ottawa, and returned to Newfoundland to found Shorefast, a foundation that is meant to breathe new artistic life into the craggy, beautiful cliffs of Fogo.

Part of her mission is to build artists' studios (see all these photos), where one can enter the Newfoundland landscape and create. 

So in honour of Zita Cobb, I'd like to rewrite the lyrics of "I's the B'y" (I'm the buddy) to reflect her contribution to the arts in Newfoundland and, indeed, in Atlantic Canada. 

Zita Cobb: "She's the g'll."

1 comment:

Valerie S. said...

I just wanted to say that I really enjoy reading your blog and have nominated you for a Liebster award over at my blog! Thanks for the wonderful posts!