IN CONVERSATION WITH BRUCE COCKBURN by By M.D. Dunn
Bruce Cockburn laughs a lot. It might surprise people familiar with only his
heavier songs or the many causes he has championed. He even makes jokes, clever
and funny jokes. His conversation is punctuated by belly laughs and a wit that
runs from dry and cutting to outright silliness. Truth is, this legendary songwriter doesn’t recognize his own legend.
Throughout his 50-year career, which he calls a “careen,” Cockburn has
participated in numerous grassroots actions: working to help ban landmines in
Mozambique and elsewhere, supporting the Haida and the Lubicon Cree in land
rights disputes, promoting sustainable farming, and witnessing the desperation
of refugees in Central America. Many of these concerns end up in his songs and
have perpetuated the image of a cold intellectual, a worldly and jaded observer of human folly.