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A Landmine Free World

by Rob Caldwell

The Mines of Mozambique - The Charity of Night     

In 1995 Bruce Cockburn wrote “The Mines of Mozambique,” a song which helped call attention to the plight of Mozambicans dealing with the aftermath of almost 30 years of war: a war of independence from Portugal and an even longer civil war. Wars which left the country riddled with unexploded landmines inflicting injury and death whenever men, women and children stepped, unawares, on them. It took over 20 years of work, but in September 2015 it was announced that the last landmine was removed.

The Coming Rains - The Charity of Night     

“The Mines of Mozambique” (along with a good chunk of “The Coming Rains“) was composed on the night of September 11, 1995 in a hotel room in Quelimane, Mozambique while Bruce was on a fact-finding tour at the invitation of charitable organization Cooperation Canada Mozambique (COCAMO). It wasn’t his first time in the country. He had been there 7 years earlier when COCAMO asked him to Mozambique to help them generate support for a hunger-relief program. At that time the country was still in the grip of civil war and he was very restricted in his movements around the countryside, being shuffled from city to city.

Between that time and when he returned, the war ended and the International Campaign to Ban Landmines was founded in 1992. De-mining efforts were well underway, but moving slowly due to the dangerous conditions of the job. In a 1997 interview in Pause and Play, Bruce said,

“It was a country at peace when I went there, but the effects of war were everywhere. Landmines are almost like an evil spiritual part of the landscape, like some kind of mythical ogre that’s under your bed when you’re a kid and you’re afraid to step down onto the floor at night. People just simply walking or driving down the road and who have to take a leak, they have to think before they make any moves. They have to remember to leak on the road and not wander off into the bushes or they might be killed by a landmine. And the children can’t be children and venture off to play. The landmines are everywhere.”

Similar to the way his earlier song “If I Had a Rocket Launcher” came about, he witnessed the situation and then distilled those experiences into words and music. “The Mines of Mozambique” was “not an attempt to address the issues of land mines, but it reflects the atmosphere in a country that’s infested with them,” he explained in an interview on Portland, Oregon’s KINK FM. The track was included on The Charity of Night, issued in February, 1997. Yet, it had become a standard part of his shows immediately following his return from Mozambique in 1995, and would remain in his set lists for years after. To give context and to raise awareness of the landmines crisis, Bruce usually preceded performances of the song with a spoken introduction.

The opportunity to publicize and build awareness of the landmines issue even more directly came in the fall of 1995, immediately following his return from Mozambique. It was during that time that he embarked on a cross-North America speaking tour with Mozambican singer Chude Mondlane and the executive director of COCAMO, Michael O’Connor. The last stop on the tour was a visit to Canada’s Parliament to meet with leaders about instituting a landmine ban and to hold a press conference on the issue. In his autobiography, Rumours of Glory, Bruce describes how he was given five sample, inert landmines to use in his presentation. He brought them into the parliament building and startled all present, including security staff, when he placed them on the table to illustrate his comments. This caused a bit of a problem when he returned later in the day and he was promptly surrounded by security agents and questioned about the mines. As he writes in the book, “I was earnestly admonished not to bring them with me again.”

Due to the efforts of Bruce and many others around the world, on December 3, 1997 the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention was signed by 122 countries in Ottawa, Ontario. It became known as the Ottawa Treaty and banned the production, stockpiling and use of landmines. Since then, 39 additional nations have joined the treaty. Unfortunately, there are still those, including the United States, who have not signed on.

Even though the treaty signified a marked reduction in new landmines, there were (and are) still millions in the ground internationally. Mine removal was still ongoing in Mozambique and in 2013 the U.N. estimated there were still more than two million in the country. Due to continued diligence and unwavering effort, however, the humanitarian and demining organization HALO Trust declared Mozambique mine free two years later. People can now safely farm, can safely walk and drive wherever they want to, and the continually rising burden on health care due to landmine injury has been stemmed.

The landmine problem is over for now in Mozambique, but continues in other parts of the world. The issue is still one of great importance to Bruce and he devoted a generous part of his autobiography to an examination of landmine issues. In 2000 he told the Tucson Weekly,

“For me, it’s all one big issue. All of these things are aspects of how we treat each other and how we relate to the nature of which we are part. Anytime I can address any of those aspects, I’m happy to do it. It’s all really about human dignity and human survival.”

Related Links:


Recording Session – Toronto – Union Sound Company

Bruce and Colin Linden were in Toronto, Ontario for the Canadian Folk Music Awards in early December. They then continued working on the new album, doing some recording at Union Sound Company, with Gary Craig and Roberto Occhipinti.

Here’s a photo from Chris Stringer’s Facebook page:

Gary Craig - Chris Stringer - Colin Linden - Bruce Cockburn - Union Sound Company - Toronto
Gary Craig – Chris Stringer – Colin Linden – Bruce Cockburn – Toronto, ON – December 2016

Roberto Occhipinti
Roberto Occhipinti

Photo by Gary Craig

For more Recording session articles start here – Prairie Sun Studio – Day 1

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Recording Session – Nashville studio with Colin Linden

Yesterday, December 10, Bruce was in Nashville with Colin Linden working on his new album. During this session, Bruce’s nephew, JohnAaron Cockburn was adding in some accordian. Here are a few photos Bruce sent along, taken by Colin Linden.

Bruce Cockburn & JohnAaron Cockburn - Nashville 2016
Bruce Cockburn & JohnAaron Cockburn – Nashville 2016
Bruce Cockburn & JohnAaron Cockburn - Nashville 2016
Bruce Cockburn & JohnAaron Cockburn – Nashville 2016
Bruce Cockburn & JohnAaron Cockburn - Nashville 2016
Bruce Cockburn & JohnAaron Cockburn – Nashville 2016

Also in today’s session, Mary Gauthier put down some vocal tracks. (photo from her Instagram account)

Bruce Cockburn & Mary Gauthier - Nashville 2016
Bruce Cockburn & Mary Gauthier – Nashville 2016

For more Recording session articles start here – Prairie Sun Studio – Day 1


Bruce Cockburn to host 2017 JUNO Songwriters’ Circle at National Arts Centre in Ottawa

March 24, 2017 – The JUNO Songwriters’ Circle has been moved to Southam Hall and there are tickets available. Ticketmaster.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – November 22, 2016 –
Tickets to ‘Jewel of JUNO Week’ benefiting MusiCounts are ON SALE NOW!

TORONTO, ON – The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS) announced today that Ottawa native, 12-time JUNO Award winner, Canadian Music Hall of Fame inductee, and music legend Bruce Cockburn will host and perform at the 2017 JUNO Songwriters’ Circle, to be held in the NAC Theatre at the National Arts Centre on Sunday, April 2, 2017 from 12pm to 2pm EST.

Bruce Cockburn hosting 2017 JUNO SongWriters' Circle

Update March 13, 2017 – The rest of the lineup for the Juno Songwriters’ Circle has been announced.

Joining previously announced host Bruce Cockburn, the Ottawa-born songwriting icon, on stage at the National Arts Centre theatre on April 2 are six of this year’s nominees: Chantal Kreviazuk, who’s vying for the best adult contemporary album, blues nominee Colin Linden, Daniel Caesar, up for R&B/soul recording of the year, songwriter-of-the-year contender Donovan Woods, contemporary-roots hopeful Lisa LeBlanc and Wintersleep’s Paul Murphy, whose band is competing for adult alternative album of the year.

The Songwriters’ Circle has been moved to Southham Hall and you can buy tickets at – Ticketmaster. You can hear the concert on CBC radio in the coming weeks. The first set will be broadcast at 2 p.m. April 7 on CBC Radio 1 and 7 p.m. April 10 on CBC Radio 2. The second set airs at 2 p.m. April 14 on Radio 1 and at 7 p.m. April 17 on Radio 2.

Money raised goes to MusiCounts, the music education charity that supplies music students with instruments.

lsaxberg@postmedia.com

Credit: OttawaCitizen.com – Lynn Saxberg@postmedia.com.

JUNO Songwriters’ Circle is an intimate and interactive concert benefiting MusiCounts, Canada’s music education charity associated with CARAS that works to keep music alive in schools and communities across Canada. Co-presented by SOCAN (The Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers) and Yamaha Canada Music, in association with the Canadian Music Publishers Association, this event is considered the “Jewel of JUNO Week,” and will feature some of Canada’s most talented songwriters, performing their songs and sharing the stories behind them.

Tickets to the 2017 JUNO Songwriters’ Circle go on sale on November 24 at 10am EST at www.ticketmaster.ca, the National Art Center Box Office or by phone at 1-888-991-2787. Tickets are available for $49.50 and $59.50 (plus taxes and service fees), with proceeds supporting MusiCounts.

“I’m honoured to have been asked to host the Songwriters’ Circle during JUNO Week 2017 in Ottawa. This one-of-a-kind showcase will offer people a unique look into the raw emotions and art of storytelling that come with songwriting,” said Cockburn. “I’m also pleased to participate in an event that supports MusiCounts and the work they do for school music programs across the country. These programs have a huge impact on fostering our future artists and developing a creative youth within Canada.”

JUNO Songwriters’ Circle will be available for streaming through CBCMusic.ca and will also be broadcast on CBC Radio One and CBC Radio 2. Dates to be announced in the new year.


Recording Session – Prairie Sun Studio – Day 5

We have two photos from the last day of the recording session, thanks Daniel Keebler.

Bruce Cockburn - players & staff Prairie Sun Recording Studio - 18 November 2016
Bruce Cockburn with players and staff at Prairie Sun Recording Studio
Gary Craig - studio - 18 November 2016
Gary Craig & his biggest fan 🙂 – at Prairie Sun Recording Studio with Bruce Cockburn

Recording Session Links:

Update: 25 November 2016:
In The Studio with Bruce – Daniel’s photos and commentary from the Prairie Sun Recording Sessions.

 

Recording Session – Prairie Sun Studio – Day 4

Two more songs were recorded on day 4.
This photo from Daniel Keebler, shows Bruce and the band Colin Linden, Gary Craig and John Dymond, and Ron Miles, giving a listen back to one of the songs they are working on.

Bruce Cockburn & band mates - Prairie Sun Recording Studio - 17 November 2016
Bruce Cockburn & band mates – Prairie Sun Recording Studio – 17 November 2016
Bruce Cockburn & band mates - Prairie Sun Recording Studio - 17 November 2016
Ron Miles – Colin Linden – John Dymond – Bruce Cockburn – Gary Craig
Bruce Cockburn & Colin Linden at Prairie Sun Studios in Cotati 17 November 2016
Bruce Cockburn & Colin Linden at Prairie Sun Studios in Cotati 17 November 2016

Recording Session Links:

Update: 25 November 2016:
In The Studio with Bruce – Daniel’s photos and commentary from the Prairie Sun Recording Sessions.

 

Recording Session – Prairie Sun Studio – Day 3

Day three of the new album recording has Ron Miles on trumpet joining Bruce, Colin Linden, Gary Craig and John Dymond. Three songs were recorded today.

Photos from todays session courtesy of Daniel Keebler.

Bruce Cockburn - studio - 16 November 2016
Bruce Cockburn – studio – 16 November 2016
Ron Miles - trumpet
Ron Miles – studio – 16 November 2016

Recording Session Links:

Update: 25 November 2016:
In The Studio with Bruce – Daniel’s photos and commentary from the Prairie Sun Recording Sessions.

 

Recording Session – Prairie Sun Studio – Day 2

Bruce is in his second day of recording at Prairie Sun Studio, two songs yesterday and two today. Daniel Keebler sent along these photos from todays session.

Bruce Cockburn - studio - 15 November 2016
Bruce Cockburn – studio – 15 November 2016
Bruce Cockburn - studio - 15 November 2016
Bruce Cockburn – studio – 15 November 2016

Recording Session Links:

Update: 25 November 2016:
In The Studio with Bruce – Daniel’s photos and commentary from the Prairie Sun Recording Sessions.

 

Recording Session – Prairie Sun Studio – Day 1

As we mentioned here, Bruce is back in the studio recording, at Prairie Sun Recording Studio, along with Colin Linden – guitars & production, Gary Craig – drums & percussion and John Dymond – bass.

We have some photos to share courtesy of Daniel Keebler.

(Click on photo for a larger photo slideshow to appear.)

Recording Session Links:
Prairie Sun Studios – Cotati, CA

Update: 25 November 2016:
In The Studio with Bruce – Daniel’s photos and commentary from the Prairie Sun Recording Sessions.

December:
Prairie Sun Recording Studios Newsletter

Toronto:
Recording with Gary Craig, Roberto Occhipinti and Colin Linden

Nashville:
Recording with JohnAaron Cockburn, Mary Gauthier, Colin Linden

 

Bruce Cockburn Back In Recording Studio

For the first time since 2010’s “Small Source of Comfort”, Bruce Cockburn is back in the studio recording album number 33!

True North Records is aiming to release the album in 2017 but exactly when, is not yet known. The album will be produced by Colin Linden and be recorded in several studios throughout North America.

The album will contain all new songs written by Bruce.

Bruce Cockburn - 23 April 2015 - photo Daniel Keebler

Small Source of Comfort” won the 2011 Juno for Best Roots Album as well as two awards from the Canadian Folk Music Awards / Prix de musique folk canadienne and was well received world-wide.

Bruce has written more than 300 songs on 32 albums over a career spanning 45 years. Twenty-four Cockburn records have received a Canadian gold or platinum certification as of 2013, including most recently 6 times platinum for his Christmas album.

Credit: True North Records
Photo: Daniel Keebler

You can view new photos from the current studio recording HERE.


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