Before Canadian East Coast music hit the national/international scene, we locals had been enjoying it for years. I remember sitting in a small auditorium, feeling the power of the audience singing along to “We Are an Island.”
The song is Cape Breton Island’s unofficial anthem. Cape Breton is a large, beautiful island on the north-eastern tip of Nova Scotia, and many of its sons and daughters have “gone down the road” to find employment. Like the other Atlantic Canadians, they’ve taken their music with them.
Singing along, caught up in the longing for home even though I was home, I found myself wishing for my own musical links. Yes, Nova Scotia has its own unofficial anthems but lovely as they are, they don’t resonate that way with me. And I’m blessed to be still living in my native province.
Songs of home implies the love and longing for a place we can’t yet be. Like the East Coast music to a displaced Maritimer or Newfoundlander. Like the songs the Israelites sang in the Babylonian captivity.
Not that I ever wanted to be exiled or homesick! But when you listen to the songs, there’s a sense of unity, of belonging. A sense of something bigger than the individual.
Years later, I know I’ve found my songs of home, and they’re everything I thought they’d be.
I’ve stood in crowds of concertgoers, united in our longing for God, singing worship songs led by the Newsboys, Robin Mark, Steven Curtis Chapman, David Crowder. I’ve stood in smaller congregations on Sunday mornings, singing songs of home led by worship teams or solo musicians. And I’ve sung along to my mp3 player when only God was listening.
What are some of your songs of home?
This one is a heart-tugger, Janet. Special lyrics and melodies touch us in unique ways. Looking toward the east early in the day, “When morning gilds the skies…” sings on the inside of me.
Beautiful song! My early-morning-sunshine one is “When I fall on my knees, with my face to the rising sun…” although I usually stay standing 🙂 Music has a huge impact on our lives, and I’m glad.