Log Driver’s Waltz

January 31, 2012 on 7:37 pm by Michael Grey | In News, Random Thoughts, Video | Comments Off on Log Driver’s Waltz

Here’s a nice sample of Canadian folk music – or a kind of a Canadian folk music: Wade Hemsworth’s bouncy, cheerful “Log Driver’s Waltz”. Produced by the National Film Board of Canada in 1979 this little “vignette” as the NFB calls it, has become an iconic bit of Canada’s cultural flotsam and jetsam.

The song is sung by Kate and Anna McGarrigle, the famous Montreal-born sisters with a spooky knack for crazy-clean harmonies. Kate is the mother of Rufus Wainright (who does a great version of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”, by the way).

Checkout timing mark 01:00 and catch the lyric “…for he goes birling down and down the white water..”.

“Birling”, you’ll know, is the spinning and moving forward of the logs in the water (and is, in fact, now a sport!) but note that birling is an old Scots word for rotating or to move rapidly – the kind of thing pipers’ pinky fingers do in the closing parts of Donald MacLeod’s “Crossing the Minch”. 🙂


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