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A Sigh and a Wish: Helen Creighton's Maritimes

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A Sigh and a Wish tells the story of pioneer folklorist Helen Creighton and of the enduring appeal of her remarkable collections of song and story. Creighton helped define Maritime culture as we know it. Thanks to her, folk songs moved out of the kitchens and the fishing boats into the mainstream. Top contemporary Maritime musicians--talents like Mary Jane Lamond and Lennie Gallant--describe how deeply they have been influenced by Creighton.

For 60 years, Creighton sought out ghost stories, superstitions and tales of buried treasure, as well as timeless songs handed down from generation to generation: fishing songs, work songs, love songs. "Farewell to Nova Scotia," which closed out CBC-TV's Sing Along Jubilee, is perhaps the most famous.

A Sigh and a Wish is a moving tribute to the genius of a self-taught folklorist and to the continuing strength of the deep oral traditions she helped preserve. But it also raises important questions. Does Creighton's collection truly reflect Maritime culture, or is it tinged by her own upper-middle-class assumptions?

2001, 73 min 54 s

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