I have often written about my appreciation for the CBC in its various forms. The fact that Canadians have a large national broadcaster, makes it possible for our creative people to find an outlet (there are of course other non-CBC channels, like Bravo, that follow a similar mandate). After changing direction a few years ago, CBC Radio 2, has embraced a very pro-Canada identity. From the Obama playlist to their most recent endeavour, The Great Canadian Song Quest, the folks at Radio 2 have been waving a giant Canadian flag at their listeners. Canada is a very patriotic country, despite assertions that we are much more passive then the United States or most other nations for that matter. Canadians beat their chests in more subtle, but no less constant ways, usually promoting our superiority in matters ranging from beer and comedy to health care and rates of violent crime.
As for The Great Canadian Song Quest, it seems to be a neat idea, similar to that of Sufjan Stevens’ Illinois and Michigan albums. The details are available here. Essentially, the plan is to pick 13 places in Canada and pair them with 13 songwriters to immortalize them in song. This is a potentially great idea on several levels. First, the idea of the CBC commissioning work for several Canadian artist is, in my opinion, exactly the sort of effort they should be involved with. Much like producing home-grown television programs, I’d like to see the CBC find opportunities like this one to promote the creation of Canadian music. Second, the outcome of this contest is bound to be at least a few enjoyable and/or fun songs about places in Canada. I can only hope some of the locations are obscure (think the Hip’s Bobcaygeon). Last, even though the listeners of Radio 2 is probably made up of people who already appreciate the breadth of contemporary Canadian music, a project like The Great Canadian Song Quest will draw wider attention to some unique talent. Although I will reserve judgment until the project is over, kudos to the folks at the CBC for dreaming it up.