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Sunday, December 7, 2014

What's up with What the Folk?

Hello Folkies!

You are probably wondering what the heck is happening with What the Folk?, our acoustic open mic sessions. Well, we are still on hiatus until at least the new year. Margo and I and the members of the Helen Creighton Folklore Society have been scouring our cities looking for a bigger venue that can accomodate 40-50 people comfortably, is listening friendly/ quiet enough for a listening crowd, acoustically appropriate for a 'no mic open mic', provides refreshments and is willing to partner with a non profit society.  We are currently checking out a couple of spots that look promising, so please be patient a little bit longer.
Margo and I are missing our folk night fixes so very much, and we are sure you are too. Hopefully it won't be much longer.

In the meantime, have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
See you soon,

Cindy and Margo.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

October Events! Helen Creighton Folklore Society

Hi gang,

Summer has gone by way too quickly and the absence of WTF! is making us restless but Fall has some interesting things happening that just may fill the void.

The Helen Creighton Folklore Society has a few programs going on in October to celebrate 25 years of our involvement with the annual ghost story writing competition. These programs can be found in the current library guide.

25 Years of Ghosts! : Songs, Stories, Folklore

Families/Ages 7+

The Helen Creighton Folklore Society’s musicians, singers, and storytellers celebrate 25 years of ghost stories! The Society members will tell, sing or perform 25 songs, stories, and folklore bits in this 1 hour program for families and for adults who dare to attend. Not for the faint of heart!

Alderney Gate Public Library Sunday, October 19/2:30 pm.

How to Craft a Scary Tale

All ages

Maritime Folk Series Workshop with Cindy Campbell Stone.

Youth leaders, campfire storytellers, film makers, and writers... iit all starts with   a tale well told.

Tantallon Public Library Saturday, October 4/2:00 pm-3:00 pm

Registration required

Maritime Folklore Series: The Supernatural!            

2-part session with Margo Carruthers

Supernatural songs and stories, superstitions, folklore, and a bit of Gaelic too!

Alderney Gate

Wednesday, October 22/7:00 pm & Wednesday, October 29/7:00 pm

Haunting Encounters

with Cindy Campbell Stone

Ages 9+

What kinds of ‘things’ go bump in the night? Hear stories that may make your heart pound, your blood curdle, and the hair stand up on the back of your neck.

 Tantallon Public Library Saturday, October 25/2:00 pm


The Helen Creighton Folklore Society with support from the U.S. Embassy is presenting a series of events with the legendary Geoff Kaufmann on October 23,24 and 26. Geoff is known internationally for his work at Mystic Seaport organizing the annual sea music festival. He is the program director for music at the museum but is also an accomplished musician, singer, songwriter and historian.

On Thursday, October 23, Geoff will be the featured performer at the Rose and Kettle Concert Sessions. A great evening of sea music starting at 7pm.

On Friday, October 24 at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic at 7pm, Geoff will present his one-man show "So Long from Home: A Connecticut War of 1812 Tale in Prose and Song” based on the diary of Benjamin Franklin Palmer, a United States privateer taken prisoner in the War of 1812 who kept a detailed diary of his experiences here at Melville Island Prison and subsequent detention at Dartmoor Prison in England. This event is being held in collaboration with the Company of Friends at the Maritime Museum.  Earlier in the day at 1 pm, Geoff will be conducting a workshop on the application of music to heritage interpretation.

On Sunday, October 26 at 2 pm, Geoff will be presenting a program reflecting spirituality at sea called "Natural Reflections" at All Saints Cathedral in Halifax.

I hope that you will find something of interest here to tempt you out of the house and into the company of other WTF! friends looking to reconnect after this very long hiatus.

Margo and Cindy

Singing Storytellers Symposium - part of Celtic Colours

Singing Storytellers Symposium - October 9-12th 2014


***THURSDAY, October 9th: James McConnell Memorial Library 50 Falmouth Street, Sydney (downtown). 10:00 am – 4:00 pm***

Registration: 9:00 am Thursday October 9th: James McConnell Memorial Library.

SPECIAL EXHIBIT - 9:00 am – 4:00 pm: Bringing Storytellers to the Screen Through The Films of Vincent Moon / Ely Rosenblum, ART/E/FACT, University of Cambridge

MAIN LIBRARY – Workshops and lecture-demonstrations

10:00 am -10:40 am: Come From Every Way: Canadian Songs of Immigration and Survival / Anne Lederman.

10:45 am – 11:25 pm: A Scottish town in five songs / David Scott, University of the West of Scotland.

11:30 am – 12:10 pm: The Storyteller Who Stopped in the Middle: Bringing Research Present / Kira Van Deusen.

12:15 pm – 12:55 pm: Hootenanny Tonite: Pete Seeger – American Troubadour – the early years / Leo Feinstein.

1:00 pm – 1:40 pm: Orality and Poetry: Cultivating Melody, Metre, and Memory in the Storytelling Body / Shauntay Grant, University of British Columbia.

1:45 pm – 2:25 pm: One Epic, Two Traditions: A Performance of Nepalese Epic Singing / Pushpa Raj Acharya, University of Alberta.

2:30 pm – 3:10 pm: The Musical Structures in 10th Century Chinese Storytelling Performance / Pengfei Wang, University of Alberta.

3:15 pm – 3:55 pm: The Wild Woman Archetype: From Fairy Tales and Myths to Song / Rita di Ghent, York University.

PROGRAM ROOM – Presentations and Papers

10:00 am – 11:00 am: “Every force evolves a form”: the mediatization of Scotland’s bardic tradition with reference to Sorley MacLean and Hamish Henderson (paper/film screening/workshop) / Kathryn A. Burnett and Tony Grace, University of the West of Scotland.

11:00 – 11:30 am: Digital Technology and a Changing Folk Music Mediascape (paper/performance) / Wayne Hansen, University of New Brunswick, Saint John.

11:30 am – 12:00 pm: Arash the Archer: A Persian Operatic Narration (paper) / Afarin Mansouri Tehrani, York University.

12:00 pm – 1:00 pm: Feature Presentation: Sing as if narrating, narrate as if singing: A Literary Duet / Gary Geddes and Ann Eriksson.

1:00 pm – 2:30 pm: Singing and Storytelling: Creativity, Healing and Empowerment in Indigenous Communities (workshop session).

  • Dancing in My Bones / Daya Madhur, University of Alberta

  • The Impact of Music / Donovan Shirt, iHuman Youth Society

  •  Tunes and Talk: Journey of Healing / Michael MacInnis and William Herney

2:30 pm – 4:00 pm: Storytelling in Popular Song (paper presentation session)

  •  Surgical Crimes: The Transhumanism of Jonathan Coulton / Todd Pettigrew, Cape Breton University

  • Tradition and Authorship in Contemporary Cowboy Songs / Gillian Turnbull, Ryerson University

  • “The day may come when the paper rolls no more”: Singing the Industrial Heritage and Legacy of Newfoundland / Janice Tulk, Cape Breton University

* * * * *

***THURSDAY October 9th 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm – Sydney Curling Club, 619 George Street, Sydney (downtown) - SPECIAL SESSION***

“A Life in Song and Story”

Matthew Allen’s documentary film on the life of famed traditional Irish singer Seán Ó Sé will be screened at this session, as well as a presentation from Seán Ó Sé himself. The session will conclude with a question and answer period moderated by Lillis Ó Laoire, National University of Ireland, Galway.

  •  Seán Ó Sé: A Life in Song and Story / Saol Caite le hAmhrain agus Scealta (Documentary Film) / Matthew Allen, Wheaton College

  •  Abair Amhran: Say Me a Song / Seán Ó Sé

  •  Lillis Ó Laoire, National University of Ireland, Galway (Moderator)

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Hello folks!

Hope you all had a great summer!
Margo and I have some news about What the Folk! nights. Mike has sold Chebucto Coffee and there is now a new owner, Albert, who is very busy doing renovations. Given that the cafe is under construction, and that the Helen Creighton Folklore Society has events in October, WTF will be taking a short haitus. We hope to resume in November, but stay tuned!

We will update the Helen Creighton events here on this blog post, and will post anything new about WTF as soon as we hear anything.

To any and all WTF musicians, singers and storytellers, now is your chance to learn new material, or learn a new instrument to WOW us all at the next WTF!!!

In the meantime,to get your folk music fix, you can always come out to the Cole Harbour Farm Museum on Thursdays at 7pm for the folksy Rose and Kettle Concert Sessions starting on October 16th.

See you soon,
Cindy and Margo
WTF hosts,
Helen Creighton Folklore Society

Monday, June 23, 2014

A Wildlife Vet with Great Stories!

A Willdlife Vet in Africa

Jerry Haigh, a Kenya-born, Glasgow educated, Saskatoon-based wildlife veterinarian will share pictures, footage and real life and folk stories of his experiences with species ranging from giraffe, rhino, lions and primates to having safari ants up his shorts and work with AIDS orphans living in national parks in Uganda.

Wednesday, June 25th


Chebucto Coffee

6430 Chebucto Road, Halifax

Admission by Free Will Donation to support the continuing wildlife rescue work of the Hope for Wildlife Society

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

WTF! What the Folk! Superstition.

Well gang... it's June and we now have only two more WTF! nights left before we disappear to wherever we all go during the lazy hazy crazy days of summer. And speaking of crazy... let's GO crazy brave and thumb all our noses at... triskaidekaphobia!!!!
Since this WTF! night happens to fall on Friday the 13th, under a full moon no less, the theme absolutely has to reflect this rare convergence of influences. And since Cindy will be away at the Mystic Seaport Sea Music Festival... I, as solo host, can do whatever I want... Oh! the power!... and so the theme shall be...
At considerable personal risk...
For one night only Chebucto Coffee has been officially declared a triskaidekaphobia-free zone
Now I realize that the storytellers amongst us likely won't have a problem with the theme but for most of you singers, it may pose a dilemma. So rather than have you stay home out of fear of theme failure... I am throwing out a challenge and a chance for you to...
Wait! Wait! Wait! Curb your enthusiasm! Puhleease!
I didn't say 'stomp' the host although I can understand the temptation.
Bring anything you want. If your song or story does not contain an actual superstition... I, armed with nothing more than my wits... Stop that! It's rude to laugh at other people's misfortunes... and Helen Creighton's Bluenose Magic... must find an element within your song or story that has a superstition attached and share it with you. If I fail to do so... then you have stumped the host and may be eligible for an allegedly fabulous prize... should you be brave enough to accept it :)
So... with Cindy transported off ... into the mystic ...... while the brat's away... the louse will play.
The timing of Friday the 13th a coincidence? I think not :)


Warning from Cindy:
I am sorry ( or maybe relieved) I won't be there, but seeing that it is Friday the Thirteenth, the words of George Elliot: " ...superstitions carry consequences which often verfiy their hope or their foreboding".

WTF! is an artistic outreach program of the Helen Creighton Folklore Society. We meet every second and fourth Friday of the month at CHEBUCTO COFFEE, 6430 Chebucto Road, corner of Chebucto & Kline in Halifax where Mike's extraordinary culinary fare is approaching legendary status. Come early for a bite and stay for the entertainment which starts around 6:30 and goes until 9:00ish. As always... admission is by free-will donation towards the Society's work.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Lady in the Lighthouse: The Catherine Gallagher Story

Cindy Campbell Stone presents the story and songs of Catherine Gallagher ( Mrs Edward Gallagher), the lighthouse keepers’ wife, who lived in the lighthouse at Chebucto Head at the mouth of Halifax Harbour from 1928-1950. A former school teacher, Catherine raised a family, and assisted in the war effort while living next door to a WWII barracks.
Catherine Gallagher (Mrs. Edward Gallagher) was one of the primary tradition bearers who worked with Dr. Helen Creighton. Her life changed when many of her songs were published by Helen and she became a performer on radio and in concerts for many years afterwards.

Friday, May 30: 12 noon-1pm

Spring Garden Road Library, program room

Cindy will focus on Catherine's life in story, song and a few photos. 

Tuesday, June 3: 7:30 pm

Maritime Museum of the Atlantic
In this ‘live-performance style' program and slide show presentation , Cindy will focus on Catherine’s sea songs and ballads. Four of these songs, Chesapeake and the Shannon ( War of 1812), Henry Martyn (privateers), The Broken Ring (sailors’ promise) and The Golden Vanity (power and greed at sea), can be found on the Songs of the Sea CD featuring traditional singers and field recordings from the Helen Creighton Collection (available for purchase).

Here is the link to the MMA website, and the Library website under Local History and Geneaology: Maritime Folklore Series.

For more information, contact Cindy at
Helen Creighton Folklore Society:

Thursday, May 22, 2014

WTF! - Yes, Dear! with guest hosts Martha and Paul Healy

Hi gang,
'Tis Spring... and to quote Tennyson... "In the Spring a young man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love." Poor sot!
And once Summer fades and the bloom is off the rose... then what? Perhaps "... the winter of our discontent...?"
All will be revealed on Friday, May 23rd... as WTF! explores the ins & outs of relationships... husbands & wives... significant others... friends with benefits... a plethora of coupling & as is currently trendy... uncoupling.
Please join our funny, flirty, fearless husband & wife Tag Team...
... as they take their gloves off for the battle of the sexes.
Announcer: In this corner wearing the pants of the family... Martha Healy. And cowering in the other corner... wearing nothing but subservience but rocking the look :) ... the underdog... the always underfoot now that he's retired... PAUL Healy.
[The bell rings] Round One.
Martha: Paul, are you going to...
Paul:  YES, DEAR!
Martha: Paul, didn't we decide that you would...
Paul:  YES, DEAR!
Martha: Paul, will you be so kind as to...
Paul:  YES, DEAR!

So... if you have a relationship tale, we'd love to hear it. But... if you are too shy, too embarrassed or too afraid of reprisals to tell a true tale... you can always tell someone else's story or sing someone else's song about a relationship gone awry or perhaps miraculously gone right or maybe it was just plain gone from the get go :)

AND AS AN ADDED BONUS... from 5:30 - 7:00... you can treat your partner to a pre-folk BBQ. Mike will be grilling ribs, burgers, chicken on a stick.... mmmm! The perfect entree before your PRICKLY PAIR just desserts :)
Xo Margo
* with sincere apologies to Willie the Bard for taking GLOUCESTER'S words out of context
WTF! is an artistic outreach program of the Helen Creighton Folklore Society. We meet every second and fourth Friday of the month at CHEBUCTO COFFEE, 6430 Chebucto Road, corner of Chebucto & Kline in Halifax where Mike's extraordinary culinary fare is approaching legendary status. Come early for a bite and stay for the entertainment which starts around 6:30 and goes until 9:00ish. As always... admission is by free-will donation towards the Society's work.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Folklore Series at the Library! with Cindy Campbell Stone of the Helen Creighton Folklore Society

Maritime Folklore Series: Supernatural Encounters

with Cindy Campbell Stone, storyteller & balladeer
Explore Dr. Helen Creighton’s work in folklore and its importance to cultural history. In partnership with Helen Creighton Folklore Society.
Hear stories and a song or two about some of the most intense supernatural experiences from past to present. This two part series features “Bluenose Ghosts”, by Helen Creighton and other encounters.
Spring Garden Rd. Memorial
Friday, May 16/12:00 pm
Adult » Local History & Genealogy
Maritime Folklore Series: The Singing Woman of Chebucto Head
with Cindy Campbell Stone, storyteller & balladeer
Explore Dr. Helen Creighton’s work in folklore and its importance to cultural history. In partnership with Helen Creighton Folklore Society.
The tale and songs come to life as you hear about Catherine Gallagher, who lived at Chebucto Head Lighthouse from 1928- 1950 where she raised a family and was a main informant for Helen Creighton.
Spring Garden Rd. Memorial
Friday, May 30/12:00 pm

Monday, May 5, 2014

The Lady In The Lighthouse: The Catherine Gallagher Story by Cindy Campbell Stone

WTF! Pete Seeger Celebration with Clary Croft.

WTF: What The Folk
Friday May 9th
Chebucto Coffee, 6430 Chebucto Road
6:30 gathering, 7pm performance

Peter "Pete" Seeger (May 3, 1919 – January 27, 2014) was an American folk singer and activist. A fixture on nationwide radio in the 1940s, he also had a string of hit records during the early 1950s as a member of The Weavers, most notably their recording of Lead Belly's "Goodnight Irene", which topped the charts for 13 weeks in 1950. Members of the Weavers were blacklisted during the McCarthy Era. In the 1960s, Pete re-emerged on the public scene as a prominent singer of protest music in support of international disarmament, civil rights, counterculture and environmental causes. 

A prolific songwriter, his best-known songs include "Where Have All the Flowers Gone?" (with Joe Hickerson), "If I Had A Hammer / The Hammer Song" (with Lee Hays of The Weavers), and "Turn!Turn!Turn!" (lyrics adapted from Ecclesiastes). All have been recorded by many artists both in and outside the folk revival movement and are sung throughout the world.
Pete was one of the folksingers most responsible for popularizing the spiritual "We Shall Overcome" (also recorded by Joan Baez and many other singer-activists) that became the acknowledged anthem of the 1960s American Civil Rights Movement. In the PBS American Masters episode "Pete Seeger: The Power of Song", Pete stated that it was he who changed the lyric from the traditional "We will overcome" to the more singable "We shall overcome".

Pete Seeger died on January 27, 2014, at the age of 94. According to his grandson, Kitama Cahill-Jackson, Pete died peacefully in his sleep around 9:30 p.m. at New York's Presbyterian Hospital, where he had been for six days. Family members were with him at the time of his death. Cahill-Jackson said Pete was still as active as ever, out chopping wood ten days prior to his death.

In a moving tribute, President Barack Obama noted that Pete had been called "America's tuning fork" and that he believed in "the power of song" to bring social change, "Over the years, Pete used his voice and his hammer to strike blows for workers' rights and civil rights; world peace and environmental conservation, and he always invited us to sing along."

So... on Friday, May 9th... WTF! invites you to do just that! Join us please in a celebration of the life & legacy of Pete Seeger. Bring a Pete song or a story; maybe a song or story inspired by Pete and we'll pass the night in good company remembering Pete, reminiscing, laughing and best of all... lustily singing along.
Oh... and who better to lead us in this WTF! tribute to a man of unflinching integrity than our own man of unflinching integrity...


... who actually met Pete and has some fascinating tales to tell. And a little black bird told me that there will be a world-premiere theatrical event involving Pete taking place on our WTF! stage too. Seating space will be at a premium but in the spirit of Pete... WE SHALL OVERCOME :) 


"For reminding us where we come from and showing us where we need to go, we will always be grateful to Pete Seeger".

WTF! is an artistic outreach program of the Helen Creighton Folklore Society. We meet every second and fourth Friday of the month at CHEBUCTO COFFEE, 6430 Chebucto Road, corner of Chebucto & Kline in Halifax where Mike's extraordinary culinary fare is approaching legendary status. Come early for a bite and stay for the entertainment which starts around 6:30 and goes until 9:00ish. As always... admission is by free-will donation towards the Society's work.

WTF: Normal or abnormal hosts: Cindy Campbell Stone and Margo Carruthers, Helen Creighton Folklore Society,

Monday, April 21, 2014

Songs for the Season and Stories Too! with Bill Plaskett

Hi all,

First off... last week's guest hosts... Morris and Mr. Moose wish to convey their most sincere appreciation to all those who shared the night of Fun & Games with them. They were particularly delighted with the success of their intro number from the Broadway musical Gypsy. Who among us will ever forget the Meese's high spirited rendition of Together, Wherever We Go? And the rest is hilarious history :)

This week, on Friday, April 25th WTF! welcome a singular Guest Host... last year's Knight of the Living Trad... the always affable  Mr. Bill Plaskett  who sent me the following:

"And theme-wise, maybe we can go for something like ... the Knight of the Living Trad has thrown away his silly hat and says simply... 

let's have a good old sing up, with Songs for the Season and Stories Too!
... taking a cue from the likes of Owain Phyffe: , the Clancy Brothers: these little guys: you fancy".

You gotta love Bill! He's organized! He left me verily speechless! A veritable blessing in disguise for all of you who havelong suffered through my verbosity :)

He even sent a pic. See below... your man of the evening (without his Knight's hat).

In the immortal words of Stevie Wonder... "Isn't he lovely? Isn't he wonderful?" :)

Xo Margo

WTF! is an artistic outreach program of the Helen Creighton Folklore Society. We meet every second and fourth Friday of the month at CHEBUCTO COFFEE, 6430 Chebucto Road, corner of Chebucto & Kline in Halifax where Mike's extraordinary culinary fare is approaching legendary status. Come early for a bite and stay for the entertainment which starts around 6:30 and goes until 9:00ish. As always... admission is by free-will donation towards the Society's work.

On The Outside of The Mines by Alexis White

On the Outside of the Mines: Songs of Coal Folk
with Alexis White
A sense of coal mining in North America, from the early 1900s to the 1970s, is presented primarily from the perspective of coal miners’ families. Through seven songs, unique contexts allow for discussion about family life, financial strains, death, and unionization. In partnership with the Helen Creighton Folklore Society
Alderney Gate
Wednesday, April 23/7:00 pm

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Rosalie Peppard and The Living Titanic!

Live Event:

Titanic 102nd Anniversary Commemoration Events:

The Society welcomes you on April 13th at Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, 1675 Lower Water Street, Halifax from 1 – 4 pm, as we commemorate the 102nd anniversary of the Titanic tragedy. Events include ‘Our Collections: A Presentation of Members’ Titanic-related Memorabilia Collections; Living Titanic, performed by Rosalee Peppard as Titanic survivor Hilda Mary Slayter; and film premiere of City of the Dead: Halifax and the Titanic Disaster. For further details, contact Dee Ryan-Meister, TSAC President (902) 489-9229. — at  Maritime Museum of the Atlantic.

is professionally affiliated with
Titanic Society of Atlantic Canada
Twitter: @TitanicSociety
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Rosalee Peppard, Champion of maritime Women's History


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