Books: Vancouverite’s Traveler a tribute to the healing power of music

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Author/musician Barry Truter’s new book is a welcome reminder of past pleasures for those who grew up loving folk music and a delightful introduction to the genre for new audiences.

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Voyageur: Stories and Songs in the Key to Connection

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Barry Truter | a “Beat Root volume” (2021)

$25 | 93pp.


Do you remember folk music? There was a time in living memory when folk music – especially in its urban, politicized form – was the soundtrack to many lives, resounding in cafes and song circles, on picket lines and at festivals. events like the annual Vancouver Folk Music Festival.

Unfortunately, pandemic caution has canceled many of these festivals and smaller events. It would indeed be a sad loss if COVID permanently cost us live folk music along with so many other experiences of joyful human solidarity.

Vancouver-based author and musician Barry Truter’s new book, Traveller: Stories and Songs in the Key of Connection, will be a welcome reminder of past pleasures for those who grew up loving folk music and a delightful introduction to the genre for new audiences.

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This release also revives a much-loved songbook format, alternating lyrics and music for the author’s compositions with funky, informal prose chapters about life’s travels and adventures behind his songs. It recreates many of the pleasures of live performance on the page and offers budding folk musicians new songs to learn and play. It is a text that reminds us, according to the words of the quote from Jim Boyes which serves as its epigraph, “What we sing is what we are”.

Truter’s stories and songs are inspired by a life rich in travel and music. Born in India, he has lived in Hong Kong, Fiji, Pakistan, England, Canada and the United States. He has traveled extensively and worked as a trainee officer on the Hain Nourse freighters and computer operator in Thunder Bay, Ontario, to name but two. of his many professions.

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He has been a part of Vancouver’s folk music scene for years, performing and recording both as a solo artist and as a member of the iconic band Fraser Union. He is a co-founder of Georgia Strait Guitar Workshop and a frequent instructor at music camps in the Pacific Northwest.

Truter’s music ranges from a tender ode to a treasured guitar, “An Old Friend,” to a searing protest song about the death of immigrant Robert Dziekanski, who was killed by mounted police at Vancouver International Airport in 2007.

For budding performers, Truter provides lyrics and music for the songs it includes, as well as a bonus section of instrumental scores. (“Traveller, book and album, and Fraser Union albums are available at barrytruter.com and fraserunion.com)

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Highly recommended.

Tom Sandborn lives and writes in Vancouver. Unable to carry a melody, he remains an intimidated fan of those with musical talent. He welcomes your comments and story tips at tos65@telus.net

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