My all-time favorite radio show Jigs & Reels has aired weekly for 20 years on 98.5 CKWR.
Host Dean Clarke performed the best of Newfoundland music for loyal local audiences until the show ended in 2008, when Clarke left the airwaves to spend more time at home with his young family.
So I was thrilled to hear that Clarke is bringing Jig & Reels back to CKWR – starting January 3, the show will air Mondays at 7:30 p.m.
“I have never forgotten those 20 years of being on the air and having a show like Jigs & Reels, the countless friends I made and the generations who listened to the show week after week, year after year” Clarke told me. when we recently reconnected after 14 years.
“Even my own daughters, who are 20 and 16, grew up listening to the show.”
I first met Clarke at 98.5 CKWR studio because Jigs & Reels preceded a show I had a monthly segment on, Monday Night with the Arts. He was always a cheerful and upbeat presence in the studio.
I’m so glad he’s relaunching the series, and I’m not the only one.
“Meeting Newfoundlanders today, when I ask them if they were listening to Jigs & Reels, they smile and say, ‘I’ve never missed a show,’” Clarke said.
“Of course, being on Canada’s premier community radio station doesn’t hurt either, and again, having that outlet to play Newfoundland music is great. “
One of my earliest childhood memories is singing the Newfoundland folk song “I’se da B’ye” with my class in public school.
Clarke was himself a child when he was first exposed to Newfoundland music. Her father was born in the town of Heart’s Desire, Trinity Bay, and her mother is from the Ottawa Valley region. Clarke, who was born and raised in the Waterloo region, first visited Newfoundland with her parents when she was four, and then annually until her late teens.
“Each song reminds me of those who left the island for work, from a visit with their family to their last goodbye, or for whatever reason, and if I can relive those precious moments not only for myself, but for the others, then it’s all worth it, ”he said.
I told Clarke that my favorite Newfoundland songs on Jigs & Reels were often from the ’70s, about tough times in the fishery, political animosities, and life by the sea.
My comment resonated with Clarke. “There are so many songs, like Roy Payne’s debut album, and other musicians like Edison Williams, Harry Hibbs, Dick Nolan and my friend Ray Johnson, and many pioneers in Newfoundland music.
Clarke added, “When people started leaving ‘The Rock’, including my dad, to find work, they turned to the music of these artists to feel a bit at home, and two songs that resonate. particularly with the departure from Newfoundland at the time were those of Roy Payne’s Little Boats of Newfoundland “and” No Price Tag on the Doors of Newfoundland “.
Clarke said he can’t wait to get back to the radio booth and believes there is a whole new audience ready to listen to some amazing Newfoundland music.
“With social media and online radio, I can create a whole new listening audience to have their own memories, and my family in Newfoundland and the West can now listen,” he said. .
“So I hope that when the show debuts, and every Monday night after, Jigs & Reels puts a smile on listeners’ faces and for 90 minutes helps them forget what’s going on,” Clarke said.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun like it was the first time, many years ago.”
Marshall Ward is a freelance writer and artist. Discover her award-winning podcast “Bonn Park” with Sara Geidlinger to Apple podcasts, Instagram and Twitter @bonnparkpodcast and Facebook : Bonn Park Podcast.