Teresa Doyle puts her music in the service of her campaign
by Teresa Doyle
Growing up on a family farm there was always music, stories, and yes, politics. The songs I learned as a child spoke of the hardships and struggles of my Irish and Scottish heritage. My Dad’s favourite was The Wind That Shakes the Barley, a song from the Irish struggles.
Like many farm kids, Dad left school very young, but read the paper every day of his life. Heated discourse was encouraged and made for good sport, people were well informed and had strong views. Little wonder then that I gravitated to 4-H public speaking and debating teams, and then on to U.P.E.I. for a degree in Political Science. I intended to be an Ombudswoman. But one song changed all that—I learned Lawrence Doyle’s, Prince Edward Isle, Adieu. Written in the 1880s, the song is still as relevant today, a lament about the rich getting richer and the young folk having to leave for work.
One night in the Yukon, I sang Prince Edward Isle, Adieu at a music party. The artistic director from The Winnipeg Folk Festival and Stan Rogers both heard the song. Stan and I became fast friends, The Winnipeg Folk Festival hired me, and that song set me on course for a lifetime in the music business.
So why politics? Why now? For me, our country has never been in such a critical state. It keeps me up at nights. There are so many attacks on the things we love —democracy, nature, our water, science
Songs are the way I know how to communicate, and I have just released a new CD, I Remember Canada. As part of my campaign I am doing open houses with music around the riding, bringing the neighbours together to talk on various issues. The Green Party is all about grassroots problem solving.
There’s a groundswell for change, for a return to a country with strong values where we take care of each other. Politicians are usually the last to sense change. Artists are like the canaries in a coal mine. It’s our job to be visionaries. I may not always know how to get the job done, but like my Dad, I have strong ideas, and perhaps a few good songs to bring to the party.