Valdy to slip on the Gumboots
Annual spring concert on the horizon
by Kerry McCluskey
NNSL (Apr 10/98) - Fourteen years later and the Gumboots are still reaching new artistic levels.
The all-male quintet, with the recent addition of vocalist and penny whistle genius Ray Bethke, is set to hit the stage at NACC next weekend with Canadian folk legend Valdy.
"We're really looking forward to it," says Rich Hintz, a member of the Gumboots since 1994.
"There were a number of groups that expressed some interest in coming up and one of them had the same manager as Valdy...so we negotiated and got him to come up," says Hintz.
Valdy truly is a Canadian hero with more than two decades of recording music and two Juno awards under his belt and four of his records have gone gold.
"I'll be his chauffeur and guide, so, hopefully, I can pick up some little tricks as well. He's really quite a performer," says Hintz.
Bill Gilday agrees with Hintz about Valdy.
"He's really big, a Canadian legend. He was the second most popular folk singer in the '70s, next to Gordon Lightfoot. This gives us a sense of connection with Canada's performers," says Gilday who started the Gumboots in 1984.
"We formed a trio initially and did arrangements with traditional folk melodies. I started to build the group into four, then five and then six because I was looking for a more robust sound," says Gilday.
The Gumboots continued on with their traditional repertoire until the summer of 1989 when Gilday and Bob MacQuarrie decided to write a song about Kugluktuk resident Billy Adamache.
"He disappeared during a spring hunt and I decided the story was worthy of an original song," says Gilday. "It started a series of song writing that has lasted nine years."
Bob MacQuarrie says he didn't even know he could write songs until he joined the Gumboots in 1988.
"I had been a history teacher for many years and I used to write skits and I never had any problem writing lyrics to existing silly songs but I didn't really think of that as lyrics," says MacQuarrie.
"And then Bill said why don't we try one and within two or three days we had one ready," says MacQuarrie.
Mandolin, cello and violin player Chic Callas says MacQuarrie's influence has brought a lot to the Gumboots over the years.
"His knowledge of Northern history makes it very different," says Callas who adds that belonging to the Gumboots has taken on serious meaning for him.
"I love singing and I love music. We do it for the friendship and the music. It's like a second family to me," says Callas who joined in 1994.
Bethke says he came on board two months ago for more than just the camaraderie.
"It was for the money and the women but neither have shown up so far. I'm interested in learning new instruments and this puts me in a place where I can do that," says Bethke.
The Gumboots perform at NACC on April 17 and 18 at 8 p.m. Tickets are on sale now at Sam the Record Man or from the Gumboots for $15 for adults and $10 for kids under 12 and seniors.