It feels like I’ve lost an old friend, one that I never met.
Like many around here, I grew up listening to The Tragically Hip with Gord Downie singing. His lyrics and delivery have rattled around in my head, and on my lips, for decades.
The Hip’s music (and presence on radio/TV, in papers, and in live shows) has been a constant in most of the land known as Canada pretty much since the mid-1980’s – good thing they were a great band and I happened to enjoy them!
And while their music was international in scope, Gord and the Hip helped show us who we were, that it was OK, even cool, to be us – those of us living on the land called Canada, in the shadow of our much larger neighbour to the south, to whom comparisons were often made. We could more readily appreciate that we had things of our own, wonderful and beautiful things, to be proud of and to celebrate, when Gord and the band held them up for us to see more clearly.
People talk about music being the soundtrack to their lives; for a lot of us, the Hip’s music, with Gord on the mic, was just that.
Now, Gord has changed his cosmic address and is gone to continue his walk among the stars.
He was recently honoured at an Assembly of First Nations with the Indigenous name Wicapi Omani, which is Lakota for “man who walks among the stars” for his work in helping to bring attention and healing to the disgrace and tragedy of the residential schools, and other issues faced by the indigenous peoples of Canada.
The tears might never fully stop, all the time, when we hear his music and remember, but we can laugh as well…Let’s not forget Gord’s great sense of humour! Remember The Trailer Park Boys with him in the Hip video for the song The Darkest One? And the many others times he made us laugh, too!
See you later, Gord, and thanks…for the beauty and a lot more. I’ll be singing, dancing, feeling, and thinking to your words and music for a long time to come.
I know I won’t be alone.
Taken north of Toronto a couple days ago.
#GordDownie #TheHip #thetragicallyhip #GordDowniesCanada