The Best of NL Folk Music

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


The Best of NL Folk Music is a blog dedicated to Newfoundland and Labrador’s traditional and contemporary folk music scene.


Newfoundland and Labrador has a long and proud tradition of folk music. The genre has been popular in the province for centuries, and today there are many excellent Newfoundland and Labrador folk musicians carrying on the tradition.

In this guide, we will introduce you to some of the best Newfoundland and Labrador folk musicians, both past and present. We will also provide you with information on where to find their music, so that you can enjoy it for yourself.

The Early Days of Folk Music in Newfoundland

Newfoundland’s folk music scene has its roots in the English, Irish, and Scottish songs that were brought over by early settlers. These songs were adapted to the local climate and culture, and eventually, new songs were written about the island’s history and people. In the early days, folk music was an important part of everyday life in Newfoundland. It was used for work, play, and religious ceremonies.

The Irish Influence

The Irish have been migrating to Newfoundland since the 1600s, and their music has had a significant influence on the development of Newfoundland’s traditional music. The Irish fiddle and tin whistle were two of the most popular instruments brought to Newfoundland by the Irish, and they quickly became staples of Newfoundland’s traditional music scene. Many of Newfoundland’s most popular folk songs, such as “The Drunken Sailor” and “I’m a Newfoundlander,” have their roots in Irish folk songs.

The Irish influence on Newfoundland’s traditional music can still be heard today in the playing of many of Newfoundland’s most popular folk musicians.

The English Influence

Folk music in Newfoundland has its roots in the English, Irish and Scottish traditions that were brought to the island by early settlers. These traditions were further shaped by the unique experiences of life in Newfoundland, resulting in a distinctive form of folk music that is now cherished by locals and appreciated by music lovers around the world.

The English influence is evident in many of the folk songs that are still popular today, including “The Mermaid” and “The Cliffs of Baccalieu.” These songs often tell stories of life at sea, and they reflect the strong maritime culture of Newfoundland. Other popular English folk songs include “I’m a Newfoundlander,” which celebrates the rugged beauty of the island, and “Come All Ye Faithful,” which was adapted from a traditional English Christmas carol.

The Irish influence can be heard in numerous Newfoundland folk songs, including “Danny Boy” and “The Parting Glass.” These songs often Tell stories of love and loss, and they reflect the emotional nature of Irish folk music. Other popular Irish folk songs include ” Seeds of Love” and ” As I Roved Out,” both of which celebrate the beauty of Newfoundland.

The Scottish influence is evident in many Newfoundland folk songs, including “auld Lang syne” and “Whiskey in the Jar.” These songs often tell stories of adventure and Redemption, and they reflect the lively spirit of Scottish folk music. Other popular Scottish folk songs include ” The Boot Song” and ” The Battle Hymn of Rockies,” both of which celebrate the courage and determination of the people of Newfoundland.

Newfoundland’s unique history has resulted in a rich tradition of folk music that is enjoyed by locals and visitors alike. If you’re looking for a taste of Newfoundland culture, be sure to check out some of the island’s best-loved folk songs.

The Scottish Influence

Newfoundland and Labrador’s folk music is a product of the province’s history and geography. The province’s traditional music is a mixture of English, Irish, and Scottish influences, all brought over by the many different groups of immigrants who arrived in Newfoundland over the past few centuries.

The Scottish influence is particularly strong in Newfoundland folk music, due largely to the fact that many of the early settlers in Newfoundland were of Scottish origin. In fact, many of the traditional songs and ballads that are still sung in Newfoundland today were originally Scottish songs that were brought over by these early settlers.

One of the most popular Newfoundland folk songs, “Oaelin House”, is a prime example of this Scottish influence. The song was originally written in Scotland, but was later adapted by a Newfoundland musician to reflect the unique culture and history of Newfoundland.

Other popular Newfoundland folk songs with strong Scottish influences include “I’m a Rover” and “The Banks of New Foundland”. These songs, like “Oaelin House”, reflect the journeyman nature of many early Scottish immigrants to Newfoundland, who often traveled from one work site to another in search of employment.

The Modern Folk Music Scene

The Newfoundland and Labrador folk music scene is thriving, with new and exciting artists emerging all the time. From traditional ballads to modern takes on old songs, there is something for everyone. In this article, we will take a look at some of the best NL folk music has to offer.

The Young Performers

There is a new generation of performers who are carrying on the tradition of folk music. They are keeping the music alive and inspiring others to pick up an instrument and play. These young performers are helping to create a vibrant folk music scene in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Some of the young folk musicians who are making a name for themselves include:

• Joey Kitson: A talented fiddle player from Conception Bay South, Joey has won numerous awards and has toured across Canada, the United States, and Europe.

• Alpine Impressions: A group of young musicians from Port aux Basques, Alpine Impressions is quickly gaining a reputation for their high-energy performances.

• The Dardanelles: This band from Petty Harbour has been making waves with their unique blend of traditional Newfoundland music and Irish influences.

The Veteran Performers

Veteran performers such as Stan Rogers, Lennie Gallant and Ron Hynes are often credited with helping to establish the modern folk music scene in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Since the early 1970s, these artists have been entertaining audiences with their unique brand of music, which blends elements of traditional folk with contemporary sounds.

Today, the Newfoundland and Labrador folk music scene is thriving, thanks in part to the popularity of veteran performers like Rogers, Gallant and Hynes.

The New Folk Music Festivals

The modern folk music scene in Newfoundland is thriving, with many new festivals popping up in recent years. These festivals are a great way to experience the best of NL folk music, with many of them featuring local and traditional musicians. Here are some of the best new folk music festivals in Newfoundland:

-The Burin Peninsula Celtic Colours Festival
-The Ellerslie Music Festival
-The Gros Morne Folk Festival
-The Trinity Folk Festival


In conclusion, the best of NL folk music has something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for a relaxed and mellow sound or something a little more upbeat, you’ll be able to find it here. With so many talented musicians to choose from, there’s no reason not to give NL folk music a try.

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