Not too long ago, our southern neighbours held the only key to fame and fortune in the music industry. Canadian musicians striving for stardom had no choice but to cross the border, as Canada lacked the resources to showcase its own stars. But thanks to those who fought to keep our talents at home, we now boast a thriving music industry of our own. In July, Canada Post will issue a set of four stamps celebrating Canadian music icons.
Each star featured has made remarkable contributions to the Canadian music scene. International rock superstar Bryan Adams helped develop an infrastructure to propel other Canadians to the top of the charts. Renowned folklorist Stompin’ Tom Connors protested the policies he felt were hindering Canada’s artistic potential. A pioneer in French-Canadian rock, Robert Charlebois gave voice to and furthered the development of the chanson. And Acadian sensation Édith Butler promoted familiarity with and appreciation for her Acadian culture across Canada and around the world.
Like the first stamp issue celebrating Canadian singers and songwriters released in 2007, this set was designed by Winnipeg’s Circle Design Inc. Designer Robert L. Peters tells us, “We were thrilled with the success of the first issue and delighted at the opportunity to work on the next installment.”
The stamps are square in format and feature monochromatic photos of each artist alongside their Order of Canada insignias. To reflect the glamour of these “living legends,” each is captured in the limelight. Peters explains, “We brought them all into the same ‘performance space’ by close-cutting them into the background, making it appear as though they’re standing in the spotlight.” The effect brings life to each performer. “It’s as though we’re watching them on stage,” adds Peters.
This Acadian sensation brought the toe-tapping folk songs she grew up singing in her living room to coffee houses, recording studios and concert halls. Hailed as the “mother of Acadian music,” she is now the best-known Acadian singer in the world.
Édith Butler has released 27 hit albums, with songs that reflect the Acadian and Micmac traditions that shaped her heritage. Though she has garnered many awards and accolades over the years, she is especially fond of this tribute. Butler, who pursued degrees in literature and traditional ethnography, has a real passion for history.
“It was quite a shock,” she says of Canada Post’s news. “I collected stamps as a child, and I learned a lot about history and culture through this hobby. Considering the lasting power of a stamp, this recognition really stands on its own.”