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Authority record

Campbell, Gerald, 1933-2019

  • IE ITMA P00170
  • Person
  • 1933-2019
Born on 2 June 1933 in Branch, Gerald Campbell comes from a musical family. His mother was the local schoolteacher and church organist. But many of Gerald’s songs—the long ballads in any case—come from his father, Henry.
Music is a constant part of Gerald’s life; he sings from morning to night, remembering the old songs, keeping his voice in shape, and absorbing new songs into his vast repertoire of popular music (Hank Snow and Ernest Tubb, for example, feature in Gerald’s repertoire). When Aidan O’Hara visited the Cape Shore during the 1970s, he often met Gerald at house parties. Gerald used to play the accordion for the dancing, this accomplishment making him a welcome addition at house parties all around the area. There was also a wooden bridge just outside of Branch that was a favourite place for dancing and where Gerald often went to play.
Though he’s given up the “cordeen,” Gerald still frequents the dances held in the local hall. Such evenings are focused on music and dance, but Gerald reports that he sometimes gets trapped in the toilets, asked to sing songs while the dance continues on. When the band take their break, he sometimes takes the stage to sing for those who were unable to squeeze themselves into the gents’!
Over the years, Gerald has performed at the St John’s Folk Festival on a number of occasions. During the mid-1970s he travelled with others from Branch to sing and play at the Mariposa Folk Festival in Ontario. He is also a regular contributor to the Cape St Mary’s Performance Series. Gerald has performed with Figgy Duff, Kelly Russell, Ryan’s Fancy, and Pamela Morgan, among others. Indeed, he recalled one incident when he was singing in the Ship Inn—a well-known music pub in St John’s. Members from the band Ryan’s Fancy arrived in and dragged him off to another pub, Erin’s, for some more music.
Gerald has contributed repertoire to song collectors, and boasts that he taught Eddie Coffey to sing “The sweet forget-me-not,” a song that Gerald learned from his father. In May 2005, Gerald was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Newfoundland & Labrador Folk Arts Society.
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