Fo­cus on folk­lore: CBU pro­fes­sor re­leas­ing book on Cape Bre­ton folk­lore

Cape Breton Post - - ARTS FOCUS - BY LAURA JEAN GRANT

in­clud­ing Cape Bre­ton pi­ano style, cock­fight­ing, log ar­chi­tec­ture, nick­names and com­pany houses.

“ The field of folk­lore is a wide, en­com­pass­ing field. Peo­ple have this stereo­typed no­tion that folk­lore is old sto­ries and be­liefs and I think I show in the book that it in­cludes ev­ery­thing from our lan­guage and our mu­sic and our song, right through to our ar­chi­tec­ture,” he said. “Folk­lore is re­ally the study of tra­di­tion, that’s what it’s all about so tra­di­tions can be found, whether you’re build­ing a house or play­ing mu­sic.”

MacK­in­non said com­pil­ing Dis­cov­er­ing Cape Bre­ton Folk­lore re­quired lots of re­search.

“I think in Cape Bre­ton we’re in a unique po­si­tion be­cause first of all, the uni­ver­sity here has a won­der­ful archive, the Beaton In­sti­tute archive,” said MacK­in­non, not­ing that CBU is also home to one of the best folk­lore li­braries in the Mar­itimes hav­ing re­cently se­cured a mas­sive 10,000 vol­ume col­lec­tion of folk­lore books from Memo­rial Uni­ver­sity pro­fes­sor Ger­ald Po­cius.

Equally as im­por­tant as re­search in the study of folk­lore, is do­ing field­work, ac­cord­ing to MacK­in­non.

“If I’m study­ing build­ings I don’t just sit here and read books about Cana­dian ar­chi­tec­ture and what other peo­ple have writ­ten about it, and cer­tainly that’s part of it and you have to do that, but then you’ve got to get out and move away from your of­fice and ac­tu­ally get out in the field and look with your own eyes, take photo- graphs, and mea­sure build­ings and if there’s not a floor plan avail­able, make one avail­able, make your own.”

All are wel­come to at­tend Fri­day’s book launch. MacK­in­non said he’s looking for­ward to the launch event, which will also in­clude a ceilidh fea­tur­ing some of Cape Bre­ton Uni­ver­sity’s finest stu­dent mu­si­cians.

“Get­ting a book out is kinda like hav­ing a new baby; you want to cel­e­brate as much as you can, so that’s what we’re hop­ing to do,” he said.

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