The last decade of the 20th century saw new features emerge
in Canadian folk music and many old forms resurgent. As in earlier decades Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan, and Ewan MacColl had had a profound influence
on Canadian artists, so Billy Bragg and Ani DiFranco inspired new
approaches in the nineties. The grrrls, the punk folkies, Celtic stomp
and other new variants entered the scene. The environmental movement and
the anti-globalization campaigns provided inspiration for new political
songwriting. The growth of world
music continued and accelerated. From the most hybrid and visionary to
the most traditional, the music of scores of cultures is being performed.
The Atlantic Canadian invasion made Gaelic a living language on the folk
scene. Celtic music was heard everywhere in the most diverse treatments.
At the same time several generations of songwriters continue to perform
and create. New technologies have made the music more available than ever.
There are 300 web sites of Canadian folk musicians listed on the Northern
Journey list. Never has there been more and more diverse folk music
in Canada. Never has there been a more clear distinction
between those artists who use folk music to conjure up the ghost of a
kinder and gentler past and those who are using the music to create a
vibrant new culture outside the framework of the mainstream of the music
industry. All the debates about the nature of folk music continue and
every variant that has existed under the name folk during the last hundred
years remains a living part of the mix.