Listening to the fur trade : soundways and music in the British North American fur trade, 1760-1840 /

Publication Type:



McGill-Queen's University Press,, Volume 3, Montreal, Quebec; Kingston, Ontario, Canada, p.pages cm (2022)



Call Number:



(OCoLC)fst00936407, 18th century., 19th century., Canada, fast, Fur trade, Fur trade., Fur traders, History, Songs and music


Includes bibliographical references and index.With a Bang: Gunpowder and Firearms -- Musical Encounters -- Military Instruments and Turned Drums -- Dances of Diplomacy -- Soundways Montreal to La Cloche -- Paddling Songs; Chansons D'aviron -- Indigenous Hunting and Healing Songs -- Music of the Trading Posts."As fur traders were driven across northern North America by economic motivations, the landscape over which they plied their trade was punctuated by sound: shouting, singing, dancing, gunpowder, rattles, jingles, drums, fiddles, and--very occasionally--bagpipes. Fur trade interactions were, in a word, noisy. Daniel Laxer unearths traces of music, performance, and other intangible cultural phenomena long since silenced, allowing us to hear the fur trade for the first time. Listening to the Fur Trade uses the written record, oral history, and material culture to reveal histories of sound and music in an era before sound recording. The trading post was a noisy nexus, populated by a polyglot crowd of highly mobile people from different national, linguistic, religious, cultural, and class backgrounds. They found ways to interact every time they met, and facilitating material interests and survival went beyond the simple exchange of goods. Trust and good relations often entailed gift-giving: reciprocity was performed with dances, songs, and firearm salutes. Indigenous protocols of ceremony and treaty-making were widely adopted by fur traders, who supplied materials and technologies that sometimes changed how these ceremonies sounded. Within trading companies, masters and servants were on opposite ends of the social ladder but shared songs in the canoes and lively dances during the long winters at the trading posts. While the fur trade was propelled by economic and political interests, Listening to the Fur Trade uncovers the songs and ceremonies of First Nations people, the paddling songs of the voyageurs, and the fiddle music and step-dancing at the trading posts that provided its pulse."--Issued also in electronic format.