Woman Of Labrador
Back in 1979, I spent a month in St. Johns, Newfoundland singing in pubs at night. During the days I had plenty of time for reading and one book I picked up at the library was an autobiography of Elizabeth Goudie who grew up in Labrador and married a fur trapper. I was so moved by her simple humanity and raw courage that, as soon as I finished the book (it’s called “Woman Of Labrador”) I wrote three simple verses and found a tune that works. (I later recorded the song for my album Making Waves.
Shortly after writing the song I found that Ms Goudie was still alive and living in Happy Valley, Labrador. I sent her a recording of it and received a most wonderful letter of thanks.
The song was then picked up by some folks putting together a book of Labrador songs.
Years later I heard that the group Figgy Duff had recorded it but did not know who had written it. I managed to contact them and we worked out a co-publishing agreement. Here’s their version, which I think is quite amazing.
Since then many groups and artists have recorded the song and it has been published in several anthologies of music and poetry from Newfoundland. In 2006 it was selected as one of fifty songs from across Canada for a new collection called “The Great Canadian Songbook”.
Click here for the lyrics and musical notation plus both video versions.
This is a page from the handwritten original of Elizabeth Goudie’s book “Woman Of Labrador”.