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  1. la Riviere

From the recording The River

The Ottawa River, extending roughly 1270 km and with its watershed larger than twice the size of New Brunswick, was one of several major routes for indigenous people to travel throughout the Canadian wilderness for decades. Starting in the 1600s, European explorers and fur traders used the routes of indigenous people, accessing broad areas of the country further west and north. In the 1800's the lumber trade prospered from using the river for floating logs to European markets. In the 1900's, hydroelectric power plants were built at strategic locations, transforming the river (Holden Pond). This song pays tribute to travelers of the river; the Coureur des Bois, Voyageurs and indigenous people. Wording in the chorus “the tracks of these men are marked in the stones …”, refers to a sacred place on the Madawaska River, where the names of men who perished in the river are carved into the smoothly shaped bedrock. As an avid wilderness canoeist (and a 10th generation Canadian), I have a great deal of respect for our forefathers that traveled through the rugged Canadian Shield from spring to early winter.

Lyrics

La Riviere, Marc Audet

The river flows, from north to south
From streams of slight, to never doubt
Upon this route, come men of force
Carrying furs of size, from lands of north

Tales of wild, times of blight
Endure the cold, few sleep at night
Crates of supplies, carried over land
Hardship beared, traditions ran

This is the blood of our ancestral past
Times of frontier, times of first flight
Tracks of these men, are marked in the stones
Of the riverbed shaped by ages of flow

From Thunder Bay, to Montreal
Along the Manitou and Mattawa
The Outaouis, brought scents of home
Charging south, as winter fell

This is the blood of our ancestral past
Times of frontier, times of first flight
Tracks of these men, are marked in the stones
Of the riverbed shaped by ages of flow

And as they dug, their paddles deep
Came songs of march, surpass defeat
These songs still sound, in echoes round
Round the river bend, past the point of south

This is the blood of our ancestral past
Times of frontier, times of first flight
Tracks of these men, are marked in the stones
Of the riverbed shaped by ages of flow

Of the riverbed shaped by ages of flow