At the beginning of the year, we invited bands from across the country to compete in Searchlight, our competition to find Canada's best new act. Part of the grand prize was a song commission from the CBC for Canada's 150 celebrations, which included a residency at the Banff Centre for the Arts and Creativity to write it with a mentor.
Searchlight winners the Long War, a folk-rock group from Vancouver, spent two weeks in Banff with mentor Royal Wood to write what they call "a love song to Canada." They will be performing the new song at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa on July 2 at the CBC Searchlight Live concert, which will also include Searchlight finalists the Wolfe, Jaryd Stanley and WILL, but before they do that you can check out the song right here. Watch the Long War perform "Oh Canada (Carry the Flame") at the CBC Festival, above. You can also listen to the studio version of the song at the bottom, but first, we asked the band to tell us a bit about it.
"This was an exciting song to write," they said. "In beautiful Banff, surrounded by mountains and immersed in writing it was impossible not to be inspired. But with the significance of Canada’s 150th birthday in mind, at times it all felt overwhelming. It’s been said that Banff is a magical place and that fate has its ways. This couldn’t have been more true the day we were unexpectedly joined in studio by a choir of young, bright-eyed high school students who just happened to be from our hometown of Vancouver. Singing out the chorus with such passion and honesty, it was at that moment the song truly had its voice.
"'Oh Canada (Carry The Flame)' is a love song to Canada. It’s holding close the feeling of being Canadian and the overwhelming sensation we get when its depth and beauty reveal itself, taking hold. It’s home. It’s love. And in love we acknowledge our past to move forward. We embrace our scars to heal. The song is about something we all share like a choir of young voices. It’s hope."
Searchlight winners the Long War perform a song for Canada 150.
You can buy tickets to the CBC Searchlight Live! show in Ottawa, hosted by Royal Wood, here.