Backpocket Songs

More campfire than cantata, The Backpocket Song Project has a simple yet profound purpose – to bring singing back into ordinary life, where it has always belonged. For thousands of years, our ancestors have sung, alone and together, with friends, family, and strangers, in times of trouble, resistance, joy, and celebration. At birthdays, marches, work, worship, or social gatherings, human beings sing in order to share their journeys, lighten their loads, and celebrate their common humanity.

The Backpocket Singers sing songs from many traditions, both new and classic, from freedom songs to ancient chants. These songs are often recalled in the moment, as they arise from conversations, observations, or in response to other songs. Harmonies emerge as the singers pay attention to both words and melody to get closer and closer to the song’s intent. The singers respect the origins and contexts of these traditional songs as a way to connect to broader global family. While secular, their songs address a deep and common human need for fellowship and comfort. And who can stand still while they sing? There is no joy that can compare to dancing while singing!

This project is part of a larger international movement, as it operates in the same spirit as the Natural Voice Movement in the UK and the community choir network borne of the Community Choir Leadership Training (Ubuntu Network) offered in Victoria, BC, where project leader, Vanessa received her training.

As we move through the demands, dreams, disappointments and delights of everyday life, songs are fine companions. This project invites us to tuck simple songs in our back pockets, so we always have one on hand.

If you are interested in participating in seniors arts programming at the Roundhouse Community Centre, please contact Kaleb Corbin.

Roundhouse Community Centre
181 Roundhouse Mews
Vancouver, BC V6Z 2W3


Artists Vanessa Richards

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