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Music a way of life for Jackman family

The Jackman Family band along with Jeff Pittman performing at the 2018 Burin Peninsula Festival of Folk Song and Dance.
The Jackman Family band along with Jeff Pittman performing at the 2018 Burin Peninsula Festival of Folk Song and Dance. - Colin Farrell

All around a circle

BURIN, N.L. —

Like many homes in rural communities scattered throughout the province, get-togethers in the Jackman household would usually include friends and family gathered around sharing a song.

“By the end of the evening there would be some sort of instrument out and someone would be playing — you’d pass it around that way,” said Owen Jackman.

The members of the family band, which include Darrell Jackman, Vanessa (Jackman) Tobin, Owen Jackman and Byron Jackman, have all played together in some form or another for years.

Darrell and his sister Vanessa played in the band Eventide, which released a number of CDs in the early 2000s.

“There’d be something going on and Darrell, Vanessa and Owen would be playing at something or myself and Darrell might play somewhere else … there would be two or three of us always playing, but never all of us,” Byron explained.

He said it was Darrell’s suggestion that they start playing together.

“We start pickin’ at a few gigs here and there, scattered around a bit, but in the last year or so we’ve been collectively playing as a group,” Darrell said.

The group has played some shows around the Burin Peninsula, including the Burin Peninsula Festival of Folk Song and Dance, and a Jamboree during Come Home Year celebrations in Frenchman’s Cove.

Owen said at times it’s a challenge to get an opportunity to practise.

“Everyone’s busy with their lives and kids and stuff — you kind of block out times when we can all co-ordinate and get together and practise.”

Many songs they play are well-known to everyone in the group. That that makes it easier when they do get together.

They agree that there is more to their times playing together than just getting a chance to fine-tune a song or perfect a harmony.

“It’s always fun, too,” said Darrell. “When we actually get together for a couple hours (we’re) playing music but (we have) a big laugh while together, too.”

Music

The band primarily plays traditional Irish and Newfoundland music, but with the addition of Jeff Pittman and Joshua Parsons, Darrell said he expects they will dabble in other genres.

“We have been picking away with a bit of classic rock — ‘70s and ‘80s stuff,” Darrell said.

Bryon said the band’s interest in traditional music is rooted in their childhood.

“It’s been something we’ve grown up with,” he explained. “We’ve been around music a long time. Dad taught us all how to play guitar and stuff. It’s just something that we were always exposed to and we always enjoy.”

While the band enjoys performing covers, the addition of Pittman may allow for some original tunes to find their way into the setlist.

“Jeff is always writing,” said Vanessa. “I’m sure sometime over the summer, perhaps we’ll play some of Jeff’s originals.”

While the band is in talks for performances this summer, the members are not ready make any official announcements.

“We’ve got a couple things lined up for the spring, and a couple thing lined up over summer,” explained Darrell. “So just keep posted to Facebook and we’ll get the word out there.”

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