Flin Flon plays the backdrop for a song and music video


Flin Flon’s story and present is a key part of a new song and music video released by a Winnipeg artist.

Flin Flon’s story and present is a key part of a new song and music video released by a Winnipeg artist.

The community features prominently in the track “Postcard from a Quarantined Miner in Flin Flon,” released by music project Bluebloods, as well as its accompanying video, posted online Feb. 12.

The song itself is a poppy and jazzy pastiche of several different styles and eras – similar to the video produced for the song, which mixes images from Flin Flon’s past and present with colorful animation and theatrical segments with the singer. Courtney Devon. In the video, Devon plays Louise, a Flin Flon worker who struggles with the isolation that some experience when moving up north. Louise writes letters and sends back postcards to her Winnipeg sweetheart, Abelard, interspersed with colorful and lush animations by artist Ben Clarkson and historic images by Flin Flon.

Conrad Sweatman is the man behind Bluebloods and the project catalog, including the EP Make it rain released in late 2019. Sweatman, along with his mother Sally, also created the concept for the video.

Although he had never been to Flin Flon, Sweatman found himself drawn to the community due to its relative strangeness in Manitoba – a mining town in an agricultural province, a town with boulders, hills and lakes in a province often considered boring and boring.

“It’s a city with a lot of character. I was grateful for the advice of the Flin Flon Heritage Project in finding archival material – I was just constantly struck by the originality of this place, ”he said.

“I don’t know what it’s about Flin Flon – it’s the place that has always interested me the most. I had planned to come this summer and maybe shoot there, but by the time filming started, we could barely have enough people in the room to do the filming.

There are Nordic ties to the group behind the song and video as well – Devon herself has played Flin Flon in the past and Abelard is played by Avis Penner, an actor from Moose Lake / Mosakahiken Cree Nation near The Pas. .

The video and song include several anachronisms and discrepancies and historical comparisons – for example, while the video features slightly altered local sites like the Kin Park Water Tower (with someone climbing in it) and the Flinty Statue. (depicted smoking a cigarette), the song is also inspired by events dating back to 1919.

These visuals are intentional, Sweatman said. He said the song and video are meant to capture what it feels like to be gripped in an uncertain environment amid a pandemic and political unrest. Could it take place in 1918-19, at the time of the Winnipeg general strike and a global influenza pandemic? Could it take place in 2020-2021, with protests for racial equality, gender equality, labor rights and other issues and COVID-19 as a backdrop? This, Sweatman said, is up to the viewer to find out for themselves.

“It is a project that deals with certain major manifestations and historical events. We don’t always know when this is happening, ”he said.

“Flin Flon has certainly been affected by pandemics and has a very rich union history. It was just having one character in Flin Flon and another in Winnipeg. We wanted to take these big issues and relate them to the experience of the average person or people living in rural or less populated areas, working class people and not famous politicians or powerful men. This seems like a way to root some of these issues that we’re trying to resolve. “

In Sweatman’s own description of the project, “Postcard explores the parallels between today’s and yesterday’s crises and how Manitobans living in communities like Flin Flon and Winnipeg experienced them.

“It’s also a dreamlike love song about the fantasies and aspirations of people who desperately try to stay together – even as history and fate conspire to keep them apart, perhaps forever.”

Sweatman himself said that Flin Flon provided a lot of inspiration for the work.

“There’s also this very little prairie-like landscape to Manitoba, the old industrial buildings, the water towers – and of course there’s Flintabbatey Flonatin.

One of the inspirations for the project was an old song from the 1960s – “The Ballad of Flintabbatey Flonatin”, written by folk singer and former Flin Flon resident Jack Shiffman. The original song makes a cameo appearance in the new Bluebloods tune, and Sweatman said he received permission from Shiffman himself for the appearance.

“Thanks to mutual knowledge, I was able to get in touch with him. He let me quote the melody of the song, ”Sweatman said.

Critics praised the song and the accompanying video, praising its unique feel and visual presentation.

“Bluebloods delivers the story through esoteric references and archaic language that will have you looking for your dictionary – and that’s part of the joy. The delivery is exceptional and the hip hop backing track quite unexpected. It really isn’t like anything I’ve heard before, ”reads a review written by critic Graeme Smith for UK music website York Calling.

“An electronic slow burn that has only one problem – it ends,” reads a description from the music site Secret Eclectic.

Postcard was created with assistance from the Canada Council for the Arts and Manitoba Film and Music. The video and song can be found on the group’s social media pages.

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