The Travellers (band)
The Travellers were a Canadian folk singing group which formed in the summer of 1953. They are best known for their rendition of a Canadian version of "This Land Is Your Land" with lyrics that reference Canadian geography.
The group was formed as a result of singalongs at Camp Naivelt, a Jewish socialist vacation community that is operated by the United Jewish Peoples' Order in the village of Norval located west of Brampton, Ontario. Pete Seeger was a regular visitor to the camp and encouraged the group.
Founding members of the group were Jerry Gray (banjo and lead singer), Sid Dolgay (mando-cello), and the singers Helen Gray, Jerry Goodis, and Oscar Ross. In 1961 Jerry Goodis was replaced by Ray Woodley. In 1965 they were joined by singer Joe Hampson, husband of Sharon Hampson of Sharon, Lois & Bram fame. Other members over the years include Simone Johnston, Pam Fernie, Aileen Ahern, Marty Meslin, Ted Roberts and Don Vickery.
The group, which originally considered calling itself The Beavers, started singing outside the camp at labour events and at strikes and protests.
In The Travellers early years, from 1954 to 1961, Samuel Goldberg of Toronto, Ontario, a musician/composer and advertising executive, was instrumental in working with The Travellers as their Artistic Director and Agent. He enabled them to have their television debut and several appearances on CBC-TV musical programs. Goldberg was musical director on their first three LP record albums, Across Canada With The Travellers (1958), The Travellers Sing Songs of North America (1959), and Quilting Bee (1960).
They made their debut on Canadian television in 1954 and, in 1956, achieved national exposure when they reached the finals of CBC Television's Pick the Stars contest They performed at the first Mariposa Folk Festival in 1961. In 1962 they were invited by the Canadian government to tour the Soviet Union as part of a Canada-USSR cultural exchange performing 19 concerts. The next year they toured Canada and, in 1964, were part of a Royal Command Performance during the Queen's tour of Canada.
The group's popularity peaked during the 1960s folk revival. Canadiana songs were a major part of their repertoire at concerts during the Canadian centennial year of 1967, particularly at Expo 67.
Their repertoire included protest songs, folk songs, children's songs and international tunes.
In all the group produced 16 albums and performed five specials on Canadian television.
They continued to perform at labour rallies and political events into the 1980s as well as touring schools and performing concerts for children.
- Across Canada with the Travellers 1958
- The Travellers Sing Songs of North America 1959
- Quilting Bee 1960
- Introducing the Travellers 1961
- The Travellers on Tour 1962
- Something to Sing About 1963
- We're on Our Way Again 1964-5
- Making Hay With The Travellers 1965 (Columbia Records FS 534)
- The Travellers Still Travelling (in part a reissue of material previously released by Columbia)
- A Century of Song 1967
- This Land, the Travellers Centennial Album 1967
- The Travellers Applaud Canada 1968
- The Travellers Sing for Kids 1970
- The Travellers 1970
- Merry Go Round 1980
- The Travellers 1960-1966 this land is your land 1998
Also, two songs on Sea to Sea and one on The Children's Collection, Vol 1