Knacker’s Yard performs at the Nanaimo Bar on Nov. 23 and the Corner Lounge on Nov. 30. (Photo courtesy Lumina Romanycia)

Victoria Celtic band Knacker’s Yard play the Nanaimo Bar and Corner Lounge

Band’s new album includes song about Nanaimo’s No. 1 Esplanade Mine explosion of 1887

Wolf Edwards is putting history to music.

The singer and banjo player for Victoria Celtic group Knacker’s Yard is endeavouring to marry “Dublin-style street-folk” with songs about Vancouver Island history.

“There’s a lot of rich history on the Island here that I wanted to expose through folk music,” Edwards said.

Knacker’s Yard’s latest album, this summer’s Gangers, Chancers and the Craic, features their first musical history lesson: The Milton Street Mine Disaster, which tells the story of Nanaimo’s No. 1 Esplanade Mine explosion of 1887.

Edwards said he learned about the explosion while doing a research project for a professor at the University of Victoria.

“What struck me most was that a good portion of the miners that died in that disaster were Chinese workers, and I noticed in the paper in the obituary there was a whole list of names of the miners that died and then it just said, ‘…and 60 Chinamen,’” he said. “And I was like, ‘Man, someone’s got to write a song about this and talk about that kind of stuff.’”

Edwards said his next historical song will cover Ginger Goodwin, the Island labour agitator whose controversial shooting death triggered the Vancouver General Strike of 1918.

“We go up and down the Island all the time. Playing really rural, remote areas, you get to meet people from families of theses sorts of characters, which is interesting…” Edwards said. “People come to us and start talking to us about it because when we perform we talk about the history of the songs.”

WHAT’S ON … Knacker’s Yard performs at the Nanaimo Bar on Friday, Nov. 23 at 9 p.m. $10 cover. They also play the Corner Lounge on Nov. 30 at 9 p.m. $10 at the door.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: No government interested in paying for rail right now

Rail advocates are ignoring the basic problem of affordability, says letter writer

Nanaimo Art Gallery announces new executive director

Former Prince George gallery director Carolyn Holmes to take on role

School district reveals restart plans for Nanaimo-Ladysmith

K-5 students will see two days of instruction a week, 6-12 students once a week

Missing man thought to be in Nanaimo

Nanaimo RCMP ask for public’s help in locating Kevin Golze, 45

Nanaimo painter inspired by medieval animal illustrations in new exhibition

Yvonne Vander Kooi to unveil ‘Bestiary’ via Gallery Merrick live-stream

Only four new COVID-19 cases, 228 active across B.C.

Health officials watching as activities ramp up

Feds looking at ways to reunite families amid COVID-19 border restrictions with U.S.

Some families with members of dual-citizenship have become separated due to the pandemic

B.C. aquaculture farm’s employees sweat it out to raise funds for food banks

For every five minutes of exercise recorded, Cermaq Canada is donating a dollar to local food banks in communities they operate

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Condition in kids with possible COVID-19 link being studied in Canada

This month, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an alert to doctors about MIS-C

‘I knew what he wanted’: Kootenay man spends hours in tree as black bear patrols below

Francis Levasseur is no stranger to the outdoors, but a recent run-in with a bear caused quite a scare

Trudeau acknowledges racial unrest in U.S.; ‘We also have work to do in Canada’

‘Anti-black racism, racism, is real; it’s in the United States, but it’s also in Canada,’ Trudeau says

RDN Transit to see rollout of 15 new HandyDart buses

Buses will have temporary protective barriers installed to prevent spread of COVID-19

United Way distributes $120,000 in federal funding to seniors in need during pandemic

Salvation Army, Eden Gardens, hospice society among groups granted money

Most Read