Gimli label reintroducing classic Interlake folk record

A Gimli musician is hoping to introduce an Interlake classic to a new audience.

Scott Petrowski of Ancient Raven Records is reissuing The Lake Winnipeg Fisherman — an iconic folk record originally released in the 1970s by Riverton singer-songwriter Sol Sigurdson.

The long out-of-print LP has been remastered, Petrowski said, and is heading to streaming services for the first time ever, as well as a deluxe vinyl release aimed for summer 2022.

“The album is this interpersonal singer-songwriter ballads and dialogue that takes you through people and places of the Interlake from 1970 and prior to that — events that had happened that were pretty significant to people of the area at the time,” Petrowski said.

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“I think (Sigurdson) holds a special place in a lot of people’s hearts — musicians and a lot of people who are townsfolk who grew up on the record that was released back in the day.

“Being Icelandic and an artist from this community, it’s directly relatable. I feel I’m in a special position to be able to help bring this out into the world.”

The cover of the Lake Winnipeg Fisherman reissue. Ancient Raven Records

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Sigurdson, who is in his 80s and now lives in Alberta, has been the subject of a number of tributes by Manitoba artists, including a 2016 collection of reimagined songs from The Lake Winnipeg Fisherman, released by the Lake Winnipeg Foundation.

That project featured contributions from the likes of John K. Samson, Mise en Scene and Scott Nolan, and is another example, Petrowski said, of the original album’s impact on the community.

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Sigurdson himself, despite no longer living in Manitoba, has been involved in Ancient Raven’s reissue project, and Petrowski hopes a formal release of the physical LP in August can coincide with the singer’s annual visit to the Gimli area.

“I want him to be a part of it — I don’t know if he really understands how important the songs are at this point,” he said.

“To be able to bring a piece of that back and have him see that now, I don’t know if he’s perhaps reflecting on it the same way that perhaps a lot of us younger musicians are.”

A stipulation of the release is that a portion of digital proceeds and all of the proceeds from the vinyl release will go to Gimli’s New Iceland Heritage Museum — one of the only places you can buy Sigurdson’s music on CD in 2021.

“Sol’s had a dedication, a devotion to wanting to help out any kind of community-based service like this — preserving Icelandic and fishing tradition,” said Petrowski.

“He’s devoted to having proceeds going toward the museum.”

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