VIDEO: Halifax Folklore Centre helps homebound musicians start strumming



When the going gets tough, the tough apparently pick up a banjo. Or a guitar. Or a trusty little ukulele.

For the past 50 years, the Halifax Folklore Centre has been putting instruments in the hands of musicians from Juno Award winners to novices who’ve never played a note. Its staff have noticed that in the months since the COVID-19 pandemic arrived in Canada last March, there’s been a rise in sales to first-time players as well as those who put their axes aside years ago when life got in the way of making music.

Devin Shael Fox, the store’s self-proclaimed “young gun” behind the sales counter chalks the trend up to the fact that those who have been stuck at home, not spending money on travel or even gas, are instead investing in expanding their musical horizons.

“It’s great to see, especially with professional music taking the hit that it has over the last 10 months, it’s nice to see that at least the spirit of it is alive in people, which might sound kind of cheesy,” says Fox, surrounded by an array of instruments from the tiniest tin whistle to a big bass drum.

“It’s good that people are picking it up, even if you’re just going to play Wagon Wheel in your living room, it’s still something.”