“101 Years of Mine Disasters and 101 Years of Song: Truth or Myth in Nova Scotia Mining Songs?”

March 2012 (VOL. 30, NO. 1)

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It is generally accepted that the majority of responses to a disaster in social media sources misrepresent what actually occurs in such an event. Over the last century, mine disasters occurring in Nova Scotia have generated numerous responses in the form of folk songs. The purpose of this study is to determine if these folk songs, unlike other forms of popular culture, accurately portray the events and context surrounding these disasters while also examining how they describe human responses to disasters. The findings show that these folk songs in contrast to other media, books and movies do provide a generally factually and contextually accurate view of the disasters, with a focus limited to the events of the disaster itself, the rescue efforts, and the dead and trapped. The possibilities for why this is true are then considered, including looks at the nature and origins of the songs, the response of composers to the disasters, and how the media response to the disasters affected the songs.