Peterborough-based band, Backwoodsmen, will bring some of Ontario’s rural folk song culture to the Minden Hills cultural centre June 24.

Minden Hills manager of cultural services, Shannon Kelly, said the 2 p.m. performance is accompanying the exhibit, Cross Cut, by Rob Niezen, currently on display at the Agnes Jamieson Gallery.

Niezen is part of the musical quartet that also includes historian and musician, Dr. Allan Kirby, and musicians John Bird and Rob Cory.

Kelly said, “Ontario’s rural folk song culture is revealed in words and music by traditional music group Backwoodsmen, performing live outdoors in the Heritage Village.”

She added the province has one of North America’s richest folk-song traditions, saying that between 1929 and 1960, internationally-recognized scholars have documented more than 3,000 orally-transmitted folk songs.

In 1958, the cultural services manager said Folkways Records of New York City released the first of 10 vinyl recordings featuring Ontario singers and musicians.

“This little-known piece of Ontario history is presented by Backwoodsmen,” she said. “The quartet focuses on folk songs documented throughout rural Ontario in the 1950s by song-collector and scholar Edith Fowke.”

For their part, the Backwoodsmen said Fowke worked for CBC and collected the folk songs, many in Peterborough County.

“Traditional music came to Ontario with European settlers. Lyrics and tunes were adapted to local experiences and the personal preferences of the players, and these offer a reflection of society at different moments in history,” they added.

“The underlying themes are of a timeless nature, as they deal with human existence: love, deception, politics, war, immigration, work, leisure, murder, death.”

They said they selected and revisited the songs, adapted lyrics, and created contemporary arrangements.

Niezen and Dr. Kirby also produced a book that introduces Fowke’s work, the song lyrics and their history, along with the linocuts in the exhibit.

The exhibition runs to July 1.

The gallery is a public art gallery with year-round exhibitions of local and regional art. It’s part of the cultural centre, which includes the museum, Heritage Village and Nature’s Place. The MHCC is at 176 Bobcaygeon Rd., Minden. The gallery is fully accessible and is open to the public Tuesday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is by donation.

For questions about the exhibit, call the community services department at 705-286-1260 x 542. For more information, visit