Log Driver's Waltz, The

Wade Hemsworth composed less than twenty songs over a fifty year period. But his works were carefully crafted, and sometimes so singable and eminently "Canadian" that they came to be regarded as folksongs.

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The Log Driver's Waltz (WORD)
The Log Driver's Waltz (PDF)

Wade Hemsworth composed less than twenty songs over a fifty year period. But his works were carefully crafted, and sometimes so singable and eminently "Canadian" that they came to be regarded as folksongs.

The lighthearted, animated short below is based on the song "The Log Driver's Waltz" by Wade Hemsworth. Easily one of the most often-requested films in the NFB collection, Kate and Anna McGarrigle sing along to the tale of a young girl who loves to dance and chooses to marry a log driver over his more well-to-do competitor. Driving logs down the river has made the young man the best dancing partner to be found. https://www.nfb.ca/film/log_drivers_waltz

The lyrics are often misheard as "whirling" or "twirling" instead of "birling". "Birl" is an old Scots verb meaning "to revolve or cause to revolve", and in modern English means "to cause a floating log to rotate by treading". Today, birling survives as a competitive sport.

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