A List of Celtic Songs About Who is Caribou
One of the more popular children’s songs written, by a Canadian, is “who is caribou?” This song has been on the radio for many years, but few children today are familiar with the name of the person who wrote it. Daniel Victor Snaith is an award winning Canadian singer, musician, and songwriter who have also played bass for many different musical groups over the years. Born in Rath Mountains, Manitoba (now in Basingstoke, England), Snaith grew up in what is now Thunder Bay, Ontario. He was actually very close to his uncle, who is an important figure in Canadian aboriginal history. Among other things, his uncle was a prominent fur trader, so Snaith learned a lot about life on the prairies from his father.
Snaith’s musical tastes did not continue to develop until he was well into his teens, at which point he was studying music theory with Jocelyn MacLaine. MacLaine had discovered her own musical interests in jazz piano playing and she encouraged him to pursue a career as a composer. He left school at age sixteen and began learning composition in the studio with local musicians. He would also perform as a solo artist at regional talent shows.
While he was in college, Snaith also picked up several songs, most of them related to his native Canada. One song he wrote while living in Winnipeg, Manitoba was called “Caribou Man” and was about a young caribou that his family would take on their trek to be free. The title is about a young man that has lost his way and along the way he has become disoriented. According to the lyrics, he now wanders through a strange landscape, which is populated by caribou. At one point in the song, the words “down to the river to live” are used as a verb, meaning “to live in the water.” In this context, the phrase also describes his current state of mind.
Snaith’s musical tastes led him to create music that would sound very natural to Western ears, but which also owes some indebtedness to the sounds of First Nations music. Several songs were recorded in French and Snaith wrote lyrics in both languages. It is interesting to note that a lot of his music was recorded in French and yet Snaith has said that the majority of his songs were written in English. He is also credited with creating a rock-oriented style of country guitar. In these songs, the use of electric guitars was common.
Another song, entitled “Who is Caribou,” contains a version of the Canadian folk song “Red is the Line.” While the refrain of the first stanza mentions “red is the line/blood deep red is the color/the red is the blood of the beast,” it does not mention maple leaves or blood. Instead, the line discusses how the various animals in the song have their own unique qualities and characteristics. Among them, Snaith mentions four: the bear, the dog, the horse, and the Caribou.
At this point, it is unclear who is caribou. In some ways, the title fits both the animal and the band more accurately than other songs. The song tells us that this mysterious creature is all around us, but that we must look deeper to find out its true identity.