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People & Culture

Video: The song inspired by a Manitoba town's famous runaway bison

Penned by a Toronto-based composer, “Run Freddy Run!” tells the story of Manitoba’s unique relationship with bison

  • May 11, 2018
  • 232 words
  • 1 minutes
A male bison who refused to stay in his pen near Lorette, Man. has been immortalized in song. Pictured: not the real Freddy—but look at that determined stride! (Photo: Nicole Lauren/Can Geo Photo Club) Expand Image
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Harry Houdini, David Blaine … Freddy the Bison?

If anyone deserves to be ranked among the great escape artists of all time, it’s surely this bison, who made a name for himself earlier this year after he was repeatedly spotted on the loose in the small town of Lorette, Man.

The townspeople embraced Freddy as their unofficial mascot, even going so far as to emblazon sweaters and t-shirts with the slogan “Run Freddy Run,” which they sell to fund local projects.  

Freddy’s frequent breakouts garnered the attention of Toronto-based Métis composer Eliot Britton, who was moved to arrange a choral piece titled “Run Freddy Run” about Manitoba’s complicated history with bison. His lyrics draw on both a 1911 New York Times article about a group of bison who refused to be transported to Canada, and the recent CBC coverage of Freddy’s exploits. The piece incorporates bison sounds and direct quotes about Freddy from the people of Lorette.

The song premiered world-wide last month at the Red River Song concert, which celebrates Métis culture. It was performed by the chamber classical ensemble Camerata Nova, who perform Indigenous and contemporary pieces.

Check out the video below to hear “Run Freddy Run:”

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