BC's Gold RushListen

Listen up! Sound recordings about this subject are presented here.

During BC’s gold rush, the array of music was as diverse as the European, American and Chinese miners themselves. Gathering for a drink and a dance or sitting outside cabin or tent, music conveyed humor and excitement amidst hardship and isolation. Music was a communal experience.

As part of his research for the Gold Rush! El Dorado in BC exhibition, Curator of History Dr. Lorne Hammond researched archival diaries for comments on music being played in saloons during the gold rush. Research included examining popular sheet music and song books, and the folk songs of coastal China. To bring the music to life, Dr. Hammond and Archivist Ann ten Cate recruited modern day BC musicians to play a selection of popular songs from the period.

Each of the following recordings is a different collection of songs. Do you recognize any of them? What can these songs tell us about the people who lived during the gold rush?

Gold Rush Music Collection 1


Gold Rush Music Collection 2


Gold Rush Music Collection 3