Made in Canada ©
I grew up with Valdy's family.
Valdy, the Canadian folksinger (whose real name is Valdemar Horsdal) breezed through Sarnia last Friday. As always, whenever I watch Valdy perform, I am amazed at his on-stage rapport with
I remember Valdy as a chubby-cheek subteen who forever interrupted his sister's sleeping parties. Valdy's sister, Marlyn, was one of my best friends in Ottawa.
Valdy was the baby of the Horsdal family. His father, Paul, originally from Denmark, was a well-known photographer who mentored the famous Yousef Karsh; he always hoped that someday his only son would take over his business. But even back then Valdy loved his guitar.
Although he attended a private school for a while in Peterborough, Valdy could hardly wait to get home to his guitar.
The trouble was his sister's friends, including me, thought Valdy was pretty miserable on the guitar. Worse, we told him he couldn't carry a tune in a wheelbarrow.
When he talked about that memory on Friday, Valdy nodded and laughed but immediately pointed out: "you notice I did hire a back-up guitarist!"
Valdy's father eventually retired to Salt Spring Island on the west coast. And it is from this base that Valdy works. He says he has to take into account a burn-out factor now so he limits his touring to two weeks at a time after which he returns home for two weeks.
His father died some time ago but "Mother Horsdal", as we all called her, is thriving. She is 77 and due to set off on her own to Japan on a trampsteamer.
In all these years Valdy really hasn't changed. He may be the father of three children, the eldest, 12, and on his third-or-so female relationship but he still carries the values of his childhood. He is easygoing and generous - traits of his family.
In fact, a group of us called the Horsdal home our second home.
When he finished his gig here, at midnight, Valdy rushed off with his crew to Toronto in order to make an 11 a.m. appearance the next day on the Life Channel. On Valentine's Day Valdy will play in London.
What impresses me most about Valdy is that he writes and performs his own work.
So if you want to enjoy an artist who is homegrown with no artificial pretensions, catch Valdy. He is a genuine Canadian product.