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Great Big Sea's Sean McCann pens Fort McMurray tribute song

Last Updated Jun 29, 2016 at 5:00 pm EST

Great Big Sea’s Sean McCann watched the Fort McMurray wildfire from afar, but his emotions were running high — so he decided to write a song.

Amid destruction in the northern Alberta city, McCann says he was inspired by the way Canadians united to help their fellow citizens.

His upbeat folk song, “Proud (To Be a Canadian),” has been released for free in partnership with the Red Cross. It pays tribute to those who responded with open arms in a time of crisis.

The wildfires wiped out thousands of homes in May and forced a citywide evacuation that lasted a month.

McCann says his feelings of despair over the situation drove him to pick up a pen, and once the song was on paper, he contacted fellow musician Jeremy Fisher to help him in the studio.

When “Proud” was finished, the duo began to brainstorm ideas for what to do with it. They decided to reach out to the Red Cross, which gladly agreed to distribute the song on its website.

McCann hopes “Proud” will help keep attention on Fort McMurray as the community deals with its long recovery process.

“This is primarily a thank you for the work that has been done,” he says. “I wrote it out of love and I wrote it because that’s what I do, I’m a songwriter.”

The musician also hopes the song will inspire Canadians to celebrate the spirit of generosity, and that perhaps some will even sing the song around a campfire on Canada Day.

“Not every country does that for its people when things go wrong, especially this day in age,” McCann says of the rescue efforts.

“I just felt really proud to be a Canadian. For the first time I realized what it meant.”


Hear Sean McCann’s “Proud”: http://www.redcross.ca/how-we-help/emergencies-and-disasters-in-canada/how-we-help-canadians/alberta-fires/thank-you-canada

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