Sydney, NS (April 17,
2013) It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Cape
Breton’s first lady of song, Rita MacNeil. Rita died last evening (April
16th) from complications following surgery, at the age of 68.
A gentle soul with a heart of gold and the voice of an angel, Rita’s
music spoke of her love of home and family, the courage to rise above
life’s challenges and the hardworking men and women that tie this
country together. “Working Man”, “Flying on Your Own”, Reason to
Believe”, “I’ll Accept The Rose Tonight” and “Home I’ll Be”, are just a
few of the songs that endeared Rita to fans in Canada, the U.K and
It's A Working Man I Am
Born in Big Pond, Cape
Breton on May 28th, 1944 to Neil and Catherine (Rene) MacNeil, Rita was
one of eight children. It wasn’t an easy life, as depicted in her
autobiography “On A Personal Note”(released in 1998), but with
determination and a passion for writing songs and singing, Rita pushed
beyond a profound shyness and found her way to a stage at Expo 86 in
Vancouver. It was here that the world discovered Rita MacNeil.
In 1987 she won her first Juno Award for Most Promising Female Vocalist.
She was 42. “Flying on Your Own” followed in 1987 and in 1989, her Juno
performance with Cape Breton’s Men of the Deeps of “Working Man”,
brought the house down.
Over the course of her career, Rita recorded more than 24 albums which
sold in the millions. She won 3 Juno’s, as well as numerous East Coast
Music Awards, Country Music Awards, and a Gemini for her CBC variety
show 'Rita & Friends' that ran from 1994 to 1997. She was a Member of
the Order of Canada, was awarded the Order of Nova Scotia and is the
recipient of five honorary doctorates. In 1986 she opened up Rita’s Tea
Room in her hometown of Big Pond, which in the past few years enjoyed
frequent visits from Rita herself.
She's called Nova Scotia
Rita’s quick wit and sly sense of humour was a hallmark of her live
shows and was in evidence when she was featured in an episode of the
Trailer Park Boys.
A mother to Laura (Dana) and Wade (Lori), a grandmother, a dear friend,
and a sister, Rita was a Canadian icon – a woman who had a dream that
became a reality - who brought joy and inspiration to so many.
And you never let the hard times
Take away your soul
And you stopped the tears from falling
As you watched the young ones go
You’re as peaceful as a clear day
You’re as rugged as the seas
I caress you, oh, Cape Breton, in my dreams
Home I’ll Be – Rita MacNeil
“Music is timeless and ageless,” noted the legendary singer, “the
passion I feel for what I do can’t be put aside with a number and a
year. It is a big part of my life – the concerts, the touring, the
letters and the joy the audience gives back to me when the music touches
a chord with them.” Rita MacNeil.
This comment system requires
you to be logged in through either a Disqus account or an account you already
have with Google, Twitter, Facebook or Yahoo. In the event you don't have an
account with any of these companies then you can create an account with Disqus.
All comments are moderated so they won't display until the moderator has
approved your comment.