150+ Canadians Day 115: Bruce Cockburn

Image: Janet Spinas Dancer on Flickr

Bruce Cockburn contributes to peace by writing and performing powerful songs advocating for a more peaceful and just world.

“Part of the job of being human is just to try to spread light, at whatever level you can do it.”

Canadian activist, musician, songwriter, singer and spiritual seeker,  Bruce Cockburn is deeply respected for his activism on issues from native rights and land mines to the environment and Third World debt, working for organizations such as Oxfam, Amnesty International, Doctors Without Borders, and Friends of the Earth.

A global citizen, his remarkable journey has seen him embrace folk, jazz, rock, and world beat styles while travelling to places as Guatemala, Mali, Mozambique, and Nepal, and writing memorable songs about his ever-expanding understanding and experience of the world. His songs of protest have supported the work of activists worldwide. His song, “If I Had a Rocket Launcher”, is an angry response to the plight of refugees in Central America. “Stolen Land”, refers to the land claims of British Columbia’s Haida people, and, “If a Tree Falls”, condemns the deforestation of the Amazon.

Bruce Cockburn has an induction into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, Governor General’s Performing Arts Award, 20 gold records, 13 Junos, 6 Honourary degrees, and an Order of Canada.

“A sane person doesn’t think war is a good idea. I’m not a pacifist. I feel that there are situations where fighting is inescapable, but we don’t go looking for those things.”

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