Response to a question on FB about “How the Tiger Lost Her Roar”

Yesterday on FB someone posted a link to a live video performance of my song, “How The Tiger Lost Her Roar”, adding the sweet note “For all the folkies out there. Love this song by Karyn Ellis!” (Thanks Peter!)

In the comments, he wrote:
“Karyn, my mom was a war bride and maybe that’s why I find this song so touching. Can you give me some background as to how you came to write it?”

I wrote back on FB, but now I’m thinking more people would be interested in the background of the song too! And so here’s my reply:

“Wow! I’m glad to hear it touches you. Its original spark was not specifically about the women who came over to Canada as war brides, but other people have referred to this association as well.

How The Tiger Lost Her Roar was inspired initially by a conversation I had with my mother about her experience of moving from the UK to Canada as a young woman. Packing up her 12 storage trunks (literally!) and getting on a transcontinental boat with my father, my sister and I. This got me thinking about what kind of courage it takes for someone to migrate across an ocean or continent. To leave behind one’s entire support network of friends and family, one’s known life, to enter a “new land”.

While there are lots of positive stories of new life & new opportunity, as I started writing this song I wondered more about the other stories… the people who emigrated only to discover that things did turn out for them in the way they hoped. There is a certain vulnerability in their actions, and I feel their bravery ought to be recognised.

It seems especially relevant in today’s climate where there are people migrating all over the world to escape terrible circumstances hoping to find a new, safer home. What must it be like for them to shore up the courage to leave everything they’ve ever known only to face walls and brutality in the new land?”

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