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Valdy, born Valdemar Horsdal, has been part of the fabric of Canadian pop and folk music for half a century. He is well known for “Play Me a Rock ‘n’ Roll Song” but has also delighted audiences everywhere performing classics such as “Peter & Lou”, “Yes I Can”, “Renaissance”, “Sonny’s Dream” and many more.

One of Canada’s premier folk artists, Valdy had an improbable hit with a song about a decidedly hostile audience heckling a soft-spoken minstrel. The square-peg-in-a-round-hole story recounts Valdy’s bitter-sweet memory of finding himself, a relaxed and amiable storyteller, facing a rambunctious audience playing at the Aldergrove Rock Festival in 1968, where the rock-loving audience jeered his folk offerings. Valdy has always recognized the irony that a bad gig turned into a hit. In 2012, he told an interviewer, “I was hired as a folk singer to go and play at a rock festival. I was out of place and … I got the reception I deserved, let’s put it that way. They wanted rock, they gave me a hard time about it, and I got a great song out of it.” Ironically, Valdy is in the Victoria Rock and Roll Music Hall of Fame.

Play Me a Rock and Roll Song’s success is attributable in part to several factors. It cleverly played into the hippy counter-culture movement, while embodying the tensions between rock and folk fans (which Bob Dylan discovered when he infamously used electric instruments at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival).

A man with a thousand friends, from Newfoundland to Vancouver Island to Truro to Texas to New Zealand, he’s a singer, guitarist and songwriter who catches the small but telling moments that make up life. Valdy has sold almost half a million copies of his 16 albums, 22 singles, has 2 Juno Awards (Folk Singer of the Year and Folk Entertainer of the Year), a total of 7 Juno nominations and 4 Gold albums to his credit.

ORDER OF CANADA Valdy has been named to the Order of Canada (Arts/Music) for his achievements as a folk musician and for his support of charitable causes.


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