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We be jammin'

Sing-along Saturdays always popular at the Trapper

Terry Halifax
Northern News Services

Inuvik (Aug 16/02) - On a sleepy Saturday afternoon in Inuvik, you can always find a happy crowd of musicians and music lovers at the Mad Trapper bar.

NNSL Photo

Frankie Stefansson plays Squaws Along the Yukon during his first live performance at the Mad Trapper's Saturday jam session. - Terry Halifax/NNSL photo

Every Saturday, the bar hosts the jam session where anyone with the talent or guts to get on stage, can.

The Trapper's manager, Dave Rogers, says the jam is always hosted by the band who happens to be playing the bar that week.

"They come prepared for almost anything," Rogers said. "Anybody who comes in and wants to perform, we let them."

The jammers can play, sing or tell a joke and all get a free drink for their efforts.

"That's not much of an incentive," Rogers laughs. "It would take a lot more than that to get me on that stage, but they like the chance to show their stuff."

The crowd and audience is varied and so are the musical tastes. From old time country tunes to rock and roll, the music leads some to dance up a storm and some to laugh out loud.

Rogers said the diversity of the audience matches the performance, so it always leads to a good time.

"We get all types and sometimes we get a lot of people jamming in here -- especially when it happens during Jamboree, when there's a lot of people in the community," Rogers said. "It also brings in a lot of people who don't normally come out to the bar."

Following his first appearance on stage, Frankie Stefansson had a good laugh.

"My friend asked me to go up there and sing a song," Stefansson said. "I had no business in doing that."

He's picked up the guitar just as a way to pass the time in the bush, but had a good time playing in front of an audience.

"I live out in camp and I just play the songs I hear on the radio," he said.

George Grandjambe has been playing guitar for about 30 years. He likes the jam sessions as a way to entertain without being tied down to music as if it were a job.

"I like to play anything from country to rock and roll -- sometimes I even make up my own," Grandjambe said.

He loves to play for the same reasons any performer does.

"I like it because it makes people happy," he said.

Grandjambe played in a band once, but because of family responsibilities had to give it up. He like the informal jam sessions where he can just pop in and play for an afternoon.

Rogers says it's that informal attitude that keeps the people coming back for good music and good times on a Saturday afternoon.

"As good as you are, as bad as you are; everybody's pretty much equal at jam," he said. "And the ones who aren't as talented, the crowd loves it even more."