A welcome for an old friend

Valdy, one of Canadas best-known folk singers performs in Summerside on Feb. 8

Sally Cole scole@theguardian.pe.ca
Published on February 1, 2008

Valdy smiles when he spies a painting of Urban Carmichael hanging on the wall of Beanz Espresso Bar in Charlottetown.

Would you take my photo next to him? Hes an old friend, says Valdy, who met the late singer-songwriter at the Stan Rogers Folk Festival in Nova Scotia, where he was the perennial favourite and Carmichael was the ever-popular emcee.

He is someone who is greatly missed, he says.

After travelling thousands of miles across the country, Valdy has already found someone he knows.

A man with 1,000 friends from Newfoundland to Vancouver Island to Texas and New Zealand, his ability to connect with people is his greatest strength.

Its a quality that Valdy will bring to the Harbourfront Jubilee Theatre stage when he performs in concert on Feb. 8, 8 p.m.

I love meeting people and I remember them. And Im very excited about the Summerside concert, he says.

That day he will be returning home to Canada from Bermuda after a string of performances at the Bermuda Folk Club.

I am looking forward to it. I will be rested and will hopefully be presenting some of my new material.

Im working on two CDs right now. The themes are family suite and love songs, says Valdy who visited P.E.I. recently to take part in a fundraiser for Alzheimers.

Living with his wife in Salt Spring Island, B.C., Valdy is going through a prolific period in his songwriting.

I have all kinds of new songs on the go and a couple of new tunes. I just co-wrote one with Doris Mason called VLT, he says.

Even though he uses his concerts to introduce new material, he never disappoints his fans.

Ill be playing my older songs, too. Thats what people want to hear, says Valdy, who is known for timeless hits like Renaissance, Peter and Lou, Simple Life and Rock n Roll Song.

After 36 years of giving concerts, he doesnt plan to stop performing anytime soon.

I really enjoy what Im doing, and my health is good. Its all about lifestyle.

Each day I do yoga and a little stretching and I dont party hard.

I also watch my diet and when I feel something coming on I eat a lot of garlic, which is very unfortunate for the people around me, but I stay healthy, says Valdy.

He is also making plans for the future.

Im taking banjo and fiddle lessons and I carry a little Martin mandolin with me so I can learn the tuning and fingering, he says.

Valdy credits much of his success to his wife of 19 years, Kathleen Mary Fraser Horsdal.

She has been keeping me on track for years. Without her, I dont know where I would be.

At a glance

Valdy fast facts

n Birth name: Valdemar Horsdal.

n Born: Sept. 1, 1945.

n Birthplace: Ottawa, Ont.

n Profession: singer-songwriter.

n Favourite books: Spook Country by William Gibson and The Colony of Unrequited Dreams by Wayne Johnston.

n Favourite food: Caesar salad, garlic.

n Favourite movie: Blade Runner, with Harrison Ford.

n Five things to take to a desert island: A musical instrument, garlic, another musical instrument, a machine that turns sea water into drinking water and a chef.

Website: www.valdy.com.

Sally Cole, a features writer with The Guardian, may be reached at scole@theguardian.pe.ca or by phone at 629-6000, ext. 6054 or by e-mail at scole@theguardian.pe.ca.