Could I have heard 'O Siem' before 1995?
October 20, 2010 3:38 PM   Subscribe

Wasn't the song 'O Siem' around before Susan Aglukark recorded it in 1995? I feel certain that I heard it in the 70s. In case it matters, I lived in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada as a child from 1971 to 1979, and it was during this period that I believe I heard the song on the radio. The Wikipedia entry for the song credits Aglukark as one of the writers and mentions no other versions. I also can't find any earlier reference on allmusic or via a Google search. Could it have been spelled differently? I think the lyrics were the same. I remember the title phrase being pronounced "oozy-em" and the inclusion of at least some of the same lines as in the chorus of the Aglukark song: "O Siem / We are all family / O Siem / We're all the same". I'm an amateur musician and have a very good music memory. If this is a false memory, it is an incredibly convincing one, and I have not previously (knowingly) experienced anything similar.
posted by dopeydad to Media & Arts (4 answers total)

I don't know jack about Aglukark specifically, but it's fairly common, in the world of folk/traditional/whatnot music, for someone to get credit as a songwriter for something that is partially or totally already present in oral tradition.

This encyclopedia entry says that "her album This Child combined contemporary melodies, traditional Inuk chants, modern lyrics and Inuit culture and folklore."

Maybe the rhythm or words or sentiment of 'O Siem/ We are all family/ O Siem/ We're all the same,' or something similar, appeared before Aglukark came along and set them to contemporary music?
posted by box at 5:57 AM on October 21, 2010

Response by poster: It's definitely the melody that I remember.

I'm fascinated by the possibility that this memory might just be a mental glitch. I've always wondered whether, given sufficient evidence, I would be able to accept that I was subject to a delusion. I think I can, but I'm not quite ready to concede in this case. I'm going to talk to a few more people and try contacting Aglukark through her fan club.
posted by dopeydad at 1:54 PM on October 21, 2010

Best answer: I heard from Susan Aglukark's manager, who says that Susan and Chad Irschick wrote the song in 1994, and there was no previous version. I guess my false memory is just an instance of the Telescoping Effect.

Thanks for your help.
posted by dopeydad at 12:38 PM on October 22, 2010

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