Friday, November 1, 2019

King Ganam

 A brief introduction to the true Saskatchewan icon, King Ganam:

King Ganam, born Ameen Sied Ganam on August 9, 1914 in Swift Current, Saskatchewan to an English mother and Syrian father. Picking up the fiddle at an early age and undertaking informal lessons from local old-time performers, by the age of nine Ganam was playing local dances and by 13 was making live appearances on CHWC radio in Regina. He would later undertake more formal training from such fiddle greats as W. Knight Wilson, Jack Thornicroft, and Gregori Garbovitsky.

Relocating to Edmonton, Ganam formed his first band, Sons of the West, in 1942 and went on to perform on CBC Radio's “Alberta Ranch House”, winning the 1950 World Open Western Band Competition in Vancouver. This led to a recording contract with RCA Victor and his nickname, “Canada's King of the Fiddle”. Ganam relocated to Toronto in 1952 where he performed on various CBC Radio and TV shows throughout the decade, including “Holiday Ranch” and “Country Hoedown.” In 1961 came “The King Ganam Show” on CTV, and one year later he moved to southern California for the remainder of his life, though he would regularly return to Canada to perform.

In 1989, King Ganam was one of the original inductees to the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame. He passed away on April 26, 1994, leaving behind an incredible life and a vibrant recorded legacy, with a dozen or so sides cut throughout the ‘50s, and four later LPs. 
Ganam always felt an affinity for the nomadic tribes of his ancestry and recognized parallels to cowboy and western swing music. In 1954, a magazine article described Ganam's "dark good looks, flashing brown eyes and Syrian background...King Ganam looks as if he'd be at home dashing across the desert on an Arabian steed. But says he, the only plains he has ever dashed across are those in Southern Saskatchewan where he was born and grew up." 

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