Students On Ice Arctic 2018: The Journey

In this video, Ian Tamblyn speaks to how Students on Ice expeditions are a transformative experience. On our expeditions he holds songwriting workshops as part of the Isuma stream of our education program. Ian describes how youth can express their journey in a variety of ways; through a canvas, photograph, or through a song. All these are ways of translating the physical journey that is the expedition.

Magnetic North – Release on Vinyl- Record Centre Records

I am pleased to announce the re release of Magnetic North on vinyl in co-operation with John Thompson of the Record Centre in Ottawa and Precision Records in Toronto. The album has been remastered on clear vinyl and now is a limited edition of three hundred, numbered copies. It is available through the Record Centre or through the website. 

The story of this release might be of interest to the listener. Magnetic North was originally recorded in 1989-90 at Ambience Studio in Ottawa. was co- produced by myself and Phil Bova Sr. with engineering by Phil Bova Sr. and Marty Jones. At the time the album was not mastered because Phil wanted to maintain the dynamic range on the album. The album went on to sell over 50,000 copies and was nominated for a Juno in 1990. 

In 2017 John Thompson and associates heard a cassette of this recording and enjoyed the sound of it. The cassette had been manufactured in real time by Ron Drake at Canatron Studios in Ottawa. John contacted me and wondered if I would be interested in releasing this album on vinyl. It was in some ways full circle for me because the first album I released was 200 copies of a vinyl album called Moosetracks. I agreed to join this venture. However, two years lapsed and John could not find a facility to transfer the tape which had been recorded on Dolby SR, a very good noise reduction system that was unfortunately, equally rare. John returned the tapes to me. Not content to let this opportunity go,  I contacted an engineering friend, John Cybanski, to see if he knew any place with Dolby SR. There was one at Bath Studio near Kingston but they were unsure of its viability. Through John, I finally found a unit at Archives Canada and with the generous help of Chris Bradley and the Archives, he was able to transfer the original tapes. These transfers were then taken to Phil Shaw Bova Jr. who mastered them at his studio. Because we were now going from the original recordings we had to drop two tracks to conform to the vinyl process and the amount of time one can have on each side of a record. I chose to sacrifice “Kodiak Evening” and “Gargantua Dawn” and then resequenced the album. I decided with permission,  to go back to the original cover which was a water colour of a beluga whale painted by David Brynaert. The album was then sent to Precision Record Pressing in Toronto. They sent the master to the Czech Republic where the “mothers” were cut and then Precision pressed the record on clear vinyl. I am really pleased with the results and grateful to all for bringing this project to fruition.  

July 2020


Ian Tamblyn has been a musician since 1972. He has released 38 albums as well as acting as producer for dozens of other artists. Over the years Ian has written too many songs and has given up on counting them. He has also written fourteen plays and over one hundred theatre soundtracks.


Uummannaq is a village set on Uumannaq Island on the west coast of Greenland. The strikingly beautiful island is distinguished by gigantic pinnacle that rises above the village (1170 metres) and is unmistakeably in the shape of a heart. Ummannaq means “heart shaped” in Greenlandic Inuktitut. As the story goes, those who are born in the shadow of this heart or those who come under its power will seek to return to Ummannaq forever because the island holds your heart as well.

I fell under the spell of this village, island and people a few years ago while working for the “Students on Ice Foundation”. Each summer SOI takes 70+ students from around the world to the Arctic world for two weeks of intensive scientific and cultural studies. Uummannaq has been a highlight of these journeys as the village boosts a vibrant music and cultural scene as well as orphanage which is world renowned for its choir.  In 2015, SOI celebrated Uummannaq’s 250th anniversary. We sang a song in the town’s square inspired by our visit.  

This video and song is dedicated to the work of photographer Lee Narraway. Lee worked as photographer for SOI for many years and several of the photographs in this video are hers. Due to health restrictions, Lee can no longer travel with SOI but I walk with her still through fields of Arctic cotton beneath that towering mountain.
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