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Simpson's Folly - History

Dressed in the costume styles of 1815 or 1850, the members of Simpsonís Folly sing the songs, play the music and tell the stories that reflect life in the time period of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars (1793-1815) or the Scottish settlement at Red River. Their group name, Simpsonís Folly is a tongue-in-cheek reference to the Ďstone fortí located thirty-two kilometres north of Winnipeg, Manitoba.

In 1826, when the spring floods swept away the settlement at the Forks of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers, Sir George Simpson, the Governor of the Northern Territories of Rupertís Land , had Lower Fort Garry built just below St. Andrewís Rapids on the high bank of the Red River. It was his dream to encourage trade and commerce to move from the flood-prone settlement at The Forks to his newly constructed fort site. But his vision was never realized. Settlers rebuilt their homes at The Forks and business and community life continued to thrive to become the present day city of Winnipeg.

The musicians are: Frederick Carsted - bodhran, hard-shoe step dance, re-enactor of historic events, vocals, and recitations. Johanna Handford - celtic harp, button accordion, concertina, recorder, guitar and vocals. Dorothy Long - mandolin, button accordion, bodhran and vocals. James Long - 12 string guitar, harmonica, fiddle, cello and vocals.

Since 1991, the group has performed at various events:

  • for the transfer of the Hudson’s Bay collection to the Province of Manitoba,
  • for the Premiers of Western Canada,
  • for the dedication of the North-West Mounted Police Statue at Emerson,
  • for His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales,
  • for the Winnipeg Art Gallery,
  • for the opening of the Leo Mol Sculpture Garden,
  • for the 125th Anniversary of the Winnipeg Free Press,
  • for the Arts Councils of Dauphin and Portage la Prairie,
  • for the Winnipeg Mandolin Orchestra’s 77th Season finale,
  • at the RCMP Musical Ride,
  • for the historic reunion of Canada’s pioneer Mannix family,
  • for the Pan-Am Games,
  • for Winnipeg’s New Year’s Eve 2000 celebrations,
  • for the opening of the Hudson’s Bay Gallery at the Manitoba Museum,
  • for Premier Doer’s Diplomatic Forum 2000,
  • at historic dinners hosted by the Lower Fort Garry Volunteer Association,
  • at the annual Rendezvous at Lower Fort Garry,
  • at the Festival du Voyageur,
  • for the St. John’s Cathedral Red River Christmas and
  • for the 125th Anniversary of the Manitoba Historical Society.

Their music complements film footage in CBCís York Factory, CTVís Tales of Old River Road and Emerson: Manitoba's First City, SCN's Viking to Metis: Orkney-Canada Connections, and the series Destination Canada. The Hudsonís Bay Company commissioned The Waters of Rupertís Land to celebrate its 325th Anniversary and the recording is now part of the HBC Heritage Service Program. CBC Radio plays selections from their recordings.

Simpson's Folly - Discography

   To see track listings and sample music click on cover art. Once CD is selected click on song title underlined to play song.

To purchase CD's still available follow this link.


A Drop o' the Best CD


Redcoats And Bluejackets CD


Fourteen Miles From Kildonan CD


Red River Christmas CD


The Early Years CD


The Waters Of Rupertsland cassette


Red River Christmas cassette


Keeping The Tradition cassette


Below St Andrews Rapids cassette