The popularity of vernacular song cannot be measured by market research alone. As this article illustrates, such data must be augmented through a knowledge of the emotional investments that regional groups make in appropriating particular songs and performances as their own. In the mid-seventies, Newfoundland songwriter Ron Hynes composed and began publicly performing "Sonny’s Dream." Since then, the song has attained a degree of international popularity, as well as a regional "anthemic" dimension in Atlantic Canada. Anthems are sacrosanct signifiers that express regional social consciousness; they identify common experience through powerful performance and lyrical codes that prompt collective awe. In turn, participants reap rewards of mutual support, assertiveness, and empowerment. A close examination of the lyrics of "Sonny’s Dream" reveals some of the ways that the song’s verbal sentiments have accurately reflected the social concerns and aspirations of Atlantic Canadians.

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