More about Ellen Power
Ellen Power has been performing traditional Newfoundland folk music for over 20 years. Raised in St. John’s, her performances are rooted in the musical heritage of her family, well-known singers and storytellers from Placentia Bay (Pius Power Sr. and Pius Power Jr.). She has performed at events hosted by the Newfoundland and Labrador Folk Arts Society, Beyond the Overpass theatre company, St. John’s Storytelling and Storytelling Toronto. As a tradition bearer, Ellen has also been asked to sing at events for Music Media and Place at Memorial University, and has done singing and storytelling demonstrations for classes in the MUN Folklore department. She is passionate about keeping the Newfoundland ballad singing tradition alive and thriving.

Person list


  • Peter Leonard


  • Traditional


  • event occurred on May 31, 1934

Locations associated with this song:

Ellen's notes on "Jim Harris":

The song "Jim Harris" was the first song I ever learned, at the tender age of 4. It came to me from my father, Pius Power Jr (a fisherman and ballad singer from Clattice Harbour, Placentia Bay). The song was written in the 1930s by Peter Leonard from Isle Valen. Peter Leonard was known throughout Placentia Bay for composing witty songs about local people and goings-on. "Jim Harris" pokes gentle fun at the man in question, a well-respected captain who had an embarrassing collision with another ship while sailing into an unnamed community in Paradise Sound. The song enjoyed great local popularity for years and was later collected by folklorists from singers across Placentia Bay.
Ellen Power
© Ellen Power. Used by permission.


JIM HARRIS – By Peter Leonard

'Twas in the year of thirty-four, in the last daylight in May,
Jim Harris in the Ronald P. from St. Kieran's sailed away;
He sailed away in search of bait till he came to Paradise Sound,
Where, to his great and sad mistake, the Irene he ran down.

As she lay to her anchor, all hands was filled with joy,
Not thinking any accident to them was drawing nigh;
Until the Ronald hove in sight more joyful did they feel,
With flowing yards and swelling sails, taking eight knots from the reel.

She was like some frightened animal with the white foam across her face,
Neither sheet nor tack now did she slack while entering in this place;
Those boats they were well scattered, but for them there was plenty of room,
Till she passed too close to the Irene's head and she broke off her jib boom.

Which pierced the Ronald's mainsail about three cloths from the lee,
The mainsail left the mainmast, was an awful sight to see;
Those boys they were well frightened, what to do they did not know,
So, without their skipper's orders, their anchor they let go.

Jim Harris jumped upon the deck, fired down his cap and swore,
Saying, such a tangle now as this I never saw before;
I’m in charge of vessels great and small and I’ve brought them far and near,
All across the broad Atlantic where the storms do rage severe.

Now, if this was some youngster, what would the people say,
For an accident can happen to the best man any day;
It's alright when the wheel is going up, but when she turns for to come down,
You all might meet with the same sad fate as Jim Harris from Paradise Sound.

See lyrics on a page by themselves