Formed in 1966, the group has a mandate to preserve the traditional music and folklore of the Canadian Maritimes and particularly the Cape Breton region. To belong to the singing group, a man must have worked in the mine. Their repertoire includes traditional songs of Cape Breton; modern, authored songs by Cape Breton songwriters; and songs arising from mining regions throughout the English-speaking world. Their style is decidedly working-class, but this obvious class-consciousness is not overtly political. The Men of the Deeps have toured most of the major cities in North America and have released several albums. The group has appeared on numerous television programs including a National Film Board of Canada short film featuring the group in performance, and a 2003 documentary, which won a Gemini Award. In 1977, the group became the first Canadian musical ensemble to tour the Peoples Republic of China. In 1999, they went to Kosovo and performed a concert on behalf of the United Nations Children's Fund. Dressed in the miners' garb of coveralls and hard hats, they make an impressive impact when they enter a concert hall in total darkness with their helmet lamps providing the only light.