Archives for posts with tag: British Columbia

The Vancouver area is a bhangra hotbed. It’s one of the world’s capitals of bhangra, thanks to the large Punjabi community that has already lived here for several generations. Some of the world’s biggest bhangra stars call Surrey, BC home. And each year Vancouver hosts the City of Bhangra Festival, a celebration featuring performances, symposia, and an international bhangra dance competition.

The 2009 edition of City of Bhangra – or, as it was then known, the Vancouver International Bhangra Celebration – takes centre stage in this documentary I produced and directed for CBC Radio & ABC Radio National, which was rebroadcast today on CBC’s Inside the Music.

If you missed it, you can listen to it in full right here:

For the next week and a half I’ll be filling in for host Stephen Quinn on CBC Radio Vancouver’s afternoon drive show, On the Coast – an enormous privilege, and I’m terribly excited!

I’ve been very busy of late. On top of On the Coast, I’ve been working on a number of projects. You’ll see more posts in the coming days and weeks devoted to some of them:

  • Signal to Noise: my audio piece, commissioned as one of the first winners of In the Dark Radio’s Sound Bank grant programme in London, England. LISTEN HERE
  • RPM.fm: a fantastic new website devoted to indigenous music culture. I’m producing their podcast. LISTEN HERE
  • Authentic: I’ve written music for one of Neworld Theatre’s PodPlays, “Authentic”, by C.E. Gatchalian, to be launched August 8. READ MORE
  • Thucydides: I had the opportunity to do the sound design for Nicola Luksic’s excellent Ideas documentary on CBC Radio 1, “Thucidydes: the First Journalist.” READ MORE
  • And last but not least, 8-part series The Wire: the Impact of Electricity on Music, Peabody Award and Prix Italia winner, is at long last made available for on-demand listening online, thanks to CBC’s “And The Winner is…” LISTEN HERE

I’ll get around to writing a proper post for each of these, but in the meantime, hope you can join me for On the Coast!

 

I love recording things. Capturing moments in time. Working in radio is like being a photographer of sound.

Microphones are like best friends. They’re reliable. They don’t lie. They tell you exactly what happened. Who said what. How it all went down. Recently on CBC Radio’s DNTO, I joined Sook-Yin Lee to tell the story of the day my mic let me down.

It happened a few years ago when I was producing a CBC summer show called Subcultures.  Host Hal Niedzviecki and I were in backcountry BC, “embedded”, I guess you could say, in the subculture of cryptozoologists – people who spend the better part of their waking hours in the pursuit of mythical creatures, like the Ogopogo or the Sasquatch (aka Bigfoot).

That morning might have been the breakthrough cryptozoologists were waiting for, because we might have nearly recorded the sound of a Sasquatch snuffling.

The Land Rover you see dangling off the side of the road in the photo above is part of the story. (It was much worse than it looks in the photo. Sasquatch hunter Thomas and I were almost fish food.)

Here’s the rest of the story:

The Chinese New Year is next week, and the Year of the Tiger is coming to a close.

I’ve been thinking a lot about tigers this week, because I spent the earlier part of it completely wrapped up in and riveted by John Vaillant’s superb book, The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival. In addition to being incredibly well-researched, and a gripping adventure story, it’s also an eloquent tribute to this iconic predator with whom we have a surprising amount of qualities in common – and that we are in danger of driving into extinction.

Much to my surprise, as I was finishing up the last chapters, I was called in to guest-host CBC Radio’s NXNW this weekend (because the program’s amazing regular host, Sheryl MacKay, is sick) – and discovered I’d have the opportunity to speak with John about his book. You can hear the interview on the NXNW podcast for January 30th.

photo by Daragh Owens

As this Year of the Tiger comes to its end, I’m finding myself hoping that when the next one rolls around in 2022, we won’t be talking about how there are only a few tigers left in the wild, but rather how the tiger population has increased. There are a number of conservation organizations trying to help save the tiger.

Also on the show this weekend: the irrepressibly creative singer/songwriter and painter Mae Moore talks about her beautiful new book and new album, both called Folklore; actor and comedian Gary Jones reflects on the resurgence of live storytelling; the story of a gorgeous new children’s book out of Haida Gwai’i about Aboriginal basketball, and much more including of course lots of great music from here in BC and beyond. Hope you can join me 6 am – 9 am Saturday and Sunday.

This morning I had the privilege of sharing some of my favourite British Columbian 2010 music releases on CBC Radio 1′s NXNW, with the wonderful Sheryl MacKay.

It’s a thrill to realize just how much great music is coming out of my home province.

Hands-down my pick for Album of the Year, period, from any location, is Versicolour, by singer-songwriter Aidan Knight. It’s a work of art, really, from start to finish. Every single song continues to surprise me with subtleties and wondrous little moments, even after dozens of listens, and the final track, Jasper, was unquestionably the anthem of the year in our household. I can’t wait to hear more from this promising young artist.

Here are some of my other favourites:

This is what the autumn cattle auction looks like in Okanagan Falls, BC.

I went there in October to speak to some of the ranchers who live in the South Okanagan-Similkameen area of southern British Columbia, near Oliver and Keremeos.

The ranchers are very concerned about a proposal for a National Park which has been underway for about 7 years. If you drive through the area, you can’t miss the NO NATIONAL PARK signs by the side of the highway.

They’re worried a park will threaten their livelihood, because it will mean they’d lose access to crown lands for grazing purposes.

On the flip side, the area is very ecologically sensitive and unique in Canada. It’s a desert-like, arid environment full of endangered species, and park proponents are also concerned – they’re worried that, without a park, development will mean big changes to this beautiful and relatively untouched area.

One of the reasons it’s untouched is because the ranchers and local First Nations have been such good stewards of the land.

But with so much development in the Okanagan Valley, it’s uncertain whether this ecologically sensitive landscape will survive in the long term, and environmentalists say a National Park is urgently needed.

It’s a very complicated situation and the people involved are all very passionate about their particular point of view, whether it’s for or against the park.  I put together this report for All Points West on CBC Radio 1 in BC, giving a general overview of this story about a very beautiful and important part of the province in which I live.


I’m thrilled to announce that my documentary The Sound and the Sea has won a Silver Medal for Best Sound at the 2010 New York Festivals Radio Program and Promotion Awards.

I produced it last year for CBC Radio’s The Current. It was based on my original audio artwork Ode to the Salish Sea. Producing it in documentary format allowed me to explore more deeply the story of the Salish Sea and its various proponents and opponents as a new name for the inland waters stretching from Olympia, WA to Campbell River, BC.

The Salish Sea became an official geographic name in July, 2010, overlaying but not replacing existing place names like the Strait of Georgia and Puget Sound, which also remain official.

The sound design of The Sound and the Sea was inspired by the diversity and beauty of the Pacific Northwest.

Just over a year ago, I composed an audio artwork commissioned by the Deep Wireless Festival of Radio Art. I’m excited to share it as the first audio I’m posting here on my new website (now that I’ve figured out how to post audio).

It’s called Ode to the Salish Sea and it premiered in Toronto on May 30, 2009 in octophonic surround sound at the Wychwood Art Barns, during the Radio Without Boundaries conference. It was broadcast that month across Canada on the venerable and undeservedly discontinued CBC program Outfront, and has since been broadcast on KUOW in Seattle.

At the time of the production of the piece, the Salish Sea was a proposed name for the inland waters that run from Olympia, WA, north to Campbell River, BC.  Last November, it became an official name in the USA, to be used on all new maps. I later produced a documentary for CBC’s The Current called The Sound and the Sea, based on Ode to the Salish Sea. (I’ll be posting that here too in a little bit, but if you like, you can hear it here now.)

A very long-winded description of the Ode, written during production, follows below.

Read the rest of this entry »

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