Archives for posts with tag: CBC

Here are some of my favourite things about America: Win Butler. Big Sur. The drumming of Art Blakey. The Third Coast International Audio Festival in Chicago. My earliest memories, of splashing through the shallows of Cape Cod as a toddler.

That list is quickly cobbled-together over a bleary Sunday morning coffee – but needless to say I could go on and on. Today, though, what I love most is the music of Aaron Copland, Samuel Barber and Leonard Bernstein, and it’s my pleasure to bring you a superb performance of classics by these American masters on CBC Radio 2’s In Concert this morning.

Their music encapsulates the best of the American spirit: optimism, endless horizons; that bright-eyed American philosophy of rolling up your sleeves and getting it done.

Try your hand at the In Concert Quiz, which celebrates US travel destinations that have been immortalized in music.

And listen for a new series I’ve been working on called the Signature Series, in which I attempt to anthropomorphize the keys. Can you ascribe a personality to a bunch of sharps and flats? Today, we’ll meet A Major.

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:

I must confess I didn’t really know anything about the Ancient Greek author and historian Thucydides until a marvellous opportunity to learn all about him landed in my lap.

Nicola Luksic is a fantastic journalist and producer with CBC Radio in Toronto, and a wonderful person with whom to collaborate. Nicola’s produced some of the finest programs to hit the airwaves in the past few years, including And Sometimes Y, The Bottom Line, the double Gabriel-Award-winning 2010-11 season of Tapestry, and many more.

This past season Nicola also wrote & produced a documentary for CBC’s Ideas about Thucydides, and I was thrilled when she asked me to select scoring music and do the sound mix. With the help of the APM music production library, I tried to create an atmosphere that would immerse listeners in the world of Ancient Athens, Sparta, and the Peloponnesian War.

LISTEN HERE to Nicola’s excellent doc, Thucydides: The First Journalist.

A couple of years ago I produced & directed two audio documentaries on the music of the Indian Subcontinent for CBC Radio in Canada and ABC Radio National in Australia.

Episode 1, about the music of Bollywood, was rebroadcast today on CBC Radio across Canada. But if you missed it, fret not! You can listen to it in its entirety right here, below. Episode 2: Bhangra airs next Sunday on Inside the Music.

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!

CLICK HERE to listen to Gros Morne: The Bones of the Earth – my feature documentary about how the theory of plate tectonics found firm footing in Gros Morne National Park, in Western Newfoundland.

UPDATE: Bones of the Earth wins Gold Medal at New York Festivals!

2011 marks the 100th anniversary of Parks Canada.

In Western Newfoundland, there’s a national park that holds the key to one of the most important scientific ideas of our times.

Gros Morne National Park is kind of like the Galápagos of geology – you might go to the Galápagos to experience first-hand the wonder of biology and the theory of evolution. In Gros Morne, you can experience first-hand the wonder of geology and the theory of plate tectonics.

Instead of looking out for Darwin’s finches and giant tortoises you’ll come face-to-face with vistas and rock formations that will take your breath away.

About a year ago, I was lucky enough to go to Gros Morne with my microphones to capture the echo of a continental dance that happened 500 million years ago.

My colleague (and great friend) Chris Brookes and I sought out that echo in the words of geologists, artists, musicians and poets, and in the sounds of the park itself.

We composed music based on the field recordings, too. (Listen to excerpts from the original soundtrack.)

Then we wove it all together, along with poetry by Don McKay and traditional Newfoundland music performed by Daniel Payne, Jean Hewson and Christina Smith.

The result is a documentary called Gros Morne: The Bones of the Earth, and you can listen on-demand, whenever you like, HERE.

This documentary was produced with the support of Parks Canada, and sometime this summer, a longer version, presented by Shelagh Rogers, will be available in Gros Morne National Park and online.

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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:

For years now, I’ve been experiencing the onset of a slow love affair with cricket. Maybe it’s because I love puzzles (especially the cryptic kind), and here in North America, cricket is usually shrouded in mystery.  It’s viewed as baseball’s exotic, off-kilter cousin whose rules are just a bit too cryptic to figure out, thank you very much, especially if there’s a baseball game on.

As it turns out, just as with cryptic crosswords, puzzling through the rules of cricket offers great satisfaction.  Now that I have a clue what’s happening on the pitch, I can hardly tear myself away.  And the language!  Can any other sport compete with googlies, doosras, yorkers, maiden overs and ducks?

There’s a kind of poetry to cricket.  In honour of the 2011 Cricket World Cup, about to begin in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, here’s my mini-doc on how I came to love the sport:

And my guide to Team Canada appears in this week’s edition of Eye Weekly in Toronto.

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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.

How do you mash up the sound of a year? In less than 2 minutes?

It’s an interesting challenge, and CBC Radio One’s Saturday morning show Day 6 put it to me a couple of weeks ago.

They gave me some simple parameters – I had to use clips relating to their Big 6 stories, the top stories of 2010 in six categories as selected by Day 6’s listeners, unveiled on their New Year’s Day program: Haiti, the Chilean Miners, the BP Oil Spill, Steig Larsson, Betty White and the iPad. They also asked me to include 2 stories that didn’t make their final cut – Justin Bieber’s popularity, and the Wikileaks affair.

So I trawled the internet for 2010 audio gold and threw a little something together. Day 6 posted the result on their website. But you can also hear it here:

One of the most poignant clips I found was a short quote from Barack Obama, during a press conference about the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. He tells the story of how his daughter asks him, “Have you plugged the hole yet, daddy?”

Here’s hoping we can all plug some holes and make the world a little bit better in 2011 than it was in 2010.