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Music Category

Barbarous Music

bc-bagpiper-nixon-100630.jpgIt was the 17th century English diarist, Samuel Pepys, who noted that bagpipes produced "at best ... mighty barbarous music'.  The best Pepys heard probably was not that good, for today bagpipes are known to produce an astonishing range of delightful melodies that stir the heart to noble heights and lofty emotions. 

That said, they can be rather vuvuzela loud, which helped when I wandered by Vanier Park and heard the far off strains of a piper piping.  There he stood practicing for Canada Day, his two children at his feet seeming oblivious to his playing - and everyone else keeping their distance.  Lone Bagpiper icon_video.gif


fun-city100510_16x9_xtralarge_1.jpgVancouver's documentary film festival, DOXA, began on May 7 and I'm guessing that one of the scores of docs being shown, "No Fun City", will create a bit of a stir.  This Vancouver documentary was written, produced and directed by Melissa James along with co-producer and director Kate Kroll - two rising stars if this film is any indication of their abilities.  No Fun City speaks to the inevitable conflict between girls and boys who just wanna have fun and other people who wanna have quiet.  It documents the underground music scene in Vancouver and the loss of concert space available to bands.  That line sounds a bit dry reading it just now.  The film is anything but, a wild ride into a really vibrant world that remided me of my own wayward youth before I became the serious, no nonsense fella I am today.  No Fun City icon_video.gif

LP Records

bc-vinyl-nixon-100323.jpgYou should have seen Lawrence Crawley's eyes light up when I told him I have an original Sex Pistols 'Never Mind the Bullocks' album.  "We could sell that within an hour," he told me.  Of course, when I said 'have', that's only kinda true.  I gave my record collection to my sister for safe keeping decades ago when I moved out of the country.  Guess what?  I never asked for it back.  (Hey Pam.  Send me that album.  I'm hankering to listen to "God Save the Queen" again.) 

It seems Crawley has caught a wave, as people who never bought a record in their lives are suddenly discovering the joys of LPs.  They like the idea of the whole process involved in getting music played, taking the vinyl out of its sleeve, putting it on the turntable, taping a penny to the needle - you know, the whole record playing thing.  So much more personal than downloading some MP3, plugging in the earphones and nodding your head erratically on the skytrain.  But maybe even that will seem way cool in 30 years when all music comes through brain implants.   Vinyl Guy icon_video.gif

Disabled Pianists

I took piano lessons for more than decade when I was a youngster, and bedevilled my parents the entire time by never practicing enough.  I bedevilled my adult self by never becoming much of a player.  So it was remarkable to meet with a group of pianists who actually love to play, particularly ...

Fiddle Kids

Remember that Beverly Hillbillies episode about the famous violinist taking up fiddle playing after learning the fiddle player made two million dollars a year?  A classic.  Well, here's yet another reason to take up fiddle playing.