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Young 'n' Art

katz1.jpgWe celebrate youth on this week's X, as through some strange coincidence, all of our artists are under the age of 30 (and that's young, right? Right??) Two are the winners of last year's Youth Write Radio Competition. We had our young entrants submit dramatic monologues and they both remind us that wisdom doesn't always translate to age. Peter Katz is an empathic songwriter with a powerful presence and Saskatoon's These Hands is also a solo performer but he delves into the world of electronica.

We are in the middle of Youth Write 2011, so as an inspiration to this year's competitors, we listen again to the 2010 winners of CBC radio's youth write for radio competition. This year we are asking for Poetry submissions. Please go to our Youth Write page for more information. There's still time to submit your poetry!

About last year's winners, for dramatic monologue:

Jialin Liu of Saskatoon for "Your Smile"

Says internationally recognized mystery writer, and contest judge Gail Bowen, "Jialin Liu made multiple submissions. Each of them showed a solid understanding of what a dramatic monologue should be; each demonstrated real talent. Jialin is already an accomplished writer, and I hope her success in CBC Radio Youth Write will encourage her to keep honing her craft.

I've chosen "Your Smile" as a winning entry. The monologue powerfully reveals how a young woman trapped in a nightmare existence sees the world. Liu uses fragments of Clair's life: past and present to reveal her speaker's thoughts as her life moves inexorably towards its end.

"Your Smile" is a bleak portrait of a young woman who has come to the point where she believes death is her best option. "Your Smile" is a fine and mature piece of writing, and I'm grateful I had the opportunity to read it.

and Dariya Veenstra of Maidstone's "The Monster Inside of My Head"

Says Bowen "I am pleased to select Dariya Veenstra's submission "The Monster inside of my head" as a winning entry. One of the appeals of the dramatic monologue is the way in which it reveals more about the speaker than the speaker realizes. The young anorexic at the heart of this submission is painfully honest about her relationship with "the monster", but because we are outside the situation, readers are able to see truths that perhaps the speaker, herself does not recognize. Simply put, Dariya Veenstra understands how to use the form of the dramatic monologue to serve her purpose in writing. That, in itself, is an accomplishment.

Dariya Veenstra's style also serves her purpose. She establishes a relationship between the speaker and her audience that immediately pulls us into the young anorexic's world. It is a frightening place, and Veenstra's ability to make us feel both its allure and its terror is proof that she has a future as a writer. I am honoured to have been present at the beginning of her career."

Bowen also selected two younger writers, Jessy Lee Saas of Moose Jaw and Nikki Poncsak of Regina, for honorable mentions.

Contest producer Kelley Jo Burke says that this year's submission's were especially strong, "The category of dramatic monologue yielded some of the most heartfelt and moving writing we've had in the competition. All the young writers should be enormously proud of themselves."

We'd like to thank St. Peter's College for their continuing sponsorship of this event.

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'These Hands' (aka Michael Hanson) is a solo Saskatoon musician who sings, plays guitar and electronic music. Michael's music explores the mellow side of rock, and he prides himself on penning thought-provoking and personal lyrics.

Michael was born in Prince Albert, but for the past 5 years he's called Saskatoon home. He's actively involved in the city's music and visual arts scenes. He's also travelled further afield as a musician, with tours in both western and eastern Canada.

The Pop Montreal festival has featured 'These Hands' 3 years running, and Michael was also selected for their compilation CD. As well, Michael was featured on SaskMusic's 2010 CD, a compilation disc highlighting Saskatchewan talent.

'These Hands' has released three CDs. The latest - Home is Everywhere - was released last year with funding from the Saskatchewan Arts Board.

To hear the concert in its entirety, check out CBC Radio 2's Concerts on Demand.

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Peter Katz is a solo performer with such a powerful stage presence you're instantly drawn into his music and his world. Katz's songs express an incredible range of human emotions. His tune inspired by Oliver Schroer's decision to play one final concert a month before dying from leukemia is a moving tribute to a man who lived his life doing what he loved most. When Katz imagines a harrowing night in the life of a young man in Wyoming who was beaten up, tied to a fence, and left to die because he was gay - you can't help but be touched. And how many sister's can say that their brother has written them a beautiful song for their wedding day created from words her and her husband-to-be have written about each other? Peter Katz's sister can. His compelling songs are interwoven by the sometimes touching, sometimes humorous stories he tells to introduce them.

Jason Gladu of Pop Journalism Magazine says "Katz resembles kindred spirit Ron Sexsmith and his subtle acoustic charm, while channeling Hawksley Workman's grief stricken vocals. Why is such a talented songwriter with such well-crafted pop songs still an independent artist?" After listening to this concert, you may very well ask yourself the same question.

This concert was presented by 'On the Boards' at the Refinery in Saskatoon, and it's part of Katz's tour in support of his brand new CD 'First of the Last To Know'. The CD was released in Canada just 2 days before the performance in Saskatoon.

And yes, this concert is available at Concerts on Demand, brought to you by CBC Radio 2.


And here's a great cover of Peter's song "Dangerous" posted on YouTube--I think the whole thing is done in the kid's bedroom!