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Writing Symposium

The PEI Writers’ Guild will host a writing symposium this summer. Sponsored by Innovation PEI, wit [ ... ]

Brain Injury Support Meetings

If you or someone you know is a brain injury survivor then Brain Injury Support Meetings are for you [ ... ]

The Rapture

by Tristan McKinnon-Gray

Many rocky romances have locked up a place in music history: Ike and Tina, Sid and Nancy, David Lee Roth and ass-crushing spandex. Now comes a new duet: The Rapture and the cowbell. The New york based Funk-Punk four piece have just crafted a record called Pieces of the People We Love where the cowbell is less a playful accent on the beat, but becoming a necessary piece of the spastic funk shaped puzzle.

Which, needless to say, is far from a bad thing. Starting off with a Queen-esque banger, “Don Gon Do It,” this album doesn’t stop twirling till the final track, “Live In Sunshine.”

But it’s not like this album came out of left field. The release of their prior full length Echoes in 2003 started of all of the explosion of white boy indie dance music (The Killers, Franz Ferdinand, et al.) and also contained the Redonckulas track, “House of Jealous Lovers,” which can still be found prowling a few DJ’s sets to this day.

While there may be no club-dismantling track such as “House of Jealous Lovers,” there are a more than a few booty shaking minutes on Pieces with songs like “The Devil” in full blown 80s-dance-floor take-over mode, and “Whoo! Alright-Yeah…Uh Hun” possibly being my favorite track of 2006, this record will stand up to a lot of punishment. The first single, “Get Myself Into It,” is a perfect example of what a good band with a woodblock can do when they put their mind to it. While there are a few less than stellar tracks (“First Gear” and the Danger Mouse produced track, “Callin Me”) I’m still going to be listening to this album on repeat for the rest of the month.

......................5 out of 6

Check out the band’s myspace for a stream of the full album at www.myspace.com/therapture.

idisconcur.blogspot.com

Canada Rocks! Round 2

Show co-creator Doug Gallant talks about what’s new

by Alix MacLean

Doug GallantDoug Gallant, one of the creative masterminds behind the Charlottetown Festival production of Canada Rocks!, sat down with me to discuss some of the changes that have been made to the show, for its return engagement on the mainstage of the Confederation Centre. At the end of last season, the creative team took a long, hard look at what worked in the show and what did not. Gallant notes that he received a huge amount of feedback from the public—the majority of which was overwhelmingly positive. Last fall the creative team, consisting of Gallant, Terry Hatty, Wade Lynch, Hank Stinson, and director Anne Allan, began the work of making a successful show even better.

“Deciding what to put in and what to leave out is the hardest part of doing a show like Canada Rocks!,” Gallant mentioned. “Everybody on the creative team has their favourites…. This show is not just about what I like, or what Terry likes, or Hank or Wade or Anne Allan. It’s about the songs that struck a responsive chord with all of us, with all Canadians,”

According to Gallant, the most notable change to the show is the reworking of the story. The creators decided to streamline the show, making it more documentary-style. Rather than having actors play fictional characters, the actors are playing themselves. This eliminates some bulk, making for a faster paced and even higher energy show than last year. The script has been rewritten to include interesting facts about the music featured in the show.

Another change audiences will notice is the addition of some new faces. Gallant points out that although some familiar faces are gone (performers like Mike Ross and Stephanie Cadman), there have been new ones added. Charlottetown’s Joey Kitson has joined the cast, along with Charlotte Moore, Janet MacEwan, Sandy Winsby, Allan Gillespie and several others. Gallant notes that Ross and Cadman will be missed, although he is incredibly excited about the new additions to the cast.

New songs have been added to the show, with a particular focus on women in the Canadian music industry. For Gallant, it was important to add some female artists who weren’t there last year. Some of the new song include tunes by Heart, Carole Pope, Shania Twain, and Avril Lavigne.

Though the creative team took feedback from many into account when reworking the show, they knew they couldn’t please everyone. On the songs that didn’t make the cut Gallant says, “We could do a new version of Canada Rocks! every year for ten years and still have to leave out songs that should have been there. Hard choices have to made.” He had trouble making such decisions, noting that without the guidance of director Anne Allan, the editing process would have been much tougher. “[Allan] knows better than most how to strike a balance that will work for everybody. She is the engine that moves us along.”

The new and improved Canada Rocks! plays select dates from June 21 to September 29 on the Confederation Centre Mainstage.

ARTicles

DVD features Prince County artists

by Hilary Hawkins

Digital video production crew members Jonathan Bearisto (rear) and Lindsay Victor (centre), discuss lighting and technique at the studio of Alberton based artist Patt Le Clair Bates (front).A DVD project currently underway in Prince County is promoting the work of several visual artists from that region.The finished DVD, which is targeted towards visitors to our ‘gentle Isle,’ is expected to enhance the Island tourism experience this summer.

A team of non-professional Island youth is working together to produce the DVD, which is a joint project of Tyne Valley CAP Site and East Prince Youth Development in Summerside. The project has been named ‘ARTicles’ by its crew members. Nine artists are featured on the DVD—all living and working from Summerside west. “Inspiration for our ARTicles project came from a CBC series of short vignettes featuring artists from across Canada,” says ARTicles project co-ordinator, Susan Driscoll. The artwork ranges from recycled-metal sculpture to teddy bears, basket-weaving and paintings.

Patt Le Clair Bates of Alberton is one of the artists featured on the DVD. “Art is an essential part of Western PEI’s culture and when you purchase a piece of art (created here) you are purchasing a piece of Western PEI,” says Le Clair Bates.

The DVD will be on display for public viewing at various high-traffic tourism sites on PEI, together with Island highway maps, featured artists’ business cards and their promotional literature. The DVD launch and an exhibition of artwork by artists featured on the DVD is set to take place June 27at Tyne Valley CAP Site on the Port Hill Station Road. Artists and crew will be in attendance and the general public is invited to attend.

The ARTicles project has been make possible with funding from the Tech PEI Innovation Fund and the PEI Community Cultural Partnership Program. ARTicles crew members are Jonathan Bearisto, Summerside; Duston Cameron, Freetown; Callandra Cartwright, Ellerslie; Susan Driscoll, Poplar Grove; Hilary Hawkins, Mount Pleasant; Anthony Millar, Birch Hill; Lindsay Victor, Mount Stewart; and Ken Williams, Tyne Valley.

Fresh Breath

Ingrid Jensen Sextet charms crowd at Steel Recital Hall

Review by P. Wentworth Baker

The Ingrid Jensen Jazz Sextet performed in March at the Dr. Steel Recital Hall at the University of Prince Edward Island. The concert was presented as a fundraising event for the Chris Driscoll Scholarship Fund, which was founded in honour of the late Island jazz drummer.

I’ve been to clubs in Toronto, Vancouver and New York, including the legendary Village Vanguard where I remember enjoying a packed McCoy Tyner show. I might have been too young to enjoy the historic significance of this show, although, growing up, I heard a lot of the recording Coltrane Plays the Blues which included Tyner. And I’ve nearly worn out my Miles Davis recordings. I think that Jensen’s sextet presented work that began somewhere around where these jazz giants’ work left off.

Jensen’s sextet demonstrated inspired writing and playing. The members include leader Ingrid Jensen, trumpet and flugelhorn, Christine Jensen, alto and soprano sax, Joel Miller, tenor sax, Fraser Holland, bass, John Wikan drums, and New York musician Jeff Keezer, piano and keyboard.

These musicians play with the ease and togetherness—they were really tight, with perfect timing and very polished chops. As it turns out they are kind of a big family as Ingrid explained. She’s married to John, Christine and Joel are a couple,and Jeff is a close friend and associate. They spend time at work and play together and quite often work with Fraser who is from Montreal. They must put many hours of practice in together; they make it look easy, playing long, involved charts. And such beautiful, sophisticated compositions—all written by members of the group.

Right from the start, with barely an intro, they played music that takes you on a ride, tells a lovely story and leaves you in a new place. Ingrid’s piece “At Sea” is a boat ride with wind in the rigging providing. Christine’s piece “Red Road,” apparently inspired by the PEI landscape, was a real jaunt. My 11-year-old son, a music student who came along, thoroughly enjoyed “Cap’n John” an energetic, energizing piece featuring some terrific drumming. Ingrid’s version of “Moon River” is wonderful and fresh, a few notes into the piece I realized I’d been marvelling at it recently while listening to the radio. It was followed by a neat, quirky piece called “Moon People” written by Joel Miller. The group played music like they would never stop, and the full house really appreciated the performance.

At one point in the second set, the late Chris Driscoll’s grandfather got on stage to speak of his great appreciation of the musicians’ performance in support of the scholarship fund. He also gave emotional thanks to the sextet, which illicited a spontaneous hug from Ingrid, and thanked Dr. Ian Reed and Ian Thoms for organizing the event.

At the concert I picked up Ingrid’s latest CD which is produced by Ingrid and John. Ingrid remarked in her introduction to one tune that she is now operating as a proudly independent musician after years of receiving the short end of the monetary stick from record companies. She now sells her CDs online from www.ingridjensen.com.

 

Fab Four

Chucky Danger Band

Review by Sue Shipley

Chucky Danger Band photographed live in concert at the King’s Playhouse.

On a pleasant July evening I experienced a concert at The King’s Playhouse, a gem located in the heart of the small village of Georgetown in Eastern Kings County. It is an historic building with a welcoming lobby that displays a town quilt and lots of photos lining the hallway. The comfortable interior has wonderful acoustics.

This night The Chucky Danger Band was playing. When I arrived, shortly before show time, the seats were filling up and there was a feeling of anticipation in the air.

The four-member band made their entrance wearing their trademark matching dark suits and ties. They looked classy and confident, reminded me of a young foursome from England in the 60s.

The band’s energy was contagious as they had the audience singing “find a way to walk with me” on the opening number and clapping along with them to the Spanish beat of the second song.

Chucky Danger Band photographed live in concert at the King’s Playhouse.Lead singer John Macphee carried the show well between songs with easy humour and a comfortable stage presence. He also showed his strong abilities as a songsmith with “Beautiful Mistake,” “So Willing To Let Each Other Down” and “Beautiful One” to name only a few.

Lead guitarist Colin Buchanan played a dazzling guitar solo during “Lost in a Dream,” a rocky tune that also included several percussion instruments played by the other members of the band.

One of the highlights for me was when brothers Rob and John Macphee took center stage singing harmony on John’s song “Silent Stars.” Something magical always seems to happen when siblings join their voices that way. The quiet acoustic beginning of the song grew to full expression when drummer Dave Macdonald and Colin Buchanan rejoined the brothers on stage.

Just when we thought the show was winding down with the announcement of one last number, things really began to wind up! The grand finale was a song well-known to local fans, entitled “Sweet Symphony.” The song progresses in stages of quiet to raucous and back again. Included in the mix members switch instruments while continuing to play, eventually leading to a solo by drummer Dave Macdonald on a set of bongos. It was a well thought out, polished and very entertaining part of the show. Now the crowd was ready for more so when the guys tried to say goodnight much clapping and hooting brought them back for an encore. They played a fine version of the Beatles “Back in the USSR” with the audience clapping along.

I suspect we are going to hear much more from this talented group of Islanders. They are extremely gifted musically, have strong captivating vocals, and they are fun to watch. As John Macphee introduced one song he commented, “I wrote this when I was very young…well I’m still very young, but I was younger then.” The Chucky Danger Band is a very young band with an enormous amount of talent and with many great things awaiting them in the future.

A Musician’s Life

Doug Riley makes PEI his full-time home

by the editor, Peter Richards

When I visited Doug Riley in his Eastern Kings County home in June, workmen were busy transforming the century farmhouse from Doug and wife Jan’s summer retreat into their year-round home. Doug showed me the music room, which is just about large enough for his very grand, grand piano, a massive Hammond B3 organ, and a well-used and (I think) famous Wurlitzer keyboard. On the walls were mounted framed gold and platinum records given to Doug for his work with Anne Murray, Gordon Lightfoot and Bob Seger. A U.S. platinum record marks sales of one million copies.

A summary of the highlights of Doug Riley’s musical career as a musician, composer and producer fills two pages of the Encyclopedia of Music in Canada (www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com), but it all began when Doug was three years old, and his parents bought a piano. By age four Doug was studying the Royal Conservatory program, and these studies continued until he attended the University of Toronto to study composition with Canadian composer John Weinzweig.

But all through these years of study, Doug had been leading a double life in music. When he was six years old he began listening to his father’s jazz records, and in a few years he was mastering the stride piano styles of American greats such as James P. Johnston, and Fats Waller. In the late 1950s Doug was in Montreal studying pipe organ when he heard the music of electric organist Jimmy Smith. Another arrow in the jazz quiver. Fast forward to 1967 when, at the age of 22, Doug was hired to perform on and produce an album for none other than Ray Charles. As Doug modestly says “that opened some doors.”

Soon Doug became a one-man centre of music production in Canada (with a few years off as a member of Bob Seger’s Silver Bullet Band). Besides working with all of Canada’s top musicians, Doug wrote commercials, film scores and “serious music” including, at the request of Placido Domingo, an arrangement for the London Philharmonic of a piece for tenor and piano by Tchaikovsky.

Doug continues to perform (PEI Jazz & Blues Festival, Indian River Festival), produce (new CD by David Clayton Thomas) and write (with pencil and manuscript). On PEI he has worked with Island musicians like Roy Johnstone, Joey Kitson, Teresa Doyle and Peter MacDougall, and others. Keep your ears open.

Watery Workout

by Valerie Compton

Leaving planet earth may be the only way to more radically change the way you work out. Most of us don’t exercise with astronauts, but it’s still possible to remove the effect of gravity simply by changing elements.

Is aquatic exercise the perfect form of fitness training? Certified aquafitness instructor Marlene Cairns is adamant it is—and with a drawer full of certificates from aquatic leadership training courses and 13 years of teaching under her belt, she ought to know.

Imagine being massaged while you work out. That’s the effect the hydrostatic pressure of deep water has on the body, lowering the pulse rate by pushing blood back to the heart almost twice as efficiently as in air. A flotation belt worn around the waist in combination with the natural buoyancy of the water reduces the damaging effect of gravity on the joints and allows for increased range of motion. Think about doing a jumping jack. On a hard surface, the thud of landing resonates through the ankles, knees, hips and spine. In the water, not only is that pressure on the joints reduced, the exercise is incredibly efficient. The resistance of water is twelve times that of air, so every movement you make in water works your muscles as if you were lifting weights. And because balance is continually being challenged by turbulence, core stability develops rapidly through aquatic exercise.

Ask Cairns about the classes she teaches at the new Capital Area Recreation (CARI) pool on the UPEI campus and she lights up like a Christmas tree. “The classes are fun!” she says. “They’re exciting! I try to be vivacious and gregarious and create a sense of camaraderie. People must be inspired and motivated to exercise.”

If Cairns sounds like an evangelist for exercise, she’s entitled. On September 8th, 2003 she finished chemotherapy for breast cancer, and the very next day she was on the pool deck, teaching class. Her secret: “I take care of this body!” Noting the high levels of obesity and type-2 diabetes on the island, Cairns observes, “We should all be exercising. Every islander. There are three rules: listen to your body, listen to your body and listen to your body.”

For information on Marlene’s aquafitness classes go to www.caripei.ca/aquatics.html, or call the CARI pool at 569-4584.

Noggin' Walloper

Enemies

by Lennie MacPherson

This year marked a third run for Enemies, perhaps the most original theatre being performed in Charlottetown in recent years. Since its conception, the cast and company have seen a few changes in personnel, but the vision has remained true—that is, a continuing story of equal parts passion and absurdity, told through an odd cast of characters, in the format of live improv soap opera. Certainly, with such original performance comes growing pains, but this year, the production seems to have found a fine balance between high quality performance and the excitement of the unexpected.

The storyline for Enemies is a somewhat malleable collection of plot points, which the actors had to connect through improvised dialogue and action, and while navigating a barrage of props, improv games and other variables thrown at them. Where improv often suffers in acting for the sake of the joke, the performers in Enemies showed commendable poise and commitment to character. And the few times the actors did happen to break face, it was to the delight of the audience—perhaps bringing a little honesty to the scene and reminding us that these were indeed unscripted lines.

Rob MacDonald directed the show for the first time, and his experience kept it fresh and challenging. On stage, in the role of the southern born bounty hunter Bubba Fett, he was a commanding veteran, sure to take advantage of any opportunity for an audience pleasing line or gesture, but also generously opening the floor and setting up other actors with assists reminiscent of Magic Johnson.

Graham Putnam has reached a point in acting that his mere presence on stage cracks up an audience, but he doesn't rest on his physical comic laurels, offering possibly the wittiest and sharpest one-liners of the run. His portrayal of Kenny, a lovable young clone, was an audience favorite, garnering many warm “awww”s of adoration from the crowd. Patti Larsen, with probably the most difficult task of being armless through most of the run, was unflinching in keeping character. And though Butch, one of the twins she played, was half in the bag most of the time, her roles provided a necessary straight character, balancing off and focusing the sillier characters.

Joey Weale's acting seemed effortless and his wit and timing were impeccable. His characters, the devoutly Christian Gabe and the delightfully unlikable Ludwig, were impressively well developed, and his comic mind radiated. The intelligence and creativity that he brought to the dialogue was offset nicely by Ludwig's awkward cursing. Carly Martin charmed the audience with a combination of smart rhetoric and an endearing oddness. She combined subtle humor with over the top nuttiness. Her role as the psychic Britney added an unmistakable mood and comic element to the show that separates it from most other productions.

In this vein, thankfully, the direction was confident enough to allow for the kind of laughs that come from awkward pauses and uncomfortable moments, rather than just slick and predictable gags. It is heartening to see a show that doesn't simply conform to a given target audience, but rather finds its own niche and trusts that followers will seek it out. To the delight of repeat viewers, Enemies indulged this year in addictive running jokes, and even developed a catch phrase which could be heard randomly in conversations around Charlottetown in an attempted southern accent: “noggin wolloper...” Keep making original theatre on PEI.

Events Calendar

January 2019
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Some Upcoming Events

Gadfly crew

Urban roots dance January 31
Homburg Theatre Gadfly is an eclectic urban dance crew that is steppin [ ... ]

Credit Union Music PEI Week 2019

Awards Gala, concerts, shows, parties and more January 23–27
Charlottetown Credit Union Music PEI [ ... ]

Roma

January 25–28
City Cinema 14A, coarse language, nudity, mature subject matter
Dir: Alfonso Cuarón, [ ... ]

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Music PEI Canadian Songwriter Challenge

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Profile: Steve Bellamy by Jane Ledwell “Arts are ways into emotions. Arts are where we connect, [ ... ]

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As dim and  [ ... ]