If you are curious about blending two very distinct musical worlds, there has probably never been a better place and time than Vancouver and Now. As the city hosts large populations with European and Asian heritage, it seems inevitable that these cultures should mix and create something new and distinctly Canadian. As someone who has lived in the city for nearly 18 years, a city known for its openness and spirit of innovation, it surprises me how little musical cross-pollination seems to be happening. Enter the Sound of Dragon.
With one foot in the folk traditions of China and the other in the wild improvisational aesthetic of jazz, the Sound of Dragon Ensemble is blazing a brave new standard for what Canadian music can be. The first hour of this week’s program presents an intriguing conversation with SODE composers Lan Tun, John Oliver, and Mark Armanini, longtime residents of Vancouver and scholars of sonic alchemy. Catch their spring concert this thursday!
Where the Caspian sea meets the Caucasus mountains lives the Republic of Dagestan. The most ethnically diverse corner of Russia, Dagestan is a place rarely explored by outsiders and only minimally administered by the national government. As ethnic Russians make up less than 4% of the population, Dagestan is a mix of dozens of different cultures and languages singing and fighting for respect.
The rocky terrain impedes modernization and helps preserve these traditions, but also provides shelter for guerrilla groups, whose drawn-out battles for independence have haunted the region for decades. Here we explore the many colours of Dagestani music, incorporating Central Asian and Middle Eastern melodies with a view to the north and the west. May these myriad rhythms help bring the people together, and make it known to the government that diversity should be celebrated.
Just when you think there ain’t nothing new.. Presenting Farnaz Ohadi, whose sublime new spin on Flamenco is a world of its own. Farnaz sings in Farsi and incorporates Persian instrumentation, yet her music still remains faithful to the Spanish roots of Flamenco. Hear an exclusive interview with Farnaz, as she shares brand new music from her debut Bird Dance LP, out October 1st (along with an album release show):
Also on the program – a tropical trip to Rapa Nui aka Easter Island!
Well this is a pleasant surprise.. Despite an unsettling history of occupation from outside forces, the Okinawa Islands (formerly the Ryukyu Kingdom) in the deep south of Japan are home to an amazing array of tropical musical flavours! Not only a singular style of folk music (lovin’ that sanshin), but reggae and cumbia and oh my 神!! Much more!
Also on this week’s program – Arab electro, Nigerian disco, Aussie soul, Incan prog, and who knows what else..