Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Mary Cliff moves to WAMU

One last post of the evening...

WAMU is picking up Traditions with Mary Cliff!

WAMU 88.5 picks up Traditions with Mary Cliff

Longtime host will bring show to 11 p.m., Saturday evenings
On Saturday, Feb. 3, WAMU 88.5 will begin airing Traditions with Mary Cliff from 11 p.m., Saturdays, until 1 a.m., Sundays. Since 1970, Cliff has hosted the acoustic music show, keeping fans up to date on the local music scene.


Read WAMU's press release here.

Go get 'em Mary. Sorry you can't have one free Saturday. But that's radio.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Bring back those good ol' days

In the course of "discovering music" today (on the Live635 Barbershop channel), I stumbled upon a barbershop quartet based in Vancouver. Their name is Realtime, and they won the 2005 SPEBSQSA* World Championships. I heard a very interesting arrangement of Loch Lomond from their album, Four Brothers.

Realtime (Barbershop quartet)

This may not surprise many people, but I used to sing barbershop. I started in high school when they did The Music Man, and our quartet stayed together and sang a lot of concerts. It was fun with the four of us singing one to a part. I joined the local barbershop chorus. We sang lots of different shows, wore tuxedos, learned choreography, and competing in contests. (Is this starting to sound like a drug confession?!) I sang in a chorus out of Elyria while I went to school, and tried to convince my fellow music majors of the greatness of barbershop harmony. Heh. Ringing 7th chords, total lack of irony or postmodernism, and trying to move an audience through song. Pretty corny, huh? Maybe. But if you sing and know how all these chords work, and have a large repertoire (in your head), you can spend all night ringing chords and singing your hear out. I miss that sort of community.

* = Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barbershop Quartet Singing in America. (Wait, it's been renamed as something else, the Barbershop Harmony Society. Not as much fun.)

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Input vs. output

I haven't been in much of a writing mood lately, although I've had several topics I'd like to discuss. Information just keeps coming. I think I'm starting to shake the inertia now, as I have several projects coming due this month and next.

I've been gathering content for a Live365 station. I had been leaning either towards an all-Celtic (with local emphasis on the DC area) or all-Canadian oriented show. I have settled on the latter, and I look forward to having it up in the next few months. Live365 seems to be the way to go, since for the fee you pay, they pay all the royalties for music played.

I'm investing in some technology to set up the operations, plus increasing my CD collection to deliver an interesting mix. It's going to be mostly folk, but spiced with jazz, blues, bluegrass, country, popular, spoken word, and classical selections to give a big picture of our neighbor to the North. Listening to CBC Two has also given me a lot of ideas. I hope I won't duplicate them too much, it's meant for as a Canadian music for residents of the United States. (Mustn't call ourselves Americans.)

If anyone has a favorite Canadian artist or song, please send your ideas. I'll be happy to incorporate them. What's your favorite province? I'll be getting another blog started for the show too, and I'll keep all Audio Artifacts readers up-to-date on how the stream progresses.

On Mary Cliff's Traditions

One of the casualties of WETA's format change was the dismissal of Mary Cliff and cancelation of her long-running folk show Traditions. Last night was Mary's final show on WETA after over 34 years. I worked with Mary for a short time, but I really feel she taught me a lot about what I know about the musics we call "folk." What impresses me is her deep appreciation of all music, and how open the boundaries really are between the genres and formats. Like jazz and rock, classical came to be because of traditional musical forms. Without traditional dance forms and entertainments, court musicians wouldn't have started writing operas, symphonies, and string quartets for royalty, and later the public. I'm babbling...I hope Mary's show will continue on another local station. The strength of her show is in building the local folk music communities into one.

Traditions was a place where singer-songwriters, bluegrass musicians, blues guitarists, sitar players, gospel groups, and sacred harp singers (among others) could find equal representation in one 5-hour show every week. It was a show directly aimed at the greater Washington DC area (broadly defined as far as I can tell as the mid-Atlantic region between Richmond, Philadelphia, the Eastern Shore, and West Virginia).

I don't know of another forum that could do that and provide access to everyone in the community in the same way--NOT EVERYONE IS ON THE INTERNET. (Okay, no more shouting). Mary, enjoy your week. You deserve a rest. Hope to hear you on the air soon.

On the new classical WETA

I am ecstatic that WETA, my former employer, is returning to a classical format. They will be 23/7* classical, taking up the mantle of WGMS, which has been on the air in Washington, DC for over 50 years. WGMS was commercially owned by Bonneville International, and they had really good ratings a couple of years ago (going up to #3 or 4 in the market), and even after they switched the station to a lower-powered signal, their ratings were still respectable for an all-classical station. But as of last Monday, they changed their format to a popular mix format, dubbed "George 104". For the full story, please check out
DCRTV or the Washington Post.

* = I say 23/7, because the one hour that is not classical is weekdays 7-8 pm for the Newshour with Jim Lehrer (produced across the street from WETA and taped in the WETA production center). Why this hour and not another show? Only SR knows.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Tonight's Canuckian playlist

Some songs/albums/performers I've been enjoying via radio and recordings:

1) Artist: The Polyjesters
Album: Ka-Chunk

2) Artist: Sarah Harmer
Album: I'm a Mountain

3) Artist: Stuart MacLean
Album: History of Canada/I Remember Wayne

4) Artist: Stan Rogers
Album: Northwest Passage

5) Artist: Wailin' Jennys
Album: Firecracker

6) Artist: Be Good Tanyas
Album: Hello Love

7) Artist: Tragically Hip
Album: Fully Completely

8) Artist: Northern Pikes
Album: Hits & Assorted Secrets: 1984-1993

9) Artist: Joe Trio
Album: Set 'Em Up Joe

10) Various artists
Album: Due South soundtrack, vol. 1

More Canadian albums to come...

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

To the Land of the Midnight Sun

This is how much the warm weather in DC is messing with my mind. (Ok, it's not that cold right now, late 30s, but still...it was almost 70 the other day!)

I was looking up vacations to Greenland last night.

That would be an adventure.

Please make it snow soon!

Currently reading: McGhee, Robert. The Last Imaginary Place: A Human History of the Arctic World (Oxford University Press, 2005)

He writes:
I began to write this book as an attempt to understand our vision of the Arctic as a world apart, a place where past and present merge in a distant and compelling land of brilliant light.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Men with Brooms burns the rock a bit

Fair warning: January 12 is Hockey Day in Canada.

I watched Men with Brooms last night. Yup, it is definitely about curling. It's got some very dry Canadian humour. It's not brilliant enough to be a parody on other sports movies, and it's not full-out on being a buddy sports movie. It doesn't succeed in being a great movie, but it's a good-enough film for those of you who want a glimpse of one of Canada's national obsessions. I did learn quite a bit about curling that I didn't know before. And it is pretty spectacular to watch a player cast a stone. The script is a bit hackneyed, but it's enjoyable enough watching Leslie Nielsen and Paul Gross in a strained father-son relationship. There's also a subplot with beavers. 'Nuff said.

Definitely not a sport to take for granite.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Current media obsessing

Done with:
Due South (why only 3 seasons?!) and associated fan sites.
Call of the Wild and Mounty [sic] on the Bounty are the highlights of season 3.

Waiting for:
1) Slings and Arrows, Season 1
2) Men with Brooms (movie about curling, eh!)
3) Corner Gas (50 miles from nowhere)
4) Paul Gross's Two Horses (CD)

1) Anything with Paul Gross
2) North of 60 (never released)
3) Trailer Park Boys
4) Due South soundtrack, vol. 2
5) West Wing (seasons 6 and 7, no hurry though)
6) Six Feet Under (seasons 2 and 3, again no hurry since Bravo's carrying it now)
7) Other Canadian media, esp. if it features a presentation of a Musical Ride.

Just a moment for activism

Happy new year!

Polar Bears May Be Listed as Threatened in the USA

But, there's no such thing as global warming.

Only 362 days left to make a difference.