This Is Our Vancouver
The performers, artists, musicians and athletes taking part in Summer Live have personal connections to Vancouver. They have different backgrounds and followed different paths, but this place helped form them and many of them know it inside and out. Get to know them a little better — and this city’s past, present and future — in these profiles and at Summer Live.
The trees are alive! Behind the Summer Live main stage, large trees will be animated by light patterns and pulses triggered by visitors’ movements in a site-specific installation. 125 Steps will be created by projection artists Nathan Whitford and Konstantinos Mavromichalis of Vancouver’s Urban Visuals and is presented in partnership with New Forms Festival.
The Vancouver visual artist creates provocative, often humorous work that explores his mixed ancestry and the ways we use items of consumer culture to define our personal lineage. Look for his banner, Coke-Salish, with its very familiar font and colour scheme, welcoming visitors to the Summer Live Sites.
A groundbreaking cross-platform digital art and live music experience, dedicated to making First Nations material available to the world in dynamic new ways. Beat Nation performances at Summer Live will include hip-hop chanteuse Kinnie Starr; MC and rapper Ostwelve; video mash-up artist Jackson 2Bears; the raw and brutally funny performance artist Skeena Reece; Miss Christie Lee Charles, an MC who spits out raps in Halkomelem, the ancient language of the Musqueam Nation; and JB the First Lady, an MC and actor who now cultivates her “Cutie Empowerment HIP HOP” out of East Vancouver.
Frazey Ford, Trish Klein and Sam Parton first played together at tree-planting camps in the Kootenays. The Vancouver-based trio then brought a modern yet nostalgic mix of folk, country and bluegrass to audiences around the world. The band has regrouped for a series of special 10-year anniversary shows in 2011.
This indie-pop outfit’s layered instrumentation, shared female/male vocals and poetic lyricism have sparked comparisons to the New Pornographers and Arcade Fire. The seven-piece band’s first full-length album, recorded in their Vancouver hometown, features the idiosyncratic blend of affection and whimsy that has marked them as one of Canada’s coziest bands.
His early Vancouver days saw Barney Bentall recording on a shoestring at Little Mountain Sound and touring hard to support four kids. In 1988, he formed a band called the Legendary Hearts and their self-titled debut went on to win a Juno Award and sell over 100,000 copies. Over the next decade-plus, Bentall and his band toured extensively and released five studio albums — all of them reaching gold or platinum status.
Vancouver is a big town now but you can still hear its roots in the music of native son Dustin Bentall. His rock-star father Barney dropped a few hints over the years but he didn’t crack any whips, and Dustin has found his own path as a rustic troubadour singing about everyday life and loss.
This trio incorporates three very distinct voices and cultural backgrounds, creating a collective expression of life in post-millennial Vancouver. Lan Tung, Neelamjit Dhillon, and Ron Samworth whose debut release was nominated for a 2010 Western Canadian Music Award, synthesize elements of jazz composition and improvisation with traditional Chinese, Western and Indian music.
From dusty backroads blues to soaring gospel praises, this special collaboration brings together a soulful crew of the highest order, including award-winning bluesman and actor Jim Byrnes, a staple of the Vancouver music scene since the mid-70s; The Sojourners, a real-deal gospel trio that had its self-titled album nominated for a 2011 Juno; musician and songwriter Steve Dawson, the producer behind four Juno-nominated albums this year, including Byrnes’s Blues Album of the Year, Everyone West; and the Universal Gospel Choir, which has been celebrating the uplifting power of the world’s sacred and social-conscience songs since 1985.
A live celebration of dance and song, presented by South Asian Arts, tells the story of Hanu, an Indian Vancouverite who is betrothed to Nayna, a fancy power girl from the heart of Mumbai. They get to know each other — and Nayna’s new Vancouver home — during a visit to Stanley Park.
Founded in Vancouver in 2000, the Borealis String Quartet has grown into one of the most dynamic and exciting classical ensembles of its generation, receiving international critical acclaim for its fiery performances, passionate style and refined musical interpretation. Master percussionist Sal Ferreras joins Borealis at Summer Live for their first ever collaboration.
Born in Virginia, mostly raised in Tacoma, Neko Case came to Vancouver in the mid-90s to attend the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design. She played drums in local bands such as Cub and Maow and then, just before her student visa expired, recorded vocals for a side project called the New Pornographers. Her most recent solo album, Middle Cyclone, was an international best-seller.
The Vancouver Public Library’s First Nations Storyteller in Residence is the last member of the Musqueam Nation to have lived in the endowment lands adjacent to UBC: When everyone else moved away, he stayed in the wooded area with his grandparents. At Summer Live, he will share a story and offer greetings.
In the language of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation, takaya means wolf, a central figure in the Nation’s history and culture. The late Chief Dan George formed this traditional dance group in the 1950s and it continues to present a feast for the senses under the direction of his son, Leonard George.
Since Vancouver was a but a small settlement, the Coast Salish Nations have staged canoe races near its shores. These breathtaking competitions test the endurance and strength of the paddlers — and the skill and craft of the canoe builders. And this summer, for the first time in generations, the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Wautuh Nations will return to race at a traditional location, Coal Harbour.
It is a game that goes back to before the last Ice Age. Slahal, a stick or bone game passed down by Indigenous peoples across North America, sees teams trying to correctly identify painted and hidden playing pieces. As one team guesses, the other drums and sings to boost their side’s morale — and to taunt their rivals.
What was once invasive English Ivy taking root on Stanley Park’s forest floor is being transformed into large woven sculptures by lead artist Sharon Kallis and teams of community volunteers. These linked organic forms will become semi-permanent installations in various parks and on the False Creek Seawall as a part of Science World’s renewal project. In partnership with Science World, the Vancouver Park Board and the Stanley Park Ecology Society.
Dub music originated in Jamaica in the 1960s. From its small island beginnings, the movement has become a massive global phenomenon, having influenced countless other musical genres and woven itself into the culture of cities far beyond Jamaica. Summer Live shines a light on this with an afternoon of MCs, DJs and musicians from Vancouver’s vibrant scene: Sorcerers, who magically fuse reggae and dub with hardcore punk; Taal Mala, who will be selecting from his extensive collection ; the Lighta! Sound co-founder and Vancouver electronic music artist Michael Red; choice cuts from Spiney Jim’s encyclopedic dub collection; the vital words and music of rising new force Ras Nikhelesh with Mad Riddim; the exhuberant creativity of emcee/poet Nadia Chaney; and the inspirational founder of Third Eye Tribe Jacob Cino plus Tank Girl of Thursday Ting fame. Curated and presented in partnership with the New Forms Festival.
Based in East Van, this collective of professional and emerging artists create and perform homespun tales within elaborate worlds of found objects and costumes recalling bygone days. It is an extended community — dancers, clowns, multimedia artists, puppeteers and makers of all kinds — devoted to unearthing those places where magic still exists.
Vancouver’s eatART fosters new-media art research with a focus on large-scale, kinetic and robotic sculpture and educational projects about the role of energy. At Summer Live, see the Mondo Spider, a car-sized, eight-legged robot that is the world’s first zero-emissions walking machine, and use a joystick to manipulate Titanoboa, a 20 foot long amphibious electromechanical reincarnation of a giant ancient serpent. Presented with in partnership with the New Forms Festival.
It is North America’s preminent Bhangra band. Its members have been there from the beginning of the movement, in the UK and Canada, and En Karma keeps it all fast and fresh with a sampling of Vancouver-flavoured indie-rock.
Featuring seven of Vancouver’s leading creative musicians, this “post-everything” jazz band plays nuanced music that ranges from the smallest gesture of extended technique to full-on avant-rock bombast backed up by two drum kits. Its 2010 release, Continent & Western, won a Juno Award for Best Instrumental Album.
Award-winning young dancers are set to slam the Summer Live stage with a hip hop showcase from Fresh Groove Productions, a Richmond-based dance studio. Dynamic and energetic performers will share their passion and talent for hip hop with pieces by renowned choreographer Cezar Tantoco. With performers as young as 6, Fresh Groove Productions will delight with its crew of talented performers, including 2011 Canadian National Champion crews Freshh, Illest Vibe and Groovement.
Formed in 2001 as an ensemble in the UBC Ethnomusicology department, Gamelan Gita Asmara faithfully and lovingly presents the music and dance of Bali. Its special Summer Live performance will include musical director Wayan Sudirana and dance director Putu Widiantini.
A dynamic singer-songwriter, equally comfortable riling up a club crowd as she is melting hearts with a cabaret number, the Vancouver-based Georgas has racked up a series of awards and accolades since winning Music BC’s Songbird West Songwriting Contest in 2008. She is currently at work on a full-length follow-up to 2010’s This Is Good.
This Asian synth pop and art duo create music and performances for children, crazy and non-crazy people and cats — especially for cats. Using synthesizers, theremins, a drum machine and the occasional guitar, interdisciplinary artists Lyndsay Sung and Rafael Tsuchida explore new musical worlds and themes with each Guimauves performance.
This young Vancouver trio — Ashleigh Ball, David Beckingham and David Vertesi — has a gift for blending various musical styles into a brand of infectious pop that is uniquely their own. This summer, their high-energy live show will feature tracks from a brand new and highly anticipated album.
Born in Vancouver, Hille and her family kept moving around BC, from the city to the country and back again. Her artistic career is similarly tough to nail down: The musician, songwriter and composer has written a short musical about Craigslist, an opera for children, and she performed the songs of Buffy Saint-Marie and Neil Young with the CBC Radio Orchestra for her latest album, Young Saint Marie.
A series of workshops and activities that will engage and delight Summer Live’s youngest visitors. The Face Painting Workshop features an art instructor utilizing 30 years of experience to turn little cheeks and foreheads into works of art. The Vancouver Maritime Museum’s Boat Building Workshop will create and decorate a model of a tall ship that will take to the waves and sail in the winds off Stanley Park. The masters of the Taiyuan Puppet Theatre Company will teach kids how to bring puppets to life, and participants can paint, dress and take home their own traditional hand puppets. The award-winning Wayne Pattison and Windrush Kites present Kite Making Workshops that have taught thousands of youngsters how to assemble easy-to-make and easy-to-fly kites. And the Paper Folders Around the Lower Mainland, or PALM, Vancouver’s own origami club, offer special Origami Workshops featuring Joseph Wu, nominated for a Jessie Award for his work in Pangea Arts’ The Life of Paper.
Not long ago, the Victoria native was known for being a multi-instrumental backing musician. But all the time he was writing his own songs and his 2010 release Versicolour, a collection of haunting orchestral pop and folk, and new EP Friendly Fires, recorded with a band of collaborators, have put him front and centre of the BC indie scene.
Call it a post-butoh dance company: Kokoro, formed in 1986 by Barbara Bourget and Jay Hirabayashi, has used Japanese avant-grade dance as inspiration for its 1,000-plus performances around the world. Bourget and Hirabayashi also produce the annual Vancouver International Dance Festival featuring local, national and international artists.
The 14-piece Drum & Light Orchestra is an all-star collection of Vancouver artists that includes Ray Garroway (K-OS), Randall Stoll (Soulstream), Tim Proznick (Kia Kadiri) and Chris Gestrin. Five drummers, electronics and a four-piece horn section deliver high-energy sonic extravagance fused with eye-popping visuals by Brian Johnson.
An MC who commands the stage with poetry and hip-hop punchlines leads a 10-piece band with serious soul power. North Vancouver’s Kyprios, a founding member of the Juno-nominated Sweatshop Union, has toured all over North America with the likes of the Black Eyed Peas, Wyclef Jean and The Roots. His Vancouver Canucks anthem How The West Was One is everywhere.
For 40 years, this master guitarist, percussionist and composer has been introducing global music fans to the irresistible rhythms of Brazil. Machado, who lives in Gibsons, BC, incorporates a wide range of world-music influences into his own sound, making a unique contribution to the ongoing evolution of Brazilian music.
The singer-songwriter’s one-man travels initially saw him experiencing his Vancouver home as more of a resting place than a roost. But after years working the road, now things are coming to him: Mangan’s last album was released by the influential Arts & Crafts label and was nominated for a Polaris Prize. For this show, Mangan’s band will be joined by a powerhouse horns and strings section.
It’s going to be a big year for this Vancouver-based five-piece with siblings Ryan and Molly Guldemond at its core. The pop-rock band, which originated on Quadra Island, opened 2011 with the worldwide release of Eureka, its third album — and its most tenacious and undaunted record to date. Their recent tour played to sold-out houses everywhere.
Any occasion featuring this Musqueam Nation dance troupe becomes a high-energy affair. The Warriors are known for their moving traditional dances and music, and they can surprise and delight with contemporary touches as well: a new generation of young performers know all the old moves and some hip hop, too.
It was originally conceived as a side project for its seven members, all stalwarts of the Vancouver indie scene. Then its debut, 2000’s Mass Romantic, struck a chord with critics and listeners alike and the New Pornographers, as a rock band, took on a life all its own. The growing collective now has five full albums, all of them critical and commercial successes.
The Paper Folders Around the Lower Mainland, or PALM, is Vancouver’s own origami club, dedicated to the promotion of the art and craft of Japanese paper folding. These special workshops will feature Joseph Wu, nominated for a Jessie Award for his work in Pangea Arts’ The Life of Paper.
Produced by Neworld Theatre, the 2011 PodPlays combine technology, text and performance: Audience members borrow mp3 devices and listen as a story guides them on an intimate 15-minute walk. There will be five new releases over the course of 2011, including Summer Live’s Watch for Bikes, a play by Adrienne Wong about a pesky phone intruding on an oasis of peace. Concept created by Neworld and the Playwrights Theatre Centre.
For over 25 years, the creative non-profit group Public Dreams has moved people with its interactive and accessible public art experiences. At Summer Live, Public Dreams turns festival visitors into face-painted performers and players. Its Circus Workshops include a Hula-Hooping Mob — it’s all in the hips as the hip-hop plays — and introductions to Juggling by skilled facilitators using beanbags and balls (the chainsaws and flaming knives come later). The Giant Board Games area will build up massive Jenga towers using foam blocks and strange characters on stilts, and the lawn-sized colour grid can only mean one thing: a wriggling and sprawling game of Twister!
He was born in Vancouver in 1918. He played the saxophone and clarinet and then led his own big bands and orchestras through the heyday of the dance-hall era. He became the King of Swing in the Hotel Vancouver’s Panorama Roof Ballroom, where he was a weekly fixture for 25 years. The Vancouver legend, and member of the Order of Canada, still does regular shows and concerts across the Lower Mainland.
Formed fours years ago by songwriters Ben Worcester and Tyler Bancroft, Said the Whale earned early accolades for its West Coast indie pop, with shimmering guitars and lyrical tributes to their Vancouver home. Now the band is a celebrated six-piece outfit — winners of the 2011 Juno Award for New Group of the Year — with a full-length album in the works as they tour North America.
The divine singer-songwriter-composer has been a favourite on BC’s francophone show circuit since winning the 2006 Pacifique en Chanson and ChantOuest competitions. The vivacious performer evokes themes of exile, the eternal feminine and the passing of time through a unique mix of folk, jazz and electronic music.
These self-confessed Vancouver “music geeks” make worldly and boldly contoured pop that can be enjoyed by listeners of all ages. Led by songwriter Scott Walker, the Salteens have toured with the Yo Gabba Gabba live show and released the popular EP Kids Songs, with tracks such as Take a Nap Mom and Be Nice to Animals, last fall.
These two groups are led by the dynamic couple behind Silk Road Music, Qiu Xia He and Andre Thibault. Qui Xia, a former music teacher at China’s Xian Academy and professional pipa player, turned a visit to the Vancouver Folk Music Festival into a 20-year cross-cultural musical experiment. In partnership with Thibault, a French-Canadian flamenco guitarist and oud player, Silk Road Music has pioneered the fusion of Chinese and Western sounds.
Lead artist Melanie Schambach is inviting everybody at Summer Live to work together on a participatory mural: Write or paint or draw anything about where you come from and where you are going and see this massive group art project grow and take shape over the festival’s three days.
It started with three Vancouver friends and a folk band called Evesdropper. Thirty years and 13 albums later, Spirit of the West is one of the country’s most time-and-road-tested bands. Four gold and two platinum albums, Hall of Fame inductions — and the charms to wheedle complimentary pints from bartenders in nine countries.
Spend a day in the park enjoying the great outdoors and a little friendly competition: family drop-in soccer games; a youth volleyball tournament with high-school and community-centre teams from across the city; badminton and tennis clinics by national team pros to celebrate the upcoming 2011 North American Out Games; old-fashioned croquet; lacrosse, golf and wheelchair rugby demonstrations for all ages; Run, Jump, Throw fun games and skill development sessions for young children; and all-ages kicking and throwing practice with the BC Lions players as Vancouver prepares to host Grey Cup 2011.
An old-school sports day for the kids with the classics: Races of all kinds — three-legged, sack, wheel-barrow and lily-pad — plus water-balloon toss, tennis ball shuffle, bean bag toss and more. Everyone’s a winner!
Created by Pangea Arts, this is a unique piece of street theatre and storytelling inspired by the traditional Japanese travelling show called kamishibai, or paper theatre. From a magnificent miniature wooden stage attached to the back of a vintage bicycle, a comic narrator tells tall tales using beautifully illustrated picture cards.
The Indian violinist, composer and conductor, trained in the Carnatic and Western classical music traditions, is renowned for his virtuoso playing and his compositions in orchestral fusion. Dr. Subramaniam toured with Ravi Shankar and George Harrison in 1974, and his roughly 200 recordings include historic collaborations with artists such as Yehudi Menuhin, Herbie Hancock, Maynard Ferguson and many of the world’s great orchestras. Presented in partnership with the Indian Summer Arts Society.
For over a decade, this Taiwanese troupe has delivered innovative theatre utilizing traditional glove puppetry, actors, projections and live music. The company has performed in over 30 countries and will delight family audiences here in Vancouver with A Sea of Puppets, a refined, comedic and exciting display of Taiwanese puppet theatre at its best. Presented in partnership with the Asian Canadian Special Events Association.
The Vancouver creative firm presents full-on sensory experiences people can interact with in the everyday physical world. Summer Live will feature two Tangible projects: Zygote Interactive Balls, lightweight helium-filled orbs that respond to human touch and wireless commands as they change colour and float through the air; and Picidae Chorus sends the familiar sounds of woodpeckers through Stanley Park, but you have never seen birds like this: seven geometric creatures that light up as they peck a percussion box and slowly fade as they stop. Presented in partnership with the New Forms Festival.
This video event will present distinct programs throughout the weekend on two large LED screens, featuring historical documents, archival film and video, performative works, animation, experimental film, a literary program and contemporary video. time-based takes its cue from its unconventional site, screening works that reference nature, recreation, culture, and the urban landscape, and will show works by the following artists and filmmakers: Robert Arndt, Rebecca Belmore, Karin Bubas, Penelope Buitenhuis (Judy Radul), Shawn Chappelle, Dana Claxton, Dan Collins, Michael de Courcey with Gregg Simpson, Adad Hannah, John G. Boehme,
Digital Natives: Other Sights for Artists’ Projects, Maurice Embra (bill bissett), Julia Feyrer, Chris Gallagher, Maraya: Simon Levin, Glen Lowry and Henry Tsang, Richard Martin, Damian Moppett, Marv Newland, David Rimmer, Claire Savoie, Carol Sawyer, Kevin Schmidt, Kunal Sen, Al Sens, Jeremy Shaw, Althea Thauberger, Holly Ward, Paul Wong, and others. Works from the VIVO’s Crista Dahl Media Library & Archive including artists Ken Kuramoto, Rod Mabee, Elizabeth van der Zaag, Yi Xin Tong, and others. Works from Western Front Media Archive including artists Kate Craig, Gathie Falk, Gerry Gilbert, Glenn Lewis, Vincent Trasov, and others. Works from the CBC Archives. Click here to go to the time-based blog.
Project curator: Marlene Madison, with guest curators Michael Turner, Michael de Courcey and Gregg Simpson, Marv Newland, David Wisdom, Lorna Brown and Clint Burnham.
With the assistance of CBC Archives, Moving Images Distribution Collection, VIVO Media Arts Centre, Western Front Media, International Rocketship.
Formed in 1919, the VSO is among the largest and most celebrated symphony orchestras in North America. Its performances reach almost 250,000 people each year and its educational programs are training a new generation of classical musicians. Maestro Bramwell Tovey, the orchestra’s artistic director, has been with the VSO since 2000 and is world renowned for his artistic depth and warm, charismatic personality on the podium. Maestro Tovey will conduct a program of cherished favourites by Rossini, Strauss, Wagner, Tchaikovsky and more. Vancouver Academy of Music Prodigy Tate Zawadiuk will be featured on Haydn’s Cello Concerto No. 1 in C major.
Infectious energy, irrepressible rhythm — and a lot of thumping on anything and everything that makes cool sounds. Wallace, a key figure in the development of action drumming and percussion theatre, started the SWARM concept in Vancouver and eventually took it all the way to Broadway.
In three short years, Kelowna’s We Are The City has become one of Canada’s most reliably unpredictable groups. For its 2011 EP High School, the experimental rock trio adopted personas and covered their heads with T-shirts, but the changes go deeper than a new look: the six songs introduce drum machines and string arrangements to the band’s already frenetic sound.
The Squamish Nation’s dance company is comprised of young performers, from 4 to 13 years of age. They share traditional songs, dances and stories that have been passed down for generations, showcasing a living culture and the diversity of Indigenous Canada.
The band takes its name from its engaging songwriter and frontman Daniel Wesley, a native of White Rock who now calls Vancouver home. Wesley’s reggae-driven rock has earned positive comparisons to the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Pearl Jam — with a little Neil Young thrown in for good measure.
Naomi Singer, the Artistic Director of the Secret Lantern Society, and Joseph Wu, one of the world’s foremost origami practitioners, are collaborating to create an enchanted pathway at Brockton Point. Wu’s larger-than-life origami herons will be suspended high in the air beneath the forest canopy, surrounded by Singer’s design of flowing fabric streamers suggesting the ruffling of feathers and the gentle movement of the ocean breeze. Elsewhere on site, Secret Lantern Society adds festivity with decorative flag poles and a beautiful heron lantern that bids participants a fond farewell along the seawall exit route.
This gifted and celebrated quintet draws its members from Canada, Cuba, Venezuela and the United States — and its sound from every corner of the planet. Powered by Afro-Caribbean rhythms, its concerts feature underplayed jazz standards done in clave, and reworked and reimagined Latin music classics.
Zachary Gray and Tom Dobrzanski of the prog rock band the Zolas recorded their 2010 album Tic Toc Tic in a studio Dobrzanski constructed in his parents’ basement while studying at UBC. Now other Vancouver bands such as Said the Whale, We Are The City, and Hey Ocean! are studio regulars — proving every city scene needs a formative basement.