Kickass Playlist for Sanity

ONE MORE WEEK, B!#@%&$! (And music to get me through.)

Kickass Playlist for Sanity

So.

I tried to share this playlist in a much cooler way. I tried to embed a player that looks like that right on my website, but I don’t have the patience to try to figure out why it wouldn’t work. So here’s the lame version that will still get you to my kick-ass study playlist.

How could one playlist really be kick-ass, you ask? I don’t know. It just happened, thanks to the recommendations of friends and some heartless fine-tuning.

Granted, in the 300+ songs in the playlist, there are still some duds – it’s not completely polished yet, but it’s so close. SOOO close.

You might like this collection if you like: Mumford & Sons, Arctic Monkeys, Ingrid Michaelson, The Civil Wars, Emilie-Claire Barlow, Young the Giant, Said the Whale, some Glee hits (yes, yes, I know…), Walk off the Earth, Michael Buble, Florence and the Machine… need I go on?

And I decided to share all that goodness with you.

You’re welcome.

And hello – sorry it’s been too long. So long I can’t even really apologize or just show up like this, unannounced.

Get over it – chances are I’ll be back on a much more regular basis SOON!

ONE MORE WEEK, BITCHES!

I’m sorry. I can’t stop saying “bitches” every time I talk about how little time I have left at Western. It just seems appropriate to the level of excitement I feel.

Ciao for now.

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{Locality} Music at the Barn: Talented Ontario singer/songwriters grace Bayfield’s Main Street

Music at the Barn presents

Danielle Durand, born and raised in the Bayfield area, has music flowing in her bloodstream. Many of her relatives are accomplished singers, songwriters, and musicians, and the gift did not miss Danielle.

It was a combined love of music, of summers in Bayfield, and the desire to share her favourite things with other, along with a “something clicked” moment that inspired Danielle to plan a new summer concert series called Music at the Barn.

Kryart barn

The barn in question is the psychedelically-painted old barn that was adopted a few years ago by artist Kristyn Watterworth as her studio, gallery, and shop. Kristyn has sold art supplies, given lessons, and provided studio space out of the Kryart barn, not to mention produced many gorgeous art pieces.

Kristyn’s work will be on display at each Music at the Barn concert, and she will be doing demonstrations during the intermission at each show.

Industrial Surf Patterns by Kristyn Watterworth
Industrial Surf Patterns by Kristyn Watterworth (30″ x 24″ oil on canvas)

The intimate venue holds about 60 people, practically the perfect amount of people to share a live music event with.

The artists that are lucky enough to be appearing at the Music at the Barn events were chosen by Danielle based on what she finds “fascinating”:

“I enjoy folk music for its purity and musicianship…there are some incredible guitarists and banjoists in the world, coupled with incredible vocal harmonies and lyrics – and this is the type of talent that I want to showcase. There [will be] an eclectic mix of instrumentation from guitars, banjos, and drums, to the obscure, including kazoos and omnichords….”

Artists from surrounding towns such as Goderich, Grand Bend, and Bayfield too, and artists from as far away as London, Waterloo, Guelph, and Toronto will be gracing the barn’s stage. Expect to see Kim Régimbal and Adrian Jones of the Kitchener area, The Marrieds (Jane Carmichael and Kevin Kennedy of London), Alanna Gurr from Guelph, Graham Nicholas of London,  Jenny Omnichord (Jenny Mitchell of Guelph), Josh Geddis of Bayfield, and Danielle Durand herself, among others.

The Music at the Barn concert series is sponsored by the ArtSee Cafe & Bistro, Main Street Optometric, Kryart Studio, Virtual High School, Pianovations, Brian Coombs – Remax, The Bayfield General Store, 104.9 The Beach, and Ernie King Music.

Concerts are the following Sundays at 2 pm: June 24th, July 15th & 29th, August 29th and September 16th, 2012.

For more concert details, “Like” the Music at the Barn Series Facebook page, email Danielle at dnmdurand (at) yahoo (dot) com or call 519-993-3154.

Andy Kim

Andy Kim: Grounded and Grateful

Andy Kim

You would think a musician whose career includes more album sales than Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, Beyoncé, or J. Lo* would be at least slightly affected by his massive success. You would think that someone who has had his songs covered by the likes of Bob Marley and Ike and Tina Turner might be sick of hearing his decades-old hits played over and over.

to analyze is to paralyze

But you would be mistaken in the case of Andy Kim. Fame and fortune has not changed his friendly, down-to-earth outlook on life.

The Montreal-born singer/songwriter remains solidly grounded, thanks to a stability that comes from being the third of four brothers: “I understand the pecking order.” Andy graciously assured me that being the oldest of six did not translate into a lack of groundedness: “You have your own way of understanding the hierarchy of where you are.”

“I try not to analyze. I read a quote that I think was by Martin Luther King, ‘To analyze is to paralyze,’ so sometimes I just don’t think. I just kinda live each moment as best I can, knowing the values that my mom and dad had given us and represent them at every turn.”

This man has never forgotten and will never forget that he is the third of four brothers. He understands hierarchy, and knows that he will gain very little by getting puffed up about his fame and fortune.

Does he enjoy them? Certainly.

One of Andy’s most famous songs, “Rock me Gently,” was recorded and produced independently, making Andy an indie performer. This song, written in 1974, sealed Andy’s place in music history. He was established for life. Later, to Andy’s delight, the song was featured in a Jeep Liberty commercial in 2007. It was “a gift,” says Andy emphatically about both the song and the commercial. “It’s been able to give me a phenomenally wonderful lifestyle!”

live the moment

A wonderful lifestyle that allows him to have fun and live in the moment like he does best. He told me the story of running into a fan who was so excited to have met him and who asked Andy to play at his sister’s birthday. Andy fondly remembers the experience: “There’s a reason why… it’s a reminder that I’ve been really lucky!”

Andy Kim was born into a warm and friendly family of Lebanese heritage living in an apartment building in Montreal in the early fifties. In 1969, when he was still a teenager, Andy co-wrote the very popular “Sugar Sugar”, performed by the Archies and originally presented in an animated clip featuring the characters of the Archie comics. Andy went on to cram eight other top 40 Billboard hits under his belt, including his first, “How’d we Ever Get This Way? and “Baby I Love You.”

Later in his career, Andy was named to the Billboard Hits Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and awarded two JUNO awards, one for Outstanding Achievement in the Recording Industry, and an “Indie Award” for Favourite Solo Artist.

After “Rock me Gently”, Andy’s career slowed down significantly. He had no more billboard hits after that, though he did produce some tunes under the pseudonym Baron Longfellow. For more than twenty years, the world heard very little from Andy Kim.

Then, in the late nineties, things came together once again for Andy, thanks in part to Ed Robertson of the Barenaked Ladies. BNL were big fans of Andy’s, and becoming a Canadian institution in their own right. Andy, Ed, and Stephen Page, formerly of BNL, successfully performed a song together for an Ontario music festival. Ed was instrumental in convincing Andy that he should get in the studio again. Andy was on his way to a new place in the consciousness of music fans.

you can't take canada out of the boy

In 2010, more than forty years after his first hits, Andy released Happen Again, a collection of ten songs written throughout his lifetime but never heard by the public.

“It has taken a different shape,” Andy says of the experience of recording this latest album. The world is different, the industry is different, the scene is different. And Andy is no longer a teenager.

Regardless of his age, Andy will always be Canadian, through and through. He will always be proud of his Montreal roots and all of the culture that came with his upbringing: “No matter where I went around the world, even at the beginning, I really represented my mom and dad and my brothers and then my country.”

Andy lives between LA and Toronto, and feels like he has the best of both worlds. He gets to escape Montreal winters while enjoying the warmth of southern California. But in Canada, he says, nine out of ten people will not only give you directions but take you to show you where you need to go: “It’s part of us.”

Bayfield, Ontario, where Andy will be performing on June 16th as part of the Bayfield Concert Series, is one of the places in Canada where Andy felt at home on his first visit. Ron Sexsmith, a favourite of the Bayfield Town Hall stage, invited Andy to join him in Bayfield last summer, and Andy was captivated:

Bayfield

And of course, you know I agree!

Enjoy both Bayfield and Andy Kim on June 16th. For more information, visit the Bayfield Concert Series website, or simply book your tickets at Ticketscene.ca. Tickets are also available at Ernie King Music in Goderich and The Black Dog Village Pub in Bayfield.

The last word I will leave for Andy:

“Being an icon? That’s for others to decide. I just see myself as living out this wonderful dream.”

*Don’t quote me on this. A website told me so. I chose to believe it.

dave bidini

Dave Bidini: An icon of Canadiana comes to Bayfield

dave bidini

(Disclaimer: This post is unlike any other I have ever written. Bear with me–it’s worth it.)

Have you heard of Dave Bidini? I hadn’t before last week.

Shame on me for not discovering him before. Or on whomever knew about him and didn’t tell me.

Dave and the BidiniBand are performing at the Bayfield Town Hall tonight (@ 8 pm–get your tickets at TicketScene.ca), and while I have loved every performer I’ve ever seen on that stage in the Bayfield Concert Series, I’m more excited about Dave Bidini’s appearance at The Village Bookshop before his show (@ 6 pm–casual book signing) (sorry, Pete).

Mr. Bidini is a musician. More than that, he’s a rocker. He’s a founding member of the Genie Award-winning Canadian band Rheostatics, a group that was together from 1980 to 2007 and which Wikipedia tells me was called both “iconic” and “iconoclastic.”  Four of Dave’s ten books are about music. He and music have been inseparable for much of his life. But it’s not Dave’s music that fascinates me.

He has been performing longer than he has been publishing, but he has been writing longer than he has been playing guitar. When I asked him if one of these two intertwined vocations held more meaning for him than the other, he says “the two have been very close in terms of their evolution.” So no. He’s a writer and a rocker.

dave and a guitar

And a filmmaker and a playwright and a National Post columnist and a family man and a hockey player…

This man is ironically difficult to put into words. I say ironically because he is so prolific with words. So prolific that I hesitate to believe anything I write could even do him justice, let alone commend him to my community. I will give you my impression, and then encourage you to read what others have written, as well as Dave’s own words.

D: I think the pursuit of songwriting is a little bit deeper for me in that the reasons for creating, really simply, are reasons to stay alive, to keep moving. You almost write more out of fear, I think, than anything, when you have a sort of legacy or whatever.

The highest praise I can give Dave is to tell you that every article and book excerpt I have found convinces me to read another. He has a way with words, a voice like I have never seen before. He is at once frank and intellectual, silly and smart.

S:  Fear of what?

D: I think the fear of artistic mortality, really. Also, the fear of one’s own achievements, the specter or the shadow of one’s achievements. It’s great that they exist, but also, as you get older, you want to try to do better, get stronger.

His deep, gravelly voice booms through my iPhone’s speaker, warm and rich and personal.

This man does nothing by halves, from attempting to redefine Canadian music with the Rheostatics, to relating sex and hockey in his project The Five Hole Series, to following our favourite sport around the world to Dubai, Transylvania, and Mongolia for his documentary film Hockey Nomad.

I can’t imagine this artist’s mortality getting in his way anytime soon.

D: I’ll be 49 in September, and …when it sort of comes to the realization that you’re closer to death than to birth, and [you think] of all of those miles and all of those words you’ve written and all of the art you’ve created, you’re aware of the weight of it. When you’re 24, you’re splashing around in a pool and you don’t really have anything to stand on. Now, I have something to stand on.

He has ten books, at least sixteen albums, a documentary, two plays, a column, and a brief stint as a CBC radio show host, to say nothing of a long history as a music and sports journalist, to stand on!

Home and Away

Today, I’m honoured that this icon of Canadiana will be standing on Huron County soil, in one of the best places to experience the best artists our country has to offer: Bayfield, Ontario.

D: Bayfield is one of those big small places. You would never really know it when you pull into town. That’s what makes it a super place.

~ ~ ~

The BidiniBand’s latest record is In the Rock Hall (2012).

Read this fantastic Toronto Star article about Dave and the BidiniBand.

Dave’s book Baseballissimo is being made into a movie co-written with Jay Baruchel, who co-wrote the screenplay for the recent hockey movie Goon, and whom you might know as an actor from How to Train a Dragon, Knocked Up, and
She’s Out of my League
.

Check out Dave on CBC’s Strombo show.

Watch Dave’s hockey documentary Hockey Nomad (follow the links for the rest of the parts).

Follow Dave’s column in the National Post.

mitZine article: MIT Makes Music Part Two–David Hayes

This is one of my most recently published articles, written for my program’s ‘zine, about a fellow second-year student of mine who is also a mashup artist. I went in knowing very little about mashup. I came out with an album called Bangers and Mash…

Check out my article on page 9 of the ‘zine. (And maybe consider subscribing for future enlightenment!)

Remix: Crossing the Property Line

(Sarah Koopmans, MIT 2371, Prof. Jennifer Martin, March 9, 2011

A Day in My Life, June 2008

I had a sudden desire today to chronicle and compare the different stages of my life, as I look back and notice that my life in June 2008 is remarkable different from that of June 2007, June 2006, June 2005, and so on.

I invite you to be a witness on this journey.

June 2008 finds me 27 years old, living in a two-bedroom second-floor apartment in the only apartment building in a tiny town in East Huron County called Brucefield. This town is known for it’s flashing light, yellow if you’re driving between Clinton and Exeter on Highway 4, or red if you’re coming from either Seaforth or Bayfield. There is one elementary school, one church, one drive-in restaurant, two mechanic shops, one Asian/Home Decor/B&B/Lunch Room location, and one fire station.

My apartment overlooks a cornfield, the view of which is mostly obstructed by a lovely birch tree. Said tree helps me feel more confident walking around in my apartment in less-than-decent clothing on summer nights. After all, who would be driving by slowly enough whose gaze could penetrate the birch branches in the split second I happen to be passing through my dining room, several feet from my beautiful picture window?

I enjoy living alone, though sometimes I do wish someone was there to care whether I came in or not, or to wonder where I was, or to motivate me to do dishes, finally! My neighbours are understanding and quiet, the area is safe, and I actually have a place to call home. MY home. I’ve immensely enjoyed painting and decorating my apartment, putting all of my good taste to good use in a place where I’m the boss, now and forever.

Another addition to my life is that of Trixie the Toyota, a pretty, dark-green 1997 4Runner who goes with me everywhere I go. She hauls the accoutrements of my life and hobbies without complaint. She has survived being rolled over in the ditch after skidding out on an icy country road, being hit-and-run by some unknown person, a not-so-successful attempt at backing up a trailer, and carrying some of my more treasured furniture.

Not so enjoyable are the bills that go with being established and mobile, namely cell phone, rent, insurance, hydro, phone/internet, groceries, gas, repairs, etc. I can’t say as I ever yearned for that part of nesting, but I take it in stride, usually. I’ll be much happier when I can finally get my tax returns done (for the past 2 years), pay off my credit card, and have money set aside for winter tires.

I have spent more than a year at the same job, as a server at The Brew’n Arms English pub and restaurant in Bayfield, Ontario. Earlier this year, I graduated to keyholder and Dining Room Manager, as well as Kitchen Painter and Orchid-Caretaker extraordinaire. My bosses are wonderful people who have become friends and family, as well as the most understanding and flexible supervisors anyone could ask for. They make me want to stay and do my best for them, for their business, for their town.

Last year at this time, I was also working as a drywaller, and, shocker! I don’t miss it a tiny bit. I do enjoy my refined house-painting skills, which I have recently put to good use in a “cottage” in Bayfield, and hope to expand as a second job. If you hear of someone looking to hire a house painter, give them my number!

I’m not attending church because I couldn’t handle the one I had called “home” for years. I’m generally fed up with the institution that is what church has become, with all its expectations and traditions and legalism. I would enjoy a faith-based community of believers that is honest and open, a group that can laugh and be reverent in an informal way. I really could expand this paragraph to a whole essay, but suffice it to say that I have not encountered such a community, but I still seek to hold onto my beliefs. I am discovering more of what life is like on “the other side” (outside the Christian bubble), and it’s very educational, despite occasionally dangerous.

If it were possible to live on coffee, I’d do it.

I’ve joined the wonderful realm of BlackBerry, as I once dreamed of doing. And I’m paying for it, too.

Writing is still my best communication method.

I rarely see earlier than 10 AM, or close my eyes earlier than 1 or 2 AM. I’d like to change that.

The music in my life has developed over the past year as well. I am the youngest voice of the all-female cover band, Cactus Jam, and I love it, despite playing mostly Legions. I was also privileged enough to be part of Noted!, a project sponsored by the United Way in my county, which is helping to boost the music careers of the 17 women chosen to participate. We got to record 14 tracks in a professional studio, and a great-sounding CD is the result. This past winter I also ventured out to sing a few times at Open Mic nights at a local pub, and have been the featured soloist at two church events.

This year finds me recently motherless, a drastic blight on anyone’s life, and definitely on mine. It has changed so many things and finally propelled me into nesting in the first place. It also made my brother and I guardians of our youngest brother and launched me further into the land of disabled children in Ontario. I now have a lawyer, communicate regularly with several case workers, get all kinds of official mail, and have to return junk mail still addressed to Mom.

June 2008 also finds me blonde, and with an even greater fashion sense. I love that about growing older! I predict I’ll still be stylish in my 80s. If I’m not, remind me of now.

I’ve discovered I love flowers and plants, doing the Toronto Saturday Star crossword, Pinot Grigio and Shiraz, premium beer, CBC Radio, brie on melba rounds with semi-dried tomatoes in duck confit, Dollarama’s plain candles, serving dessert, mom’s old couch and armchair (with my apartment’s decor built around them), C&E used furniture in Goderich, Americanos from The Bean, and living in Huron County!!! (Sorry, but that deserved more than three exclamation points)
Being Sarah Elizabeth takes different shapes all the time, and I’m enjoying the process. Here’s to another year!

Sunday Brunch

Will spring ever come to Huron County? I’m seeing pictures and hearing tales that spring has arrived to other places around North America but why the heck isn’t it showing its very welcome face around here? Unless, having been away for so many springs in a row, I forget what the coming of spring looks like. I’m expecting at least a little warmth… are you with me?

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Last night I decided I wouldn’t do something I had wanted to do and something that could turn into a dream for me and something that others were encouraging me to do, something that I kinda feel chicken for not being brave enough to do. However, it’s a good decision. Not a decision I love, perhaps, but a wise one, my current circumstances considered. I’m hoping and praying for another chance, someday.

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I’m a mean cynic sometimes. Sorry.

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I’ve had creator’s block lately (other than the envelopes and the desk thing from last post), if there is such a thing. If there isn’t, I’m establishing such a thing right now. Making 20 cards has taken me more than two weeks… I swear it’s not that I’ve been slacking, although, of course, I’m also known as Queen Procrastinator.

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I like complaining about Pepsi. I used to not care, but after living in Mexico, Coke-drinking capital of the world, where Coke is made with cane sugar instead of refined sugar, you learn to recognize it for its reigning greatness (that’s the product, not the company as a whole). Pepsi costs half as much in Mexico, and with good reason… its inferiority is blatantly obvious there! The difference between the world’s two top-selling colas is forever imprinted on my tastebuds, and a Pepsi fan I will never be.

If you serve me pizza or anything else that’s hot and greasy and you have neither Coke nor any suitable replacement, but you do have Pepsi, I’ll drink it–after complaining. Because I like people to know, you especially, that Coke is superior in taste. And I’m a cynic like that.

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I need money. For the first time in my life, I’m feeling the crunch of needing to make my own money in order to pay necessary bills. And that’s without having any major ones! Seriously, jobs have pretty much just fallen into my lap in the past. Having to hand out resumes is intimidating!! I am learning to suck it up, however, much to Jimi’s relief

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My salvation might be in question. That’s right. I was in a bar on Friday night. Listening to my amazingly talented friend Nathan play secular songs! And I even sat down and stayed. For a few hours!

It gets worse: I had a beer. Yes, you saw correctly, I bought and drank one of those beverages fondly known as “cold ones”, the ones associated with bush parties, dancing, and devil worship.

God have mercy on my soul.

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Have I mentioned that I’m a cynic? I’m told the Internet likes cynics. I think I’ll stick around for a while.

Fantasy, Electro-Pop, and Coziness

1. Eragon. The book, not the movie. The movie was kinda lame (although the Arya the elf was beautiful and Eragon was hot!), but the book is a freaking page-turner! I can’t hardly put it down!! I’ve zipped through it in a week and I’m sad I only have 30 pages left. Christopher Paolini is Brilliant!! I can’t wait ’til there’s an affordable copy of Eldest out there.

2. Imogen Heap. This sassy songstress is able to entwine witty lyrics with catchy and haunting melodies in her electronic way. She uses a keyboard and voice distorters and her Mac laptop to create amazing harmonic sounds. She’s one of my newest obsessions. Check her out if you haven’t yet.

3. My Red Down Throw. I don’t think I’ve listed it yet under my 3BTs… it’s a lovely shade of brick red which goes amazingly with cornflower blue sheets (I’ve had two sets in the past and I’ve given them away). It could be a bit longer (I’m a tall girl), but it’s been with me for over three years now, and it’s beautiful. It’s warm, it’s cozy, it’s pretty, it rolls up small for travelling, it looks puffy and you want to squish its air pockets, it washes and dries in the machines. I love it.

The G’s

1. Goodbye Elliott. They’re a band based out of California, but several of the guys are originally “from” Hawaii, specifically Kona. You know guys are talented when they sound good even when they’re sharing one microphone for two guitars and two voices. You can currently hear them on my myspace, www.myspace.com/stuffandnonsense2003. Or you could go right to the source, www.myspace.com/goodbyeelliott.

2. Grey’s Anatomy. There. I said it. I love it. It makes me laugh, it makes me cry, it teaches me things about people.

3. Gina. I miss you, G. I’ve gotta come and hang out again soon! Hope your Christmas was rockin’, babe! ::muah::