Category Archives: Music

LiterASIAN 2015 Arrives!

Thursday October 8, 2015

6:00PM-7:30PM        Book Launch of Shirley Camia’s The Significance of Moths [Link]


Friday October 9, 2015

1:00PM-2:30PM        The Dreaded Query Letter with Christina Park [Link]

2:30PM-4:00PMA Publishing Career: Breaking In and Staying In with Holman Wang [Link]

6:00PM-9:00PM Opening Gala at Jade Dynasty Restaurant [Link]


Saturday October 10, 2015

10:00AM-11:30AM          Write What You Know Even in a Fantasy World with Derwin Mak [Link]

12:00PM-1:30PMTake Control of Your Writing and Self Publish in Canada! with JF Garrard [Link]

2:00PM-3:00PMThe Making of a Science Fiction and Fantasy Anthology with Derwin Mak and Eric Choi [Link]

2:00PM-3:30PMThe Art of Combining Research into your Writing Practice with Shirley Camia [Link]

3:30PM-5:00PMThe Art and Craft of Science & Speculative Fiction with Industry Experts [Link]

4:00PM-5:30PMOn Scientific Literacy, Unicorns, and Whether Good Science Fiction can Influence Good Science Policy with David Ng [Link]


Sunday October 11, 2015

10:00AM-11:30AM        Putting the Science in Science Fiction with Eric Choi [Link]

12:00PM-1:30PMA Riddle, Wrapped in a Mystery, Inside A Story with Tony Pi [Link]

2:00PM-3:30PMWrite What You Know Even in a Fantasy World with Wesley Lowe [Link]

10:00AM-4:00PMAuthor readings and book signings [Link]

12:00PM-4:00PM3rd annual Asian Canadian book fair [Link]

 


New Opera Tan Dun’s Tea: Mirror of Soul

Wow… so many people have been saying that Vancouver Opera’s current production of Tea: Mirror of Soul, composed by Tan Dun, is a must see.

The visuals are stunning.  The music is compelling.  The topics of love, family, guilt, loss, death are standard in many operas.  But combined with a unique blend of Chinese music and story that includes references to the Monkey King, and the art of tea ceremony, this opera pushes and challenges boundaries on many levels.  The most striking is its use of water, paper and rock as musical and visual themes.  There are large water bowls on each side of the stage, and musicians hit, slap or drip the water to create a fascinating aural soundscape.  Paper is used as visual forest for scenery, or it is hit with drum sticks to create thunder, or rolled to create thunder.  As well the opera chorus holds sheets of paper and uses it like percussion, complimenting the orchestra.

 

Nancy Allen Lundy has played the character of Lan in every production of Tea: a Mirror of Soul.

This is the setting for the exquisite singing, that is a blend of traditional classical opera and Chinese opera.  American soprano Nancy Allen Lundy, performs Lan.  She is the only artist to have ever played this role in productions around the world.  She sings like a bel canto bird on some songs, while on others she bends her notes like in Chinese opera style.  It is different for ears accustomed to Western opera – but it is exciting that Vancouver Opera would mount this production.  Find out more about Nancy Allen Lundy from the Opera Blog

It’s also a perfect blend for the cultural diversity of Vancouver.  Much is made of Vancouver’s large Chinese population, as well as the local music scene which features lots of cultural fusion artists such as Silk Road Music, Orchid Ensemble, and even Mozaico Flamenco – which performed a full scale of Cafe de Chinitas this past weekend.

Tan Dun is more well known in North America as the composer of the soundtrack for the movie Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon.  I loved both the movie and the music which featured cello superstar Yo Yo Ma.  Ten years ago, I witnessed Vancouver Opera concertmaster Mark Ferris perform Tan Dun’s “Crouching Tiger Concerto for Cello and Chamber Orchestra” with the CBC Radio Orchestra-  with featured Chinese erhu virtuoso George Gao  http://www.tandunonline.com/compositions/Crouching-Tiger-Concerto.  It was amazing.

The opera opens with the main character Seikyu, a former prince now a monk in Kyoto Japan, performing a ritualistic tea ceremony.  He sings of bitterness, and the monks ask him why.  Then then begins to tell a story of ten years past when he was in China, and in love in the Princess Lan.  The action then shifts to China, as the sets seem to magically transform.

But this opera is more than just the music.  There are so many levels of story,

The opera runs again on Thursday May 9th and Saturday May 11th, start time is 7:30pm.  Don’t be late or you will miss opening preamble and musicians walking up the aisles.

This review – is still in process – check back for more!

Watch these videos about Tea: A Mirror of Soul – posted by Vancouver Opera on youtube.

Naomi’s Road at West Vancouver Library is great… looking forward to April 23 at Italian Cultural Centre

Erica Iris and Hiather Darnela-Kadanoga play Obasan and Naomi, in a scene when the family leaves Vancouver on a train.

I saw the production at West Vancouver Library on Friday April 19th, and we both really enjoyed it.  Sam Chung returns as Stephen. The new singers are all good. Hiather Darnel-Kadonaga plays Naomi, Erica Iris plays the 3 roles Mother, Obasan and Mitzie. Henry Chen plays Daddy, Bully, Rough Lock Bill, Trainmaster.

I saw the original production in 2005/06 five times and enjoyed it immensely.  West Vancouver Library isn’t the best place to the performance because lighting was not the best, and the performer’s faces were often in shadows.  Close to 50 people came to the library for the free performance.

The performances by all singers are strong, and the storyline is strong.  Watching the perfomers, we were amazed at both the choreography of the movement on stage, as well as how the small versatile set is used and moved to simulate so many scenes: Powell Street, Living Room, Train, Internment Camp.   There were tears in my eyes as I watched the pinnacle scene of the opera.  It makes a powerful statement against racism and bullying.

Tickets are still on sale for Tuesday’s April 23 performance.

buy tickets on-line here:

http://italianculturalcentre.ca/highlights/naomis-road/

There will be a limited number of tickets available at the door.

Hiather Darnel-Kadonaga (soprano) plays Naomi


Erica Iris (mezzo-soprano) performs as Mother, Mitzi, Obasan

Sam Chung (tenor) plays Stephen
Photographs courtesy of Vancouver Opera, and available from the Naomi’s Road press kit http://www.vancouveropera.ca/2012-13-naomisroad-presskit.html

Harry Aoki – remembered in Globe & Mail: overcame wartime internment to flourish as a musician

I wanted to let you know that Today’s Globe & Mail, features an obituary on Harry Aoki, who passed away on January 24th 2013, at age 91.

Harry Aoki and guitarist-singer Jim Johnson on their 1968 CBC-TV series, Moods of Man.
The character of Steven Nakane in both Joy Kogawa’s Obasan and Naomi’s Road – was partly inspired/based on Harry Aoki.

Joy Kogawa first heard of Mr. Aoki while listening to CJOC radio from Lethbridge, during her own internment.

“They had an annual talent show,” she recalls. “And Harry always placed second to the pianist Dale Bartlett. I remember him playing his harmonica and feeling so proud that here was a Japanese-Canadian with so much talent.”
 
They met years later and, when writing her celebrated novel, Obasan, Ms. Kogawa thought of Harry the wonderful musician and made the character Stephen a composite of him and her own brother.
 
He was 80 when he started the monthly world music get-together, First Friday Forum, bringing together musicians from all cultures and disciplines to play and talk. The monthly jam attracted musicians from around the globe – it was not uncommon to find artists from Russia, Mexico, Indonesia and India jamming away. Among them were African drummer Tembo Tano, Celtic violinist Max Nguen and Japanese flautist Chieko Konishi-Louie.
 
He was active in the campaign to save the Vancouver childhood home of Ms. Kogawa, as well as the Powell Street Festival, the annual celebration of Japanese-Canadian culture. He was also involved in Vancouver’s annual celebration that fuses Chinese New Year with Robert Burns Day (Jan. 25), Gung Haggis Fat Choy
 
 
– photo Deb Martin
For the first Open House event, September 2006, after the saving of Historic Joy Kogawa House, from the threat of demolition….Harry performed on his double bass, myself on accordion, his friend Masako Watanabe on guitar…. with Jessica Cheung, opera soprano, who performed the role of Naomi – for the Vancouver Opera Touring Ensemble of “Naomi’s Road.”

– photo Deb Martin

On March 1st, Friday, 6-10pm  – There will be a Celebration of Life musical tribute for First Friday Forum – held at St. John’s College, UBC, for Harry Aoki.

More memories of Harry Aoki…

Last week…. I read Joy’s email message about Harry…. at the First Friday Forum on Feb 1st…. Harry’s monthly music session.  I read it from my cell phone… and people enjoyed it.

Many commented that they never knew that Harry had helped inspire the character of Stephen Nakane, and others said they would read Obasan again.

It was a good evening… and I played on my accordion the song “Neil Gow’s Lament for his Second Wife” and Maxwell Ngai accompanied me on violin. This was the first session since Harry’s Passing.

The next session will be March 1st at St. John’s College at UBC, and it will be a musical tribute to Harry, and a celebration of his life.

This morning there was the funeral service at the Vancouver Crematorium 9:30 to 10am… but we started arriving at 9am, and left by 10:30am.

Upon arrival – there was music playing from Harry’s album with Jim Johnson – “The Many Moods of Man”.  Themba Tana introduced himself and explained that the service would be simple with Zen Buddhist chanting.

Ken Keneda read a note from Harry’s Niece in California… and he placed Harry’s harmonica and eye glasses in the coffin.

Next, Ken invited people to come up to pay their respects to Harry and place their personal notes inside the open casket, along with the  chrysanthemums everybody had received.   Themba Tana played his african finger drum.

After Harry’s coffin was wheeled out of the room… people were invited to say a few words….

Nobody stepped forward – initially.  but I brought up John Endo Greenaway – who had wanted to say that Harry would be featured in the next edition of the JCCA Bulletin.

I had arranged with Ken Keneda to read a Joy Kogawa poem…. as I had previously told him that the last time I was at the Vancouver Crematorium was for a music performance by my friend Heather Pawsey.  Heather sang poems of Joy Kogawa that had been turned into songs by composer Leslie Uyeda, and performed with pianist Rachel Kiyo Iwaasa and flautist Kathryn Cernauskas – All who had all performed at Kogawa House before.

As Harry had broken down many walls through his music, friendship, and connections, and strength of will… I read the following poem “Where There’s a Wall”, then I closed with a verse of Robert Burns’ Auld Lang Sang – that I had never seen before, sent to me this morning – by Harry’s niece Cathrine from California

Where there’s a Wall

Joy Kogawa

where there’s a wall
there’s a way
around, over, or through
there’s a gate
maybe a ladder
a door
a sentinel who
sometimes sleeps
there are secret passwords
you can overhear
there are methods of torture
for extracting clues
to maps of underground passageways
there are zepplins
helicopters, rockets, bombs
bettering rams
armies with trumpets
whose all at once blast
shatters the foundations

where there’s a wall
there are words
to whisper by a loose brick
wailing prayers to utter
special codes to tap
birds to carry messages
taped to their feet
there are letters to be written
novels even

on this side of the wall
I am standing staring at the top
lost in the clouds
I hear every sound you make
but cannot see you

I incline in the wrong direction
a voice cries faint as in a dream
from the belly
of the wall

~~~~~~~

Should Old Acquaintance be forgot,
and never thought upon;
The flames of Love extinguished,
and fully past and gone:
Is thy sweet Heart now grown so cold,
that loving Breast of thine;
That thou canst never once reflect
On Old long syne.

CHORUS:

On Old long syne my Jo,
On Old long syne,
That thou canst never once reflect,
On Old long syne.

photo

My friend Patrick Tam took pictures at my party – so here is Uncle Harry playing Stardust with my friend Joe McDonald

Check more links here:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/flungingpictures/sets/72157623939389143/with/4697903549/

I especially love the picture of Harry & Joe McDonald — Uncle’s not playing…he’s watching Joe on his riff on the piano.  Uncle Harry loved to create music with fellow musicians — to see where the music might take everyone.  It was always that musical journey that I think was the core of his greatness as a composer and especially as an arranger.  The dialogue between not just instruments, but the cultures of the players and what each would bring.  And in live performance, it is the ephemeral nature of the art – that once played, it can never ever be played that way again.  There is a kind of magic in music – which is why Harry always said that music is one of the first places where racism breaks down.  When you’re jamming with another musician, and you’re really in it, colour, religion and barriers just fall away.  It’s just music.  And if you’re lucky enough to listen to real musicians making real music – you escape the barriers that divide us.  It was that phenomenological approach to music and to art that made Uncle Harry so interesting and special….and so you – his fellow musicians.  You are musicians and weavers of a trans-cultural fabric that may be the only way we have left to make real change in the world.
I didn’t realize that Uncle’s passing was the eve of Robbie Burns Day.  Another artist who championed the cause of people in diaspora.  (I’m guessing you’ve figured out by my name that I’m half Scottish and half Japanese) — so Robbie Burns is one of my favourite poets.
And that Uncle passed away on the eve of the day we celebrate Burns, I can almost hear Uncle Harry’s harmonica singing over the shores:

Should Old Acquaintance be forgot,
and never thought upon;
The flames of Love extinguished,
and fully past and gone:
Is thy sweet Heart now grown so cold,
that loving Breast of thine;
That thou canst never once reflect
On Old long syne.

CHORUS:

On Old long syne my Jo,
On Old long syne,
That thou canst never once reflect,
On Old long syne.

 

World Accordion Day May 6th

Happy World Accordion Day…. 24 hour live streaming of accordion music from around the world….

http://www.accordions.com/cia/cia_wad_directory_2012.htm
Confederation Internationale des Accordéonistes CIA

www.accordions.com
The Confederation Internationale des Accodeonistes (CIA) are the organisers of the annual Coupe Mondiale World Accordion Chapmionships

We celebrated World Accordion Day Eve last night with Jessica Fichot concert at Le Centre…

She sang mostly in French… 2 songs in Chinese, 2 songs in Spanish, 1 song in Russian… then had dinner with Jessica and her band at Wild Rice – for some Chinese-West Coast fusion cuisine
Check Jessica Fichot’s website
www.jessicasongs.com
Chanteuse and songwriter Jessica Fichot is a lot like her hometown of Paris: French at heart, but with a soul that’s truly universal…

My first : Aida grand opera emphasizes human qualities and delights audience

Aida – produced by Vancouver Opera

Remaining dates April 28, May 1st, May 3rd

Reviewed on April 26th, by Todd Wong and Deb Martin

19th Century Italian composer Guiseppe Verdi was commissioned to write an opera, with French Egyptologist Auguste Mariette by Isma’il Pasha, Khedive of Egypt.  It is set during the ancient wars between Egypt and Ethiopia, and many years later Vancouver Opera stages with Russian singers, as well as Americans of Greek, African and Hawaiian ancestry in the lead roles.  Oftentimes, operas were set in exotic locales to entice the audience, resulting in many cultural stereotypes – but Aida was commissioned specifically for Egypt and had it’s world premiere in Cairo.  We went to see the opera after having dinner in a French-Tunisian restaurant on Commercial Drive.  Welcome to a very intercultural Vancouver.

There were no elephants or camels or falcons on stage at Vancouver Opera’s season closing production of Aida.  This is the opera which had been infamously presented at BC Place in 1989 with a large pyramid towed in on a barge, as well as at the base of the pyramids in Egypt and at the Masada.  No, the Vancouver Opera production alluded to grandeur with a set that featured the large head of a sphinx and entrance to a temple.  But oh – the singing was indeed grand, and it is what everybody was talking about.

Aida is played by Russian soprano Mladda Khudoley, whose voice soared above the combined chorus of epic singing, with almost 80 people on stage.

Wow….

Aida’s love interest is Radames played by American tenor Arnold Rawls, which sets up a complicated love triangle because the Pharoah’s daughter Amneris, played by Greek-American mezzo-soprano Daveda Karanas, is also smitten with him.  Hawaiian-American Quinn Kelsey is Amonasro the Ethiopian warrior king who is also father of Aida.  African-American Morris Robinson brings his earth shaking bass voice to the role of Ramfis the priest.

These are all wonderful voices with strong acting skills that add to this wonderful production.  Their nuanced glances and movements greatly enhanced their performances.

The first half of Aida which sets up the plot was typical Verdi, long & a bit musically boring, but the visuals and solo arias were interesting, especially the dancing choreographed by local Vancouverite Chan Hon Goh, former soloist with the National Ballet.  The 3rd Act opened after the intermission with a   a different style of music that really echoed Egyptian music, that brought back our attention.  Oftentimes in Grand Opera, someone launches into a long, long aria and death scenes are equally long, but this time, the brevity of the final dying scene took us by surprise.

The cool parts: the super pianissimo from the men’s chorus & the trumpets on stage. The huge chorus was exceptionally good – thanks going out to Leslie Dala for preparing them. The trumpets are on loan from the West Vancouver Youth Band and Burnaby South Secondary. They are trumpets, just straightened out instead of looped up.

Vancouver Opera’s most recent production of Barber of Seville, featured partial male nudity, with chorus and supernuneries getting changed as if they were in a movie set dressing room.   This time male Egyptian guards showed off some nice pecs and abdominal muscles, as well as the diversity of the human form.  But of course, the dancers had the best bodies and athletic skills – too bad it was hard for them to dance more expressively wearing hindering costumes.  We also thought the spray tans on the Egyptian guards were funny. The opera glasses let us get a good look.

We were excited about seeing Aida for the first time, having heard, of course, of the huge productions with live elephants & pyramids.  We almost expected the sphinx head on stage to open up at some point and release warriors, as the seams of the blocks it was built out of were so visible.  We thought surely it would come apart, having seen something similar in the VO’s production of Lillian Alling, when the forest trees parted to reveal a car “driving down the highway”.

Vancouver Opera productions have been consistently great in recent years. 2010’s version of Nixon in China has now been re-mounted by other companies and is becoming the go-to production.  For Aida, the orchestra is first rate, the chorus shines, and the soloists carefully selected to thrill.  While this show didn’t sparkle & zip like West Side Story, or amuse us with novelty & “buffa” like Barber of Seville or Italian Girl in Algiers, it was solid and classic, and beautifully performed.  We will remember it because it was our first… maybe just like the lovers of Aida and Radames!

Check out this youtube footage of Vancouver Opera’s AIDA rehearsal:

AIDA rehearsal footage with interviews – YouTube

www.youtube.com/watch?v=1FjiF-fyVQY12 Apr 2012 – 2 min – Uploaded by vancouveropera
Vancouver Opera presents Aida at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre. April 21 – May 3, 2012. vancouveropera.ca

Chelsea Hotel is an inventive presentation of Leonard Cohen songs

Chelsea Hotel is inventive and theatrical – and probably more fun than a Leonard Cohen concert!


Adrian Glynn McMorran (The Writer), Marlene Ginader (The Lover), Steve Charles (The Sideman), and Lauren Bowler (Sister of Mercy) perform many dramatic and musically diverse collaborations of Leonard Cohen songs during “Chelsea Hotel” at the Firehall Arts Centre – photo David Cooper, courtesy of Firehall Arts Centre


Chelsea Hotel featuring the songs
of Leonard Cohen

Dates and
Venue
8 February – 3 March 2012, 8pm, (2pm Weekend matinees
& 1pm Wedmatinees) | Firehall Arts Centre

Conceived and Directed by Tracey Power

Artistic Direction by Donna Spencer

Music Direction by Steven Charles

Performed by Rachel Aberle, Lauren Bowler, Steve Charles, Benjamin Elliott, Marlene Ginader, Adrian Glynn McMorran
DATES: February 8 to March 3, 2012

8pm, 2pm (Weekend matinees), 1pm (Wednesday matinees)

Today is opening night of “Chelsea Hotel” at Firehall Arts Centre –
featuring songs and poetry of Leonard Cohen…. AND the ACCORDION is a
featured instrument… actually it is the first musical instrument to play in
this amazingly theatrical production.  There are constant visual surprises for the audience.  And there are musical surprises too.  Three
males and three females take turns on up to many different instruments
including violin, cello, double bass, electric guitar, electric bass, drum kit, acoustic guitar, keyboard, ukelele, tambourine, and kazoo…

I saw Chelsea Hotel on Friday Night – the first performance… a world premiere – preview version… and LOVED IT.  I have had Leonard Cohen ear-worms in my head all weekend, as I listened to my Cohen cd's trying to figure out the titles of the songs that were included in the production.

There have been many musicals made of songs by specific songwriters.  Mama Mia by ABBA… Jersey Boys is based on the music of The Four Seasons… Uptown Girl is the music of Billy Joel.  And way before that, musicals were made of George Gershwin and Cole Porter songs.  All of these have a story arcs, and dialogue to develop the plot lines.

But there is no invented dialogue in Chelsea Hotel, nothing but the songs and poetry of Leonard Cohen.  Director Tracey Power has conceived and created a theatrical presentation that moves seamlessly from song to song with interspersed words of poetry.  The drama is in the storytelling of the songs.  The dynamic tension is in the body language and the faces of the performers.  The story is in the words of each song, as they speak of love, break ups, regret, hate, and reconciliation.  And somehow it all works.

Like the musical Chicago, these performances are part fantasy and part memory recall.  The character called The Writer (Adrian Glynn McMorran) is trying to write at his desk and having difficulties.  The inventive set is piled high with crumpled pieces of paper.  The Writer is having writer's block in a room at the Chelsea Hotel in New York City (where Cohen lived for awhile).   He groans and crumples up another piece of paper to throw it against the wall.  Suddenly a man pops up playing a tune on an accordion… and thus the interior workings of The Writer's attempts at song writing began,  The Writer recalls a woman in his life – and a female performer steps onto the stage singing about their relationship.  Then next another musician steps onstage for accompaniment, and another woman who joins in the singing…

Steve Charles (guitar), Benjamin Elliott (accordion), Marlene Ginader (violin), Rachel Aberle (voice), photo David Cooper, courtesy of Firehall Arts Centre

The songs are strangely familiar, as they take their turns like old shirts from a long forgotten box of clothes.  They are comfortable, and in a variety of musical styles and arrangements.  Some songs are old like Suzanne or Lover Lover Lover.  Many are from Cohen's middle period of the 80's and 90's such as I'm Your Man, Tower of Song, First We Take Manhattan and Hallelujah. 

The production is sooooo playful.  There is a carnival cabaret atmosphere, with the performers all wearing whitened faces and exagerated costumes.  Benjamin Elliot's character is called The Magician.  Musical Director Steve Charles is performing as The Side Man.  The arrangements vary from solo instruments to string trio, acoustic folk stylings, to full-on rock and roll.

I found the
musicianship to be surprisingly good… the performers pick up
their instruments and play them when you least expect it.  Rachel Aberle and
Lauren Bowler as The Sisters of Mercy,  both have amazing presence and create dynamic and sexual
tension with Adrian Glynn McMorran's The Writer and the audience.  Marlene Ginader is innoculously beautiful to watch.  She first seems to float down from the mountain of
crumpled paper after appearing first as musical supporting cast on violin, and her character The Lover, takes on increasingly important dynamics.

Friday night was the first audience performance prior to Wednesday's Opening Night on Feb 8th.  I thought the production flowed well.  There was a standing ovation for the performers.

Chelsea Hotel is a fun production.  There are constantly visual and musical developments happening as well as the interaction of the characters.  The songs are entertaining in themselves – both for lyrical beauty, irony and humability.  My recommendations are:
1) don't sit in row A on the floor – there is a row AA in front of you that obscures your view. 

2)
don't sit in the audience far left side.  It is hard to see some aspects
of the stage and performers – that are hidden by a set design.

Marlene Ginader (The Lover), and Adrian Glynn McMorran(The Writer) sing their hearts out to each other, after loving, hating, resenting, pining, forgiving each other to find resolution. – photo David Cooper, courtesy of Firehall Arts Centre

see other links about Chelsea Hotel:
http://www.straight.com/article-596306/vancouver/chelsea-hotel-brings-cohen-songs-life

Vancouver Opera reviews Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner event – turnabout not a Turandot!

Vancouver
Opera blog – gives a review of Gung Haggis Fat Choy Dinner
 – and shared
multicultural respect… This is great – usually I am the one to write
reviews of the opera on MY blog at www.gunghaggis.com
This definitely a turnabout but not a Turandot! – even though the Black Bear Rebels ceilidh group did play the Chinese folk song Mo Li Hua (Jasmine Flower) which is the melody that Giacommo Pucinni pinched to use as the Princess Turandot them in his famous opera Turandot (hint: think Nessun Dorma)
http://vancouveropera.blogspot.com/2012/01/gung-haggis-fat-choy-salute-to.html

vancouveropera.blogspot.com

Georgia Straight: Gung Haggis Fat Choy at Floata rings in the Year of the Water Dragon

Announcing
the inaugural 
“Gung Haggis Fat Choy Intercultural Achievement Awards of
Awesomeness”
Congratulations to Vancouver Opera's James Wright,
Parliamentary poet laureate Fred Wah, and cultural organizer and poet
Jim Wong-Chu. These are people that inspire what we love in the BC Arts,
and what we create at Gung Haggis Fat Choy… and our intercultural
projects through the year.  Great that the Georgia Straight scooped this dinner highlight from our event last night.
 

Tetsuro
Shigematsu (far left) and Todd Wong (right) granted the Gung Haggis Fat
Choy Intercultural Awards of Awesomeness to Vancouver Opera's James
Wright, poet Fred Wah, and Ricepaper founder Jim Wong-Chu.

photo Charlie Smith


Georgia Straight: Gung Haggis Fat Choy at Floata rings in the Year of the Water Dragon

“Politicians of all stripes must have had other business in this
postelection malaise, as the 15th annual Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie
Burns Chinese New Year dinner went off without them.

The only person to note this was Scottish-born-and-raised local political veteran Margaret Birrell, who told the Straight that Scotland is likely to vote for independence from the U.K. in 2014.

Other than Birrell, nobody seemed to mind too much, as there was music, poetry, whisky, haggis, banter, and fun a-plenty.

Cohosts
Tetsuro Shigematso and Gung Haggis creator Todd “Toddish McWong” Wong
made sure the night was seamless at the Floata Restaurant in Chinatown,
which culminated in a cross-cultural Mandarin-English version of “Auld
Lang Syne” (“Youyi dichang-tianju”), traditionally used to sing in the
New Year in Scotland and elsewhere.”

read more at: