Monthly Archives: April 2005

Gung Haggis dragon boat April 24 practice review + upcoming events

Hello paddlers,

Very good 3rd practice on Sunday April 24th.  I coached as Bob
Brinson had to be in White Rock, to help provide dragon boat barrel
racing for the Semiahoo Days Festival.

Sunday's practice focussed on technique building.  After the
previous practice many people asked for more specific paddle
instruction before and during the practice.  This was accomplished
by providing dryland instruction on how to use the paddle, as well as
on-water exercises to help develop paddle technique.

Additionally I introduced several exercises to help increase timing and
working together.  This was done by increasing the stroke rate
from 70 strokes a minute to about 90, back down to 70, down to 50 and
longer, then back up.  People had to keep their eyes on the lead
strokes, as well as my hand, as we changed the rate.

Another exercise we did to increase technique was what I call “draw
water exercise”  We paddle off to the side of the boat, so we can
actually watch the effect our paddle has moving through the
water.  If the paddle is not very deep, then it moves more water
on the surface, sucking air into the vortex behind it.  If the
paddle is deep enough so that only the shaft is moving on the surface
of the water – then we get the most effective use of our motion, and
eliminating any unecessary white water.

To familiarize people with the “Start” calles and sequence, we
initially did running starts while paddling.  This also helped to
work through transitions in rate without tiring us out from starting at
a dead stop each time.  We later did full starts building up from
a single stroke, to 6 strokes only, 12 strokes, then 16 and upwards.

We also switched sides twice during the practice to work out both sides
during the practice.  This helps build body symetry, gives the
body a rest inbetween, and allows us to practice more.

2pm at the DBA/MATCON warehouse.
Please arrive earlier, as practice begins at 2pm.
Come at 1:45 to sign forms ask questions, give checks, say hi to everybody….

May 7th Team Social
We are having a team social at Doolin's Irish Pub
please arrive by 6pm – 6:30pm
$15 gets you Irish Stew, Lambshank + pint of Guinness
vegetarians please contact me for alternate menu.
Bring your friends!

We will show videos of last year's team in a dragon boat documentary
show globally on French television + the CBC TV performance special
“Gung Haggis Fat Choy”

May 7th is also Kilts Night at Doolins'
Wear a kilt and get a free pint of Guinness

3 in 1 Paddlers' Party

Tanya and I have decided to move the party to June 5th, Sunday.  This clears the LONG WEEKEND for EVERYBODY.
June 4/5 is Alcan Dragon boat festival regatta weekend.  So we do have to RACE on Sunday afternoon.
Then we celebrate by dancing and partying, just like a warm-up to the real thing for June 18/19 for the FESTIVAL.

Cheers to everybody.
See you on Sunday.


Global Discories Festival on the Drive: Vancouver's first World Music Festival

Check out the 1st annual
Global Discoveries
Festival on the Drive.

here are some highlights, for more details click here:


venues on Commercial Drive will host a variety of unique presentations
featuring music from Iran, Spain, Syria, Zimbabwe, India, Nigeria,
Brazil, and more. Some of these events have been
commissioned specifically for this festival, involving unique collaborations between different groups of artists.
Croatian Cultural Centre (3250 Commercial Drive)
Ticketmaster (604) 280-3311 or Zulu and Highlife Records
$23 adults, $18 students, $10 Children (12 and under)

Friday, April 29, 8 pm

featuring members of Sangha, the Honari Family, and the Amir Haghighi Ensemble

Saturday, April 30, 8 pm
Ache Brasil and Kokoma African Heritage

Saturday, April 30, 8 pm – midnight
Drum 'n' Dance
presented in Collaboration with HARMONY ROSE MUSIC SOCIETY and VRAD (Vancouver Rhythm and Dance)
Aboubacar Camara and Doundounba – Afrobeat funksters from Guinee
Pepe Danza & the Rhythm Fools – Afro-Latin percussion and rhythms
The Carnival Band – festive frolickers
Jacky Essombe – Infectious Cameroonian dancer/teacher

Friday, April 29, 9:30 pm
Flamenco Heresy, with Oscar Nieto

Saturday, April 30, 9:30 pm
Rayhan – Mediterranean and Middle-Eastern music

Sunday, May 1, 8:30 pm
Taal Mala  & Brejera  Brazilian Dance band

Friday, April 29, 9:00 pm

Feso – Zimbabwean Afro-beat band

Saturday, April 30, 9:00 pm
Adama – Mediterranean-flavoured World-Jazz ensemble

Family Weekend in Grandview Park
Saturday, April 30 & Sunday, May 1
12 pm – 6 pm     FREE

Percussion Procession – Along Commercial Drive

Saturday, April 30, 12 pm Noon

Performances and Workshops
will display their diverse cultures through music, dance, and
story-telling on the Grandview park stage.  They will also teach the
basics of their traditions, including Zimbabwean gumboot dancing,
French-Canadian spoon percussion, Hungarian circle-dances, African
Story-telling and more. Groups include: Vazzy Acadian duo, Forras
Hungarian Music and Dance, Nyenyedzi and Kutapira Youth Percussion
Ensembles, Jean-Pierre Makosso (MC & African story-telling), World
Medicine: Andrew Kim (sitar & guitar) & Joe McDonald
Alcvin Ramos (shakuhachi flute), Jacky Essombe (African
dance), Boris Sichon (one-man 25-piece percussion show), Tashi Tibetan
singer, and more.

Drum Cafe – Introduction to Global Rhythms
Coordinated by Vancouver Drum and Dance
between performances, Vancouver's top drum-circle leaders will
introduce you to the joy of percussion and rhythm. You can bring your
own drum, or borrow one generously supplied by the Drum Cafe.  No
Experience Necessary!
Unite, Uplift, and Inspire with the Drum Cafe –

Children's Global Activity Tent
and adults alike can partake in arts, crafts, and games from different
cultures, including African hair-braiding and face-painting, Indian
henna painting, and more.

Global Discoveries Showcases

part of the Festival, we are featuring new, undiscovered artists in two
Global Discoveries Showcases. These emerging world music groups will
also perform at other events in the festival.  Keep your eye out for
these up-and-coming global talents!

New Latin Sounds Showcase
Friday April 29, 8pm –  1am
Croatian Cultural Centre (3250 Commercial Dr.)
Presented by Havana Restaurant
in collaboration with Latin Summer Fest
Featuring 3 high-energy innovative Latin bands:
Santa Lucia, Myles Bigelow Trio, and Adonis Puentes
Ticketmaster (604) 280-3311 or Zulu and Highlife Records
$15 advance / $18 at the door (Children 12 and under $5)

Santa Lucia
– 7-piece band bringing a contemporary sound to traditional Latin dance
music, blending elements of funk, rock, and Nuyorican bugaloo.  Their
music is backed by polyrhythmic Cuban grooves and monstrous horns. Get
ready to have lots of Fun!

Myles Bigelow Trio
– Myles leads a group of high-energy adventurous musicians, fusing
Latin rhythms with electronic music and jazz elements.  Myles leads the
group with his masterful playing on the congas and electronic
programming. Joining him are Rahim Gaidar on Drums and Davidian Charley
on sax, flute, and laptop.

Adonis Puentes (of the Puentes Brothers) – Venturing
into a solo career, Adonis has recently released his first recording,
Vida, which embodies a contemporary vision of authentic Cuban Sonora.
Adonis' crisp and compelling tenor soars above masterful
instrumentation with heartfelt confidence. He is accompanied by a
top-notch 6-piece band.

Sounds from Around the Globe Showcase
Vancouver East Cultural Centre (1895 Venables Street)
Saturday, April 30, 1pm  5pm
By Donation (Suggested $5-$10) The program will include:

Nada Brahma – South Indian (Carnatic) traditional music fused with western
influences featuring vocalists Vidyasagar Vankayala and Sheinagh Anderson,
percussionist Sri Prabakhar Sarma, and multi-instrumentalist Patrick Pennefather.
Ivan Tucakov and Tambura Rasa 
Ivan, of Serbian origin, brings together influences of Afro-Latin,
Middle-Eastern, Indian, Balkan, and jazz music.  A delicious recipe!
Alladin and the Sudanaires 
Fronted by the charismatic Ala'aEldin Abdalla on vocals and oud, the
group performs traditional songs from various regions of Sudan,
including ancient songs from the Darfour region.
Satya  Electronic-World Music and Dance Fusion group
unique collective of young artists, integrating live world music,
electronica, contact dance, and fire arts. Together they create a
darkly evocative mythological experience for listeners and dancers
Myles Bigelow (See Bio in Latin Showcase).

Global Discoveries Lecture-Demonstrations

RIME CAFE (1130 Commercial Drive) By donation

about the world's musical traditions! Join us at the Rime Café for
interactive talks led by some of Vancouver's most knowledgeable world
music artists.

Tuesday, April 26, 78 pm
Latin and African Music Traditions, with Hector Navarro
is an experienced Latin percussionist and educator, playing in a number
of local bands, including Spacious Couch. He will demonstrate through
words and sounds the evolution of Latin music and its relationship to
its African roots.

Wednesday, April 27, 7-8pm
Persian Sufi and Folk Music and Poetry, with Amir Hagighi and members of the Honari Family
music has a rich and long history, spanning three thousand years, and
has been deeply influenced by Sufi mysticism and poetry. Singer Amir
will demystify this rich history, and sing a few songs with
accompaniment by Hidayat on Tar (Persian lute).

Thursday, April 28, 7-8pm
South Indian Music and Spirituality with members of Nada Brahma
most people are familiar with the North Indian music tradition (tablas,
sitar), the South Indian (Carnatic) tradition is equally as rich in
history and development. The similarities and differences between these
traditions will be explored by vocalist Vidyasagar Vankayala, with
accompaniment on percussion.

Sunday, May 1, 23pm
Zen and the Art of the Shakuhachi Flute, with Alcvin Ramos
is one of Canada's most accomplished Japanese shakuhachi flute players.
He was also the organizer for the Vancouver Shakuhachi Festival and
Symposium in 2004.
Professional Development Workshops

Britannia Community Centre – Family Activity Room (FREE)
Sunday, May 1, 12:30pm – 5pm
workshops are intended for emerging world music artists to learn more
about the music profession. Experienced industry people will be
speaking about the following topics: how to get booked at festivals,
publicity and self-promotion, CD distribution and Internet marketing,
electronic-world music collaboration, and other topics. Space is
Please call 604-813-7907 to confirm your participation.

ExplorASIAN Gala – April 30 @ Centre in Vancouver for Performing Arts

This should be an amazing show: 
The Korean Consulate has put in extra money to bring performers over
from Korea…  Sekoya is a home grown Canadian talent, and it
should be interesting to see what Garib and Paroo do with “Bombay

Executive Don Montgomery has put in lots of hard work to make this the best Gala show ever!

Click here to download the printable version of the GALA 8.5×11 Poster (2 MB PDF)

Please print out the poster file and display in your workplace and pass along to friends.

Proceeds from the Gala go towards supporting the Society's artistic and multicultural community programs.

tell your friends about the Gala. It will be one of the best shows you
will see this year. A terrific entertainment value for the entire

BUY explorASIAN 2005 Heritage Gala Tickets

  • Tickets: $20 – $50 – $80 (GST included – TICKETMASTER fees extra)
  • Call 604.280.4444 to Charge by Phone keyword=explorasian
  • Advance reserved seating tickets also available from TICKETMASTER outlets
  • Buy from TICKETMASTER Online

How to Wear a Kilt – “Bear” has taught me a lot

Bear (centre in the picture) of Bear Kilts has taught me some of the finer things about wearing a kilt everyday.  Bear made the maple leaf tartan I wore with Peter Mansbridge on CBC TV's The National.  Bear gave away a ready to make kilt for Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner which much to my mom's dismay – my father won!

Bear has started up a new blog and has this to say about wearing kilts.

Kilts = more

More fun, more self respect, more life….

Kilts Make You Stronger
“Aren't you cold in that thing”…

Kilts Faux Pas
What's the worst kilt faux pas you've seen…

Goin' Commando

There are three ways to describe…

Kilts and Chicks
Why do women love men in kilts?

Physics and Kilts
What makes kilts so comfortable to wear?

Scottish Highland Games in BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon etc.

Here's a message from Ron MacLeod, Scots Chair for Simon Fraser University

Greetings, for your information. regards, the other Ron

Some Highland Games 2005

The websites have been checked and they all worked when tested; try
Google if need be.
Thanks to Bruce Campbell for help with the following information:

British Columbia
May 21 - Comox Valley Highland Games, Lewis Park, 489 Old island
Highway, Courtenay
May 22 – Victoria Highland Games, Bullen Park, Esquimalt,
June 11 – Sons of Scotland, South Delta Senior Secondary School Oval
750 - 53rd Street, Delta B.C.
June 18 – BC & Yukon Legion Highland Gathering, Sooke,
June 25 – BC United Scottish Highland Games, Coquitlam Town Centre
July 2 – Penticton Highland Games, Kings Park, Penticton,
July 3 – 8 – Celtfest 2005 Summer School & Concert Series, Tigh-na-Mara
Seaside Resort, Nanaimo area
July 3 – 8 - Piping Hot Summer Drummer, Silver Mountain Resort, near
Vernon, (world’s largest piping & drumming school)

June 18 – Highland Gathering in the Park, Sherwood Park, contact
June 25 – Red Deer Highland Games
June 26 – Edmonton Scottish Society Highland Games, Edmonton, contact
August 27 – High River Highland Games, High River
September 3 - Calgary Highland Games, Shouldice Park, Calgary

May 20 – Prairie Piping Invitational, Ramada Hotel, Regina at 7:00 PM
May 21 - Moose Jaw Highland Festival, Crescent Park. Moose Jaw
May 22 - Regina Highland Games, Campbell Collegiate, 102 Massey Road.
NOTE: all three can be accessed through
July 10 –15 – Sound Advice, Saskatchewan Pipe Band Association Summer
School, Regina, contact

June 4 & 5 – Bellingham Highland Games, Hovander Homestead Park,
July 10 – Skagit Valley Highland Games, Edgewater Park, Mount Vernon,
July 30 & 31 – Pacific NW Highland Games, King County Fairgrounds,

July 16 – Portland Highland Games, Portland,

For those in a travel mood, two very large games,
one in Canada and the other in the USA

Linville, North Carolina,
July 7 – 10 – Grandfather Mountain Highland Games,

Maxville, Ontario,
July 29 & 30 - Glengarry Highland Games,

BC Book Prize Soiree introduces 2005 nominated authors + lots of prizes!

BC Book Prize Soiree introduces 2005 nominated authors + lots of prizes

Lots of authors, publishers, librarians and members of BC's literary
community showed up at Crush Champagne Lounge at Vancouver's Granville
Street on Saturday Night.  Host John Burns, book editor for the
Georgia Straight did a great job introducing the many writers nominated for BC Book Prizes and
giving away the evening's prizes.

The Crush Lounge was a nice informal setting that allowed people to
move easily – always within viewpoint of the stage.  The event was
free and attracted a good sized crowd, many of whom hung around the
silent auction table putting in their bids for the many goodies
available, including magazine subscriptions, hotel stays, writing
programs, books, etc.  I got outbid on the bottle of Glenmoragie
scotch, but managed to take home the dinner gift certificate for
WaaZuBee Cafe.

It was great to talk with friends and writers such as Shamina
, Angela Leung, Charlie Cho, as well as Ray and Mary from
People's Co-op Books.  And always good to attend a well run event
by Liesl Jauk and Brian Pike,
the dynamic duo of Rebus Creative behind
the BC Book Prizes  and Word on the Street.  I had good chats
with John Burns, Douglas Durand (City of Vancouver Cultural Planner), Richmond Librarian Shirley?, Greenpeace author Rex Weyler, and author publisher Tom Snyders.

Here are some pictures from the event:

John Burns hosting the BC Book Prizes Soiree, giving away the final prize.

Rex Weyler
, author of Greenpeace: How a Group of
Journalists, Ecologists and Visionaries Changed the World
for a BC Book Prize for non-fiction, with his mother Joanne Weyler,
wife Lisa Gibbons and business partner Sindy Taylor – photo by Todd Wong

Liesl Jauk and Brian Pike, the dynamic princiapl duo of Rebus Creative
– the organizers of the BC Book Prizes, with friend Kevin Hutchings. – photo by Todd Wong

A happy gang at the BC Book Prize Soiree, photographer Philip Chin, Charlie Cho (CBC Radio),
John Burns (Georgia Straight), Lynn Henry (Raincoast Books), Kelly
Morrison (Rebus Creative/BC Book Prizes) – photo by Todd Wong

Ballet BC's Rite of Spring: a wonderful rite of passage for human artistic endeavor and technology

Ballet BC's Rite of Spring: a wonderful rite of passage for human artistic endeavor and technology

It had been a very long time since I had attended a ballet
performance. I sat in the QE Theatre, soaking up the
atmosphere, the conversation, the anticipation.  It was all there
– everything for a great date event.

Ballet BC's final performance
for their 2004 to 2005 season had everything one could wish for. 
The dancing evoked both the pathos and atheticism of the human
spirit.  And it was downright sexy to watch. The sound system
was full if a bit loud for the first act.  For the latter
performances, live musicians played off to the side of the stage or
downstage and never detracted from the performances, but somehow made
it more present.  The music was contemporary, classical, or
modern.  Something really for everyone.

And then there was the world premier of John Alleyne's “Rite of
Spring” based on the piano score by Igor Stravinsky, accompanied by the
mult-imedia video presentation of Jamie Griffiths.
A wonderful combination that updated a musical canon with provocative
dance and cutting edge digital video technology.  But more of
that later.

The show opened up with “Like You” by Nicolo Fonte.  The first
thing I was aware of was the almost overwhelming droning of the music,
like a full 5.1 surround system with massive sub woofers.  It was
a very pleasant contrast to the tinny pre-recorded music that
accompanied so many ballet or contemporary dances of the past. 
Today's audience is used to digital home theatre surround sound. 
This set the atmosphere for the magnificient grace and beauty of
Fonte's “Like You.” 

The costumes were simple.  Red singlets for the men, that
really showed off their gluteus maximus muscles (Did I mention it had
been a long time since I last saw the ballet? I think it was the
Joffrey's dances set to the music of Prince in 1993).  The women
wore red dancing shifts that flowed easily and evocatively.  I was
really taken by the beauty of the physical human body, and how
deceptively smooth and light the dancers moved on stage. 
Sometimes in pairs, trios or in large groups, movement flowed up and
around, swirling like swallows in a meadow, playfully, artfully,

15 Heterosexual Dances choreographed by James Kudelka contrasted
with the first piece by Fonte, both with it's lightheartedness and its
choice of classical music – Beethoven's Kreutzer sonata #9, Opus 47.
And yet it complimented the previous program by building a
balance… to the seriousness of the opening piece.  

Kudelka is known as an innovative choreographer for this works with both the National Ballet of Canada and Les Grands Ballets to
push the envelope.  He created mechanical repetitive movements
that at times seemed comical but were still deeply moving for the
overall presentation.  Master musicians Jane Coop and Andrew Dawes
performed the Beethoven  Sonata for Violin and Piano
from the left side off the stage.  A spotlight shone on them,
highlighting the virtuosity of their performance but never detracting
from the dancers who moved in the dances of couples. It is a
beautiful piece that fit beautifully with the dancers and reminded
me of how I always and forever will associate J.S. Bach's Concerto in D
Minor for Two Violins to the beautiful choreography of  George Balanchine's “Concerto Barocco.”

Very sexual without being explicit, always heterosexual, evocative,
sometimes angry, provocative, sometimes coy, seductive sometimes
disfunctional – in all the ways that heterosexual relationships are
known to be (and homosexual relationships too for that matter.) 
The classical music was beautiful in its simplicity, as were the
costumes that were simple work clothes, dance shifts, velour gowns, or

What really stood out for me was that the dancers seemed to be colour-blind casted in their roles.  The Ballet BC Dance dancers roster
is mostly visibly caucasian with two Chinese dancers and two
African-American dancers who were not always paired together to be a
“nice racial couple.”  In fact, the dancers interact simply as
dancers, in inter-racial pairs or trios, as if race doesn't or
shouldn't make a difference.  This seems to be in contrast to the
challenges faced by Asian Canadian actors for theatre, television or
movies as many local groups such as Firehall Arts Centre and Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre challenge the Myths of  Casting
My event companion and both were struck by this, as we are very
aware that classical music is very integrated racially. Since we
are both multi-generational Chinese-Canadian, the recognition of dancers of Chinese
ancestry resonates strongly for us, especially since we are both involved in
inter-racial relationships ourselves.

John Alleyne (who incidently was born in Barbados)  recieved the inaugural 2005 Vancouver Arts Award
for performing arts.  He has greatly advanced his craft while
helming Ballet BC as artistic director.  Bravo to Alleyne for
pushing the envelop on what is to many people, a “warhorse” both for
dance or for music. His version of Igor Stravinky's “Rite of
is intimate, opening with four-hand piano duo – banishing any memory recollections to the
moving dinosaurs in Walt Disney's Fantasia set to
Stravinsky's orchestral score or even of the large company of dancers
traditionally used  for this piece originally choreographed by Ninjinsky for its 1913 premier.  It was Ninjinsky's
ritualistic choreography combined with Starvinsky's primal musical
score outraged the Parisan audience causing a riot.

Thankfully, 21st Century audiences are much more appreciative of modern
and post-modern art.  We have witnessed the sexual revolution in
both society and in art.

Alleyne's contribution for his version of “Les Sacre
du Printemps (Rite of Spring en francais) were not only to update a
more sexually provocative work, but also to ask multi-media artist
Jaime Griffiths to create
interactive video imagery including “live capture” as part of an
interactive moving video projection as a component part of the set.

The dance opens with scrim creating a “wall” between the audience
and the stage upon which a gentle image of leaves blowing, leaves
growing and leaves changing… was subtly projected.  The dancing
was strong and provocative, and behind the scrim, it seemed projected
into a dream.  It developed to demonstrate force and beauty,
with primal energy as conflict rose and ebbed between the
dancers..  Okay… sounds like a cliche – but watching
it in the moment, it was very exciting.  I am at a loss of words
to describe it otherwise.

The  piano duo James Anagnoson and Leslie

performed a fourhand one piano score as part of Alleyne's more intimate
and minimalist presentation.  The pair is known as one of Canada's
foremost piano duos, and they provided a marvelous minimal soundscape,
emphasizing the beauty and immediacy of live music.  Personally, I
loved hearing Stravinsky's score performed as a fourhand one piano
piece.  This was adapted from the actual piano rehearsal score
that Stravinsky created for Nijinsky to work with.

Rite of Spring marries the technology of video and light with the
beauty of
dance and Stravinsky's modern music. While Griffiths is known for her
cutting edge work with Joe Ink. for their collaboration of Grace, her
role with Ballet BC was much more subtle and complimentary. 
Images of the dancers are “captured” and digitally enhanced/distorted
and then projected on the screen.  It emphasizes movement as the
images decay on the screen.  It also opens up possibilities of
what else could be done, as this new media merges more closely with
contemporary arts as we presently know it. 

When Griffiths first showed me a video of her Grace performance, I was
very excited, as it reminded me of the exciting work done by Edouard
Locke and LaLaLa Human Steps
, as they played with the interaction of
physical dance, light and sound.  Griffiths as an artist is also
at that same innovative forefront.  But while Grace was an
“in-your-face” performance theatre work, Griffiths contributions here
are much more subtle and complimentary.  They enhance the dancing
experience as opposed to becoming the star or the object of the show.

“John was very trusting, and gave me lots of room,” says
Griffiths.  “He has a clear vision of what he wanted to achieve
and he did it. Most other people I have worked with, have a general
idea that becomes focussed in the process, but John always knew what he
wanted.  It's not a fully realized collaboration. This was meant to be a stepping stone, for
working with the interactive media. There's only so much you can
accomplish by having only a few days to work together.”

One can only imagine what will happen with John Alleyne and Jamie
Griffiths collaborate fully on a project.  Ballet BC takes Rite of
Spring to Vancouver Island for additional performances.  For
Griffiths, she takes Grace to the Edinburgh Festival, where it will be
introduced to presenters from around the world.

Check out Alex Varty's pre-performance interview with John Alleyne in the Georgia Straight:
Rite Angles

Check out Kaija Pepper's review for the Globe & Mail:

Ballet B.C. offers a more intimate Rite of Spring