Creative Current – The life of Cougar Annie remembered in songs and stories

Nadine Davenports bi-monthly column on music, art and theatre in the local area.

WRAPS Spring Concert prospects looking good

Winding Rivers Arts and Performance Society starts off 2015 with some entertainment prospects. Make sure you get your tickets in advance for the remaining three shows of WRAPS Concert Series events held at St Albans Hall in Ashcroft. Heading to our neck of the woods on Saturday, March 15 for a 3pm matinee is Katrina Kadoski’s musical one-woman show called “Cougar Annie Tales” about the life and times of an amazing west coast female pioneer.

Cougar Annie is famed for killing 70 cougars and outliving four husbands in the remote and windswept Clayquot rainforest. In Kadoski’s musical one-woman show, Annie’s stories, letters and photos from her long and fascinating life are interwoven with original songs (on guitar and banjo) by this delightful Vancouver island Performer.

Acclaimed actor-singer-songwriter Katrina Kadoski spent three years care-taking Cougar Annie’s off-the-grid homestead and garden 50 km north of Tofino. Her personal story is fascinating and of great interest to the media wherever she has toured. The play runs 65 minutes, and a 15 minute talkback session is optional.

Coming up in April will be Singer, Songwriter and Dulcimer Ace Rick Scott, an award winning singer, songwriter, storyteller and actor who combines music and laughter in lively, participatory concerts for all ages. His gift for combining wacky humour and poignant human commentary has earned him a devoted following from four generations around the world. He will be coming to Ashcroft on Sunday, April 12 for a special 3pm matinee show.

For over 35 years, Rick has performed over one thousand shows in schools, festivals and concert halls in Canada, the US, Australia and Southeast Asia. He’s the Goodwill Ambassador for the Down Syndrome Research Foundation and offers inspirational keynote concerts for educators and caregivers,  and “Music as a Second Language” song writing workshops for people who don’t think that they’re musical.

Scott has released 18 albums including a 4-CD musical audio novel and seven children’s CDs honored with three Juno nominations and Parents’ Choice, Family Choice. NAPPA Gold, iParenting Media, Children’s Music Web and Canadian Folk Music Awards. In February he will premiere a program introducing children to orchestra with the Vancouver Island Symphony.

Capping off the Concert Series on Monday, May 15 will be the Iskwew Singers. Iskwew (pronounced Is-kway-yo) is a trio of Canadian Aboriginal women who create and perform songs in the plains tradition. Songs that tell stories of connection to the earth, the Creator and one another. The heartbeat of mother earth is heard through their drums, underscoring a message of culture from a people who have survived the impacts of colonization.

Coming from the Cree Nation of Canada, each artist descends from a long line of singers. Krystle Pederson, Sandy Scofield and Fara Palmer are all award winners with active careers in other forms of music and art. Through Iskwew, these powerful singers bring the songs and sounds of their rich and vibrant culture to the ears of the world.

They perform at local, regional and national music festivals and cultural events. Internationally, they have performed at the 2012 Yoreme Encuentre Festival in various locations throughout Sinaloa Mexico, the 2011 Rainforest International World Music Festival in Borneo, Malaysia, the Ollin Kan International World Music Festival in Mexico City, 2009, and the First Peoples International Festival in France, 2006. Nationally, they have performed at the National Art Centre in Ottawa, Vancouver’s Chan Centre for the Performing Arts, the 2012 Lunenburg Folk Harbour Festival in Nova Scotia and the 2013 Edmonton Folk Festival.

Iskwew Singers wear traditional clothing or regalia and play hand drums and rattles; each song is a story and these stories are told. Not wanting to leave audiences in their seats, they engage them in a final ‘friendship round dance’ before their show is over.

Tickets are available in advance at The Ashcroft Bakery, Nature’s Gifts, the Ashcroft Liquor Store and UniTea Tea Room, or by calling (250) 453-2053 or email windingriversarts@gmail.com. to reserve. You can also help out as a Volunteer to get a discounted ticket! Well worth it for just a few hours work. For more information, go to www.windingriversarts.ca .

Jam Night now every 3rd Thursday at UniTea

Music Jam Night at UniTea Tea Room on Railway Street every third Thursday of the month from 7-9:30pm will be a fun all inclusive night of song sharing. Next Jam night will be Thursday, Jan. 22. Bring your guitars, drums, shakers and song books. We’ll have lots of great organic tea and coffee on the brew. Plus the already infamous UniTea ‘Grilled Cheese’ offerings and yummy tea infused cookies made by the Ashcroft Bakery. UniTea Tea Room 100-210 Railway Ave in Ashcroft. (250) 453-9345 for more information.

Have fun with Charades at UniTea

UniTea will be hosting an ongoing date-based Family Fun Games Night …starting with Charades! on Thursday, Jan. 29 from 7-9:30pm. Other games available are Dominos, Monopoly, Chess, Checkers, Cards, Crib and lots of fun and simple games for kids of all ages! Bring down the whole family, challenge your neighbours to some fun! Lots of toys as well. A free event at UniTea Tea Room 100-210 Railway Ave. in Ashcroft. (250) 453-9345 for more information.

Community Spiritual Video Circle begins at UniTea

UniTea will be hosting the first of many ongoing Video/Discussion Nights featuring a range of Spiritual/Environmental Documentary style Videos for mutual enjoyment and conversation. The evening will include a portion of the night dedicated to discussion and reflection on the video presented at each evenings Video Circle.

The first night will feature the Wayne Dyer produced  “The Shift” on Thursday, Feb. 5 at 7pm. This is a free event. In this video, Dr. Wayne W. Dyer explores the spiritual journey from ambition to meaning. The powerful shift from the ego constructs we are taught early in life by parents and society that promote an emphasis on achievement and accumulation are shown in contrast to a life of meaning, focused on serving and giving back.

Through the intertwined stories of an overachieving businessman, a mother of two seeking her own expression in the world, and a director trying to make a name for himself, this entertaining film not only inspires, but also teaches us how to create a life of meaning and purpose.

All of the key characters in the film experience what Dr. Dyer describes as a “quantum moment”. It opens the door to transformation for them as they recognize and begin to live “the music inside” that Dr. Dyer teaches we were all born with but too often push aside while we are busy living our lives. One of the key points in the movie: what if we come to the end of our life and discover it was all wrong?

The three stories (as well as some additional, interesting character development) are expertly woven throughout the movie and accompanied by voice-over’s from Dr. Dyer. His deep, soothing voice always seems to hit the mark and works perfectly within each scene that it is added to. (Not too much, not too little.) The dramatizations are used to illustrate Dr. Dyer’s timely teaching of transformation from a life of ambition into a more meaningful life; a life that can be just as successful and full of prosperity and ambition as you desire but with greater significance through a deeper, spiritual motivation.

We can do this Ashcroft! Are you a change agent? Come and join the conversation!

UniTea Tea Room invites you to a Valentines Tea Party

UniTea Tea Room will feature local world folk fusion quartet ‘Spiritus Mundii’ (guitars, acoustic bass flute and percussion) on Saturday, Feb. 14 -Valentine’s Day. It will be a fun event to invite sweeties of all kinds and lovers of live and local music. Themed special drink and nibblies will be on the menu. Door prizes and Tea samples. Tickets at the door or call to reserve (250) 453-9345.

Time for some old-time mountain music and comforting cuisine!

Creative Cow Productions and The Grand Central Restaurant will co-host a Dinner Concert on Saturday, March 21 for wife and husband duo Pharis & Jason Romero. The Dinner/Concert is at Ashcroft’s newest eatery – The Grand Central Restaurant. This co-production is the first of many in collaboration with Nadine Davenport Owner/Presenter from UniTea Tea Room. Doors open at 5pm with music starting at 7:30pm. Tickets  are available for the Dinner/Show and just for the Show and are now available in advance at UniTea Tea Room and The Grand Central. Call (250) 453-9345 for more information.

Pharis & Jason reside in Horsefly, where Jason also makes his own guitars and banjos. You can expect some beautiful, striking duet singing with acoustic and National guitar and banjo on originals and well-loved songs from others.

Close your eyes and you’ll think you are sitting on the front porch of some Appalachian cabin, kicking back with a banjo and guitar and some sweet tea. Rooted in the old-time mountain music of Virginia and Tennessee, their approach is an unpretentious and simple with one single microphone between the two – for that Grand Ol Opry sound.

Their chemistry is undeniable, and the song feels like it’s been rolling along a dusty plain out west for decades, just waiting to be picked up and sung. Anchored by Pharis’s rock-solid rhythm guitar and propelled by Jason’s inventive picking on a variety of banjos and guitars, their plaintive voices and soulful blend capture the ear and the imagination.

Pharis & Jason released their second duo record, Long Gone Out West Blues, in early 2013. It is a record with an adventurous sense of simplicity and a refreshing veteran spirit in keeping with their love of songs new and old, connecting 1927 to modern days in a most wonderful way with vibrantly close duet singing, poignant songwriting, hand-made banjos, and old acoustic guitars.

Garnering a Canadian Folk Music Award for Traditional Singer (and nominated for Traditional Album of the Year), an Independent Music Award nomination for Americana Album, and two Western Canadian Music Awards nominations, Long Gone Out West Blues was included on some high class Best of 2013 lists – including NPR Music’s Top 10 Folk & Americana releases of the year – and has been featured on NPR Music’s Favorite Sessions, Utne Magazine’s Monthly Music Sampler, and Folk Alley’s Hear It First.

Nadine Davenport