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Showing posts from December, 2014

an Arts East Music Podcast

…a look back at the year's Atlantic Canadian music scene.


Featured Musicians/Songs ... and Special Mentions:

Kuato “Red Sand” from The Great Upheaval (Acadian Embassy, 2014)

Nudie “Stompin’” (composed by Al Tuck)

Hey Rosetta! “Soft Offering (For the Oft Offering)” from Second Sight (Sonic Records 2014)


As the Twelve Days of Christmas roll around each year in Newfoundland and Labrador, you might see oddly padded figures with humps on their backs, shoes on the wrong feet, their auntie’s bra on the outside of their clothes, with faces hidden behind masks or bits of old lace. These strange creatures are mummers, though they can go by other names: jannies, fools, oonchicks, or darbies.Folklorist Dale Jarvis traces the history of the custom in Newfoundland and Labrador and charts the mummer’s path through periods of decline and revival.
What inspired you to write this book? Mummering, in its most popular form, is a disguised house-visiting tradition that happens during the twelve days of Christmas. I have been interested in the tradition of Christmas mummering in Newfoundland and Labrador for a long time, and through my work with the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador, I was involved with the establishment of the Mummers Festival in St. John's. Mummering has great nostalgi…

The Littlest Christmas Kettle

Readers of all ages will enjoy this delightful Christmas tale of Anna and her mission to find a purpose for Sallie, the littlest Christmas kettle. Bright and colorful illustrations will engage readers as they follow the story of a community coming together to find ways to raise money and bring joy to those less fortunate during the Christmas season. Recently we spoke with author Deborah Cranford about the book.
Inspiration/motivation- In 2008, I helped The Salvation Army in Myrtle Beach, SC, for the Christmas season, by ringing a bell at a kettle. There were several children who passed by, pointed at the kettle and asked their parents, “What’s THAT?” Many parents stopped to let me explain that the money is used to help families that might need more food and clothing than they can buy. But some parents did not stop.  It occurred to me that those children might never know how the money is used to help others. I thought that if children become familiar with the kettle, they will be more w…

Scrooge’s Last Stand

All good things must come to an end, and Jeremy Webb’s annual comedic one-man take on Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol is no exception. Recently, AE spoke with the Halifax-based thespian about what audiences can expect this holiday season.
Rumour has it that this will be your last year presenting A Christmas Carol - is that true? The rumours are indeed true.  After eleven years and over 500 performances of this version of the show, I am going to take some time away from it and cast someone new, exciting, and fresh in the role. The show will go on and the new guy will be great! It's a bit like Dr Who regenerating - the show goes on with a different face. I think we will even do some kind of special 'hand-off' show next year, where he takes over in the middle, or at the end. I'm not sure yet, but it will be good to see someone else sweating the butt off for 90 minutes.
Why the decision to bow out now? I'm getting on in years... No, actually, it just feels right to take…

The Bay Bulls Standoff

There is a folk legend living in Bay Bulls, on the Southern Shore of Newfoundland, by the name of Leo Crockwell. He ranks up there with legends like D. B. Cooper and Albert Johnson, the Mad Trapper of Rat River. The Bay Bulls Standoff is the story of how Leo Crockwell took on one of the most revered police forces in the world, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and walked away unscathed. Recently we spoke with the book’s author Chris Ryan.
What inspired you to write this story?
For the first year after the incident which is the basis for my book happened, I kept saying that someone in my home town should write a book about it. Then, for the next ten months, I kept saying to my partner that I should write a book about it. She said if anyone could write a book about what happened, then I could. That gave me the confidence to give it a try.

Did it come together quickly or did you really need to work at it?
I wrote approximately seventy-five percent of the book in eleven mornings. I’ve alw…

Usually Beauty Fails

Equal parts dance concert and rock show, eight dancers and musicians hijack pop culture with furious abandon to reveal a generation caught in its own reflection as it navigates between animal instinct and the mind’s desire. Recently we spoke with choreographer FrédérickGravel about this weekend’s performance in Halifax.

When and why did you first become interested in dance? I always danced because my mother is a dance teacher. But I got interested when I saw contemporary dance for the first time. I was amazed to think that I could do that, that I could spend my time trying to find ways to move and to make a show with it. 
Are they the same reasons that you continue to be involved today? It was actually quite a naive way to think about doing dance, so yes, it evolved a lot. I'm now more interested in what's at stakes when you're making a performance work. What are the choices that you make, what does it reflexes on how you're a socially constructed individual, who makes cho…

Courage At Sea

Courage at Sea: Newfoundland Sailors in the Great Waris a collection of more than forty World War I stories involving the Newfoundland Royal Naval Reserve and the Newfoundland merchant seamen who delivered goods to Europe in aid of the Allied war effort. Recently we spoke with author Robert C. Parsons about his latest effort.
What inspired/motivated you to write this book? I saw a need to document Newfoundland and Labrador involvement in World War I from a different angle – that of the battle on the Atlantic Ocean. I knew there were many stories of Newfoundland Royal Navy Reservists  (R.N.R.s) who served and fought on British ships, protecting England from enemy subs, or U-boats as they were also called). In addition scores and scores of mariners carried fish and supplies to Europe, especially England, on sail driven schooners. These ran a gauntlet between Atlantic storms and German technology, U-boats, torpedoes and mines. These mariners on schooners from every coast in Newfoundland we…