Join the Museum of Anthropology at UBC for a journey of musical discovery from Asia, to Europe and the Americas. Learn about what it takes to create a new album as Vancouver-based musician Alex Morison composes his new album using audio archives and field recordings and collaborates with Indigenous poets and award-winning musicians throughout the process. This monthly podcast is created for audiophiles, the culturally curious, and lovers of the bizarre.
Bonus episode: Community Voices from the Past
This is a special bonus episode that accompanies episode 4: Hogan's Alley.
In this bonus episode, Community Voices from the Past, listen to first-person accounts read by Venessa Richards, a descendant of the Trinidadian Calypso movement in Hogan’s Alley. Listen as Richards reads excerpts from Opening Doors in Vancouver’s East End: Strathcona, featuring Dorothy Nealy and Rosa Pryor two women who recount their lives in the early to mid 1900’s amid Hogan’s Alley heyday.
In episode 4: Hogan's Alley, three Vancouverites share their perspective on Hogan's Alley and its rich history. Vanessa Richards speaks to the “histories we live”. She reads real-life chronicles of Vancouver’s black community members revealing the rhythm and cadence of the early 1900’s. Kevan Anthony Cameron tells of the musical and economic history of Hogan’s Alley, reminding us of the space it holds in the audio files of this city’s roots. Alex Morison narrates the methods of erasure, systemic racism, and its intergenerational impacts on those who suffered from displacement politics. This is a story of Vancouver’s colorful and complex history of the neighborhood we now call Strathcona.
In this episode three Vancouverites share their perspective on Hogan's Alley and its rich history. Vanessa Richards speaks to the “histories we live”. She reads real-life chronicles of Vancouver’s black community members revealing the rhythm and cadence of the early 1900’s. Kevan Anthony Cameron tells of the musical and economic history of Hogan’s Alley, reminding us of the space it holds in the audio files of this city’s roots. Alex Morison narrates the methods of erasure, systemic racism, and its intergenerational impacts on those who suffered from displacement politics. This is a story of Vancouver’s colorful and complex history of the neighborhood we now call Strathcona.
After listening to our regular podcast please continue on to our essential listening track titled Bonus Episode - Community Voices from the Past. These first-person accounts are read by Venessa Richards, a descendant of the Trinidadian Calypso movement in Hogan’s Alley. Listen as Richards reads excerpts from Opening Doors in Vancouver’s East End: Strathcona, featuring Dorothy Nealy and Rosa Pryor two women who recount their lives in the early to mid 1900’s amid Hogan’s Alley heyday.
Nat King Cole
The Crump Twins
Wade Compton (poet)
Opening Doors in Vancouver’s East End: Strathcona.
Community voices read from the book, Dorothy Nealy, Rosa Pryor
Committed to the unique history and futurity of people of African descent in British Columbia, Richards was an active member of the City of Vancouver’s Black History Month Citizen’s Advisory Group for six years. She is a former and founding board member of the Hogan’s Alley Society. She is on the advisory committee for the RADIUS Fellowship at Beedie School of Business SFU and is a producer/facilitator for the Social Venture Institute with Hollyhock Leadership Institute and a volunteer mentor for two Black youth co-operatives, Ethọ́s Lab and Solid State. Vanessa is the founder and song leader of the Woodwards’ Community Singers. As a poet she’s been anthologized in a number of landmark collections including ;Bluesprint-Black British Columbian Literature and Orature, Step Into A World- A Global Anthology of the New Black Literature, IC3- The Penguin Book of New Black Writing in Britain.
Kevan Anthony Cameron
Kevan Cameron, also known as Scruffmouth is a spoken poet and musician. In 2013, Kevan Anthony Cameron co-edited the landmark national anthology; The Great Black North: Contemporary African Canadian Poetry. He is the creative director for Black Dot Roots and Culture Collective and a leader in Hogan’s Alley Poetry Festival.
Hogan’s Alley Society
Advocating for Black Vancouverites who have endured the legacies of urban renewal and their erasure from the official historical narrative, the Hogan’s Alley Society (HAS) is a non-profit organization composed of civil rights activists, business professionals, community organizations, artists, writers and academics. HAS seeks to preserve and promote the historical, cultural, societal and economic contributions made by Black Settlers and their descendants to Vancouver, BC and beyond.
Painting The Sisters
In this episode, Alex Morison explores cultures that revere artists and have practiced creative expression since time immemorial. He delves into the concept of The Dreaming and ancient Songlines from Aboriginal Australian peoples. Dating back 65,000 years, The Dreaming is a concept that has no real translation; a creation story that exists on an infinite time continuum and encompasses everything. You will hear the voices of people who live, create, and learn in The Dreaming, listen to music inspired by thousands of years of tradition, and hear compositions stirred by epic artistic landscapes.
The RumSalt Orchestra and this podcast were inspired by the 2018 MOA exhibition Marking The Infinite: Contemporary Women Artists From Aboriginal Australia, which featured the work of nine Aboriginal women from different remote regions of Australia. They are revered matriarchs and celebrated artists who are represented in national and international collections.
Marking the Infinite originated at the Nevada Museum of Art and was organized by William Fox, Director of the Centre for Art and Environment, and scholar Henry Skerritt. The exhibition is drawn from the collection of Debra and Dennis Scholl.
Regina Pilawuk Wilson
The following special guests were interviewed at MOA in March 2018 before the opening of Marking the Infinite by Marie Wustner, Curator of Public Programs + Engagement at MOA and this podcast's Producer.
Wukun Wanambi: award-winning painter from the Marrakulu clan of the Yolnu people. He knows the artists from Marking the infinite and has been a cultural champion for Australian Aboriginal art, and his works have been presented around the globe.
Ishmael Marika: artist and filmmaker from the Yirrkala community in a region from which some of the art in "Marking the Infinite" comes from. Ishmael promotes language and culture revitalization through his art and documentaries.
Dennis Scholl: Floridian art collector, philanthropist, and cultural revivalist who has dedicated enormous time, energy and financing into art communities around the world. He and Debra Scholl are the original collectors of the artwork displayed in "Marking the Infinite."
Kade McDonald: Australian curator and conduit for multifaceted, multicultural art societies. While working in close consultation with Indigenous communities, Kade focuses on cultural enterprise and community development through contemporary art exhibitions and events.
The Sounds of Resistance
Sounds of resistance have echoed around the world for generations, crossing continents and oceans. Their rhythms and cadence inspire the movements that embolden strength and resilience. In this episode, father and daughter Steve September and Xhalida September share their family history and their intergenerational, international activism for the equal treatment and respect for Black lives. It’s a struggle that spans space and time, from South African apartheid to the Canadian Black Lives Matter movement. Host Alex Morison (The RumSalt Orchestra, The History of Gunpowder) elaborates on the music of resistance and the uniqueness of Indigenous music in the ongoing battle against systemic racism. Lady Vanessa Cardona, a mestiza Colombian poet, shares words of community organizing and Indigenous independence as a means of resistance and resilience.
References (Full version here):
James Brown: Legendary American funk singer, songwriter, dancer and producer; the Godfather of Soul. Listen: “Say it Loud – I’m Black and I’m Proud”
Mavis Staples: Renowned American soul, R&B and gospel singer and activist. Listen: “Change” and “I’ll Take You There”
Sam Cooke: American singer, songwriter and activist; the King of Soul. Listen: “Chain Gang”
The Impressions: Influential American doowop, soul, gospel and R&B band. Listen: “Choice of Colour” and “Move On Up” by member Curtis Mayfield
Buffy Saint-Marie: Renowned Cree singer-songwriter, composer and activist. Listen: “You Got to Run (Sprit of the Wind)”
Tanya Tagaq: Polaris Prize-winning Inuk throat singer and author pushing the boundaries of experimental music. Listen: “Uja”
A Tribe Called Red: Juno-Award winning electronic, dance, hip-hop and dubstep (sometimes called “powwow-step”) group. Listen: “Stadium Pow Wow”
Victor Jara: Legendary Chilean folk singer and activist assassinated at the hands of the Pinochet Regime. Listen: “Manifesto”
Willie Dunn: Mi'kmaq singer-songwriter, politician and director; important figure in Montreal's Indigenous folk scene. Listen: “The Ballad of Crowfoot”
Peter LaFarge: NYC-based folk singer-songwriter; known for associations with Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash and music on Indigenous struggles.
Introduction to A Taste of RumSalt
In this first episode of A Taste of RumSalt, MOA's composer-in-residence Alex Morison introduces listeners to his band The History of Gunpowder, plays field recordings that inspire his creative process, and shares the words of Lutselk'e Dene and Plains Cree poet, Tawahum Bige—his first Indigenous collaborator on this new musical project.
Alex Morison is the primary composer of the band, The History of Gunpowder. In 2019 he received a Canada Council Grant which enabled a North American and European tour, beginning with a sold-out show for MOA’s Sound House series.
Tawahum Bige is a Lutselk’e Dene and Plains Cree, Two-Spirit, non-binary poet. Tawahum Bige's work can be found in Red Rising, Prairie Fire, EVENT, Poetry is Dead, Grain and Plenitude magazines.
Jonny Greenwood is most well known as the lead guitarist for Radiohead, and is also an accomplished composer.
Krzysztof Penderecki is a boundary breaking Polish composer well known for his haunting orchestral arrangements that created the soundscape for many films, including The Shining.