Arts & Culture Podcasts
Interviews from our Artist Huddles and other musings worth hearing and such
TRANSCRIPT CHRIS NORMAN: Hi, I’m Chris Norman and you’re listening to Boxwood’s Artist Huddle – Conversations. Our September 15 2020 Artist Huddle featured the Klezmer flute player Adrianne Greenbaum. We chatted about the history of Klezmer in Eastern Europe and North America and its long history with the flute. She shared some of her musical philosophy, experiences, and some great tunes. CHRIS NORMAN: For a lot of people, Adrianne, Klezmer is a music that’s so closely associated with the Jewish faith and with Jewish identity, I think for those of us who are not Jewish, an immediate question would be – Are we welcome here in this music and what would be our place in the music as non-Jewish people? Should we have any concerns about cultural appropriation as we talk about this music? ADRIANNE GREENBAUM: Excellent, excellent. So, it’s not as complicated a concept as you might think. First of all, we can erase any kind of inappropriate like “I’m not Jewish.” It’s not really based on any kind of faith, it’s cultural and so we Jews, of course, call it our music and it is. It’s the music of the Jewish people. But I’d rather think of it as the Jewish people rather than the Jewish faith. I am not particularly religious myself. On the other hand, certainly you’ve got those who are religious, but we also have stars in Klezmer who are not Jewish at all. And there’s even a group in Amsterdam called Di Gojim. They just like the music and I don’t think anybody CHRIS NORMAN: Yea, it’s interesting because these objections rarely come from musicians or from artists in any genre, it’s often people that are outside the artistic pursuit that tend to raise these objections, but generally speaking … ADRIANNE GREENBAUM: Sure CHRIS NORMAN: But in my experience if you’ve got an understanding of the music and you have the contextual basis to play the music just in your own musicality there’s just no question about it. ADRIANNE GREENBAUM: Exactly, and you know I’ve fallen into “I want to be Irish, I want to be Scottish.” I had my sister sort of dig deep into our DNA and she said “Sorry, there’s nothing there” and I’ve always felt that I should have some, some lineage there in order to be allowed. But they all welcomed me in Scotland and of course there were the Jews that came out to hear me. No one complained and you know when I found that Scottish set mislabeled in the folio, it was trying to say Caledonia but it was really butchered spelling by this Polish guy who just scrawled something, but we figured out it was definitely Caledonia, and there were four tunes. That was right in the Klezmer folder and obviously it existed there because they either liked it and/or someone requested it for a fair. Klezmer bands played for county fairs, so whatever that means in Eastern Europe. So, it’s not just Jewish music that they have to know, it’s just like any, any Klezmer has to know how to play – back in the day when we were really working – at weddings, if someone requested the Macarena, fine. CHRIS NORMAN: Right, they’re just there to play the popular music, whatever people want to hear. ADRIANNE GREENBAUM: Yeah CHRIS NORMAN: So, I know Klezmer has a very close association with music of the Roma from the Romani and Gypsy population of Eastern Europe. Help me understand the delineation th
Transcript CHRIS NORMAN: Hi, I’m Chris Norman and you’re listening to Boxwood’s Artist Huddle – Conversations. In our July 12th 2020 Artist Huddle, we featured the irrepressible Québécois fiddler, singer, composer, and podorythmie purveyor Pascal Gemme. We enjoyed a chat exploring some of the history and regional styles and the traditional music of Québec and French Canada. CHRIS NORMAN: This Is our twenty-fifth year, Pascal, running this festival and I’m looking forward to chatting with you a bit about a festival you’re involved with as well. Are you still involved with the Sutton Fiddle Festival as well? PASCAL GEMME: I wasn’t for a few years but now I’m getting involved again ‘cause my whole family moved to the eastern townships in Québec so to uproot my family and replant the roots again I kind of called it quits for a few years. CHRIS NORMAN: Yeah, I know that feeling, I haven’t done that quite yet though. So, in case you don’t know Pascal, he’s one of the leading figures in Québécois music. And he’s toured the world and taught worldwide [with] Yann Falquet and with his trio Gentecorum. And Pascal tell us a little bit about how you got started, I know you have some background in composition and guitar playing as well. PASCAL GEMME: Yeah, yeah, I studied arrangement, big band arrangements at school. But before that traditional music was in my family. And uh, my grandfather was a fiddler, my father sang, was singing songs, and uh my mother was always singing in the house. So, when I was, I think I was, I don’t know, I was 4 or 5, I started asking for a fiddle and they were like “No, no, no. No no, No no, we’ll let him ask a little bit for a few years and see if he forgets about it.” But I did not and here I am 46 years later. CHRIS NORMAN: So, you had a long relationship with the guitar as well, is that still part of your musical life? PASCAL GEMME: It was not for a long, long time, for 20 years I almost didn’t touch it, but for the last 18 months I’ve been playing more guitar than fiddle, so it’s coming back with a vengeance. CHRIS NORMAN: Oh fantastic! I look forward to hearing some of that. Now with your arranging and composition, particularly with the big band stuff did you have anything to do with the arrangements for La Bottine? PASCAL GEMME: Ah no no, but I found out about La Bottine when I was, uh, studying big band arrangements. Like, I knew I liked that music … I don’t know if uh … if some people who, if you remember MuchMusic. CHRIS NORMAN: Yea, yea. PASCAL GEMME: So, they had a few videos on MuchMusic and uh, I didn’t know it was La Bottine Souriante. It was just, “Oh, I really like that music,” and eventually when, while I was studying big band arrangements one of the, actually the arranger for La Bottine Souriante was in the big band that I was writing for. CHRIS NORMAN: Is tha
TRANSCRIPT CHRIS NORMAN: Hi, I’m Chris Norman and you’re listening to Boxwood’s Artist Huddle – Conversations. Our August 15 2020 Artist Huddle, featured the Irish flute player Tara Diamond to talk about her influences and life-long passion for traditional Irish music on the flute and whistle. Later on, she’s joined by her husband Dermy Diamond for a few tunes. So, Tara I wondered if you could tell me a little bit about how you got started? You’re originally from County Down and I’m curious about that moment when you first heard the flute, or heard the whistle, heard traditional music and what that looked like and how you got your start? TARA DIAMOND: My father was a flute player, flute and whistle player, so it was really from listening to him. I didn’t want to learn the flute at all, I wanted to learn the pipes. You know when I began to listen to music and realized, found out about the different instruments, the pipes were the ones that appealed to me the most. I play left-handed and it was really difficult in those days to pick up a left-handed practice set, and also very expensive. So, I just ended up with a flute because there was a flute in the house. CHRIS NORMAN: Right, so did you Dad play left-handed as well, Tara? TARA DIAMOND: No, he didn’t, he played right-handed. CHRIS NORMAN: Uh-huh, was that an issue when you got started? Did he ever try to steer you in a right-handed direction? TARA DIAMOND: No, he said the way you take it up, the way you lift it up should be the way you play it. He didn’t correct me, and I didn’t have a teacher as such, um, he used to write tunes out and sort of insist that we learn them, myself and my brothers. But none of us read music so he would give us the ABCs or he would give us a recording on a tape, on a big reel-to-reel tape recorder to learn from. We didn’t learn tunes directly from him, he just encouraged us to learn at that stage. CHRIS NORMAN: That’s fantastic. And you bumped shoulders with some legends of traditional Irish music in the north there, Paddy Tyrrell. TARA DIAMOND: Paddy Tyrrell – we pronounce it ter’-el – he used to come play in our house when we were young and he gave me lots of pointers because my Dad was only really a few steps ahead of us all, and Paddy was more advanced, and he played jazz on the silver flute as well. CHRIS NORMAN: Right, he’s a name that you come across regularly but there aren’t many recordings of him, so tell me a little bit about his playing. TARA DIAMOND: He played traditional music but it really wasn’t really, you know, it was on the silver flute so he probably was a bit restricted in the ornamentation and that wasn’t the same ornamentation as I would do on the wooden flute. But he did teach me how to do rolls when I was about 14, 13 and I couldn’t get the hang of them at all, and he sat down with me one day and showed me what to do that that was a huge benefit, a huge help. And he also told me to practice breathing exercises on the floor, lying on the floor with a book on my stomach … CHRIS NORMAN: [Laughs] That one has gone the world around, hasn’t it? With opera singers and flute players and… And who else did you come into contact with early on with? TARA DIAMOND: Cathal McConnell came to stay at the house several times. Tom McHale, who’s a whistle player who’s no longer with us. CHRIS NORMAN: Yes, of course everyone know
From our August 31 2020 Artist Huddle with Yann Falquet. TRANSCRIPT CHRIS NORMAN: Hi, I’m Chris Norman and you’re listening to Boxwood’s Artist Huddle – Conversations. Our August 31 2020 Artist Huddle featured the brilliant Québécois guitarist and singer Yann Falquet. Yann and I chatted about his career spanning jazz, Irish, and Québécois music, his work with Genticorum, the McDades, and many other collaborators. And he shared some beautiful arrangements of traditional songs from Québec. I began asking about his start studying jazz and visual arts. YANN FALQUET: One of my teachers kind of turned me onto jazz and I thought that’s a really good avenue, a direction to take with guitar and that’s what led me to, when it was time to actually go to college, to go into jazz. So, I went to Concordia University in Montreal. They had a program that I could get in to. I actually did visual arts for a year in college before switching to jazz, and went through my three years and that was really the culmination of my jazz career. I went up to college and as I was there my interests just dove, and I discovered Irish sessions about that same time so that could be linked. CHRIS NORMAN: Yann, is that when you started playing with the McDades? YANN FALQUET: Well, it was a few years after that. Also, they are from Alberta and a bunch of them moved to Montreal to go to McGill. So, a different college, and they also went to jazz school. So, I think they knew when they were looking for a guitar player, “Oh Yann plays Celtic music but he’s also done some jazz, so it could be a good match.” It was a few years after I was done with school, I had not done jazz for a few years and had started to play with a few trad bands by then. Amazing musicians. So versatile musicians, fantastic jazz musicians who also played Celtic music since they were kids playing with family bands. CHRIS NORMAN: After that, you began the Genticorum project, is that right? After the McDades? YANN FALQUET: It was in fact before the McDades. I had started with Genticorum, I had started in 2000, and this is the 20 anniversary of Genticorum this year. CHRIS NORMAN: Wow YANN FALQUET: Yes, we had a bunch of concerts planned for that, which are not happening. We just did a very similar kind of Zoom meeting call with the three current members, one past member – Alex – and an interviewer who interviewed us and it will be put into some kind of short documentary with bits of archive footage and photos. Which you guys will all be able to see I think, at some point, maybe in September. So, we’re celebrating that. We started in 2000 and I remember it was maybe 2000 and 2 or 3 when the McDades reached out to me, and I started to tour with them, but it was a weird situation because I had my band, my own band that I started with my friends and even though the McDades were far more advanced musicians and advanced in their careers and really knew how the business worked. And as soon as I started to play with them, you know, I had to buy a flight case for my guitar. I remember very well, I ordered it from Myhres Music in Edmonton, one of these thick Calton cases. Because I had to fly with them, I had never flown with my guitar. And it was great, it felt very professional, but at the same time, my band, I had to make a decision at some point. To play full time with them or with my group and it was a gamble that I would leave the really good, advanced band and go with my band that was picking up slowly, and I knew that would work at some point a
On July 21, 2020, we had a visit with one of the all-time greats of Breton music, and perennial favorite at Boxwood, Jean-Michel Veillon. Transcript A transcript will follow shortly.
TRANSCRIPT CHRIS NORMAN: Hi, I’m Chris Norman and you’re listening to Boxwood’s Artist Huddle – Conversations. Our August 31 2020 Artist Huddle featured the brilliant Québécois guitarist and singer Yann Falquet. Yann and I chatted about his career spanning jazz, Irish, and Québécois music, his work with Genticorum, the McDades, and many other collaborators. And he shared some beautiful arrangements of traditional songs from Québec. I began asking about his start studying jazz and visual...