Vancouver is one of the hotspots in Canada. The city has become a magnet for a thriving Asian community, primarily Chinese. It has also attracted creative individuals from Canada and the neighboring United States of America. The world music scene in Vancouver is strong, represented by world music artists, booking agents, record labels and distributors, the Vancouver Folk Festival and several other venues.
A group of world music artists have come together to form the Vancouver World Music Collective (VWMC), a non-profit organization to promote their music and the city internationally. And Vancouver now has the new Gandharva Loka World Music Instruments store at 1650 Johnston Street on Granville Island.
There are many private promoters in different communities who present everything from revered classical artists based in Iran and India to major Bollywood stars and Hong Kong pop icons who fill sports stadiums. There are outstanding artists from many of the world's traditions living and working in Vancouver in traditional ensembles but the real soundtrack of the city is trans-cultural. For more than 30 years, artists have dedicated themselves to learning about each other's traditions and creating new music that reflects life in a city where identity is a process, not a legacy.
Vancouver is notable for its mix between classically trained composers and world music, some of which dates back to a professor in the music dept at UBC who introduced Asian instrumentation into composition. Mark Armanini, a student from that department is a local composer known for such work and has released a CD, Green and Gold. There is also a large ensemble known as the Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra (VICO), which is difficult to fund, but VICO has been giving a series of talks at the main library branch in the evenings about this mixture of traditions.
Vancouver has attractive ethnic neighborhoods. For information about its large Chinatown, go to http://www.Vancouver-chinatown.com. The Punjabi Market is a five-block section of Main Street. It is the center of commerce and culture for Vancouver's large Indian population. You can find bhangra and other forms of Indian and Pakistani music. Address: Main and 49th Street, Vancouver, BC.
For events listing, one of the best sources is Georgia Straight. To get around, check the Translink Web site to find out about public buses, SkyTrain & SeaBus schedules.
Zulu Records has everything an independent record store should be and then some.
HMV (formerly Virgin) Megastore has a small selection of folk and world music upstairs. Address: 788 Burrard. Phone: 669-2289.
St. James Community Hall serves as the main venue for the Rogue Folk Club.
Rogue Folk Club also presents regular concerts at Capilano College Theatre for the Performing Arts in North Vancouver - The Cap Folk & Roots Series, co-sponsored with Cap College and the Vancouver Folk Music Festival.
Chai Gallery is a hub of world music, dance and film artists who come together in the spirit of celebration and service.
Wolf & Hound pub hosts music sessions and / or concerts most nights.
Kay Meek Centre for the Performing Arts.
The Vancouver Folk Music Festival is one of the biggest and best in North America.
TD Canada Trust Vancouver International Jazz Festival, brings in generous dollops of blues, Latin jazz, fusion, and world music each June and throughout the year.
CBC Radio Two is the English-language music radio service of Canada's national public broadcaster, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
CBC Radio Two (105.7 FM in Vancouver) has ”Canada Live”, a national concert program hosted by regional hosts from across Canada. The program “Canada Live” airs concerts, mostly by Canadian musicians, and from a wide variety of musical genres. “Canada Live” airs every night from 8 PM to 10 PM local times.
Radio-Canada (Espace-Musique, 90.9FM) has Ici Vancouver, hosted by Andre Rheaume. world music and jazz. Monday to Thursday, 5:00 - 7:00pm. It also has Musique du Monde, with host Ginette Bellavance. Monday - Friday, 10:00am to noon).
FM 96.1 has several world music shows, including: African Vibes, Saturday 11am-1pm; Latino Soy (Weekdays: 11:00-1:00 pm) and Celt in a Twist, Monday-Friday 7-8am. Address : A1-525 West Broadway, Vancouver, Canada, V5Z 4K5. Phone: (604) 708-1234. E-mail: general at fm961.com.
CiTR 101.9 FM is the broadcasting voice of the University of British Columbia. Reaching over two million listeners, its signal reverberates from Point Grey east to Langley, north to Squamish and south to its neighbors in Bellingham, Washington (USA). The Edge On Folk is on Saturdays from 8am to noon. Available on the net too at http://www.citr.ca. The first hour is African music, the second hour is roots music from around the world. Hours 3 and 4 include concert guides, live guests, new releases etc. in a variety of genres especially Celtic, Bluegrass, and some singer songwriters. There are plenty of other roots music shows on CiTR as well.
CFRO 102.7 is Vancouver's Cooperative Radio Station with some excellent roots music programming.
Channel M (Cable 8 in Vancouver) has:
- World.Beats: a diverse hour of leading-edge global music videos, interviews, features, news, and interviews with top world music artists (Saturdays at 10:00 pm; Sundays at 2:00 pm).
- Viva! (Sundays 7:00pm, and 11:00pm); A high-quality multi-arts, multi-cultural show produced by baljit sangra & veeno dewan Vivamantra films inc. profiling local and visiting artists: performing arts, visual arts, fashion, food, etc.
Jericho Beach Music, owned by Festival Distribution, provides an outlet for top quality Canadian releases, usually with a strong worldbeat flavor. Address: 1351 Grant Street, Vancouver, BC V5L 2×7, Canada. Phone: 604.253.2662, Fax: 604.253.2634. General inquiries: fdi at festival.bc.ca.
Nettwerk. Address: 1650 West 2nd Avenue, Vancouver, BC V6J 4R3. Phone: 604-654-1993, 604-654-2929. E-mail: info at nettwerk.com
Prussin Music at Broadway and Dunbar has a large music school for roots music.
Gandhharva Loka - World Music Instruments specializes in musical instruments from around the world
Rufus' Guitar Shop sells new and used instruments. It also handles repairs.
Not Just Another Music Store has guitars and vintage amps.
Long & McQuade provides p.a. rentals, sells instruments and recording equipment.
Ward Music are sheet music specialists. they also sell new and used instruments.
Tom Lee Music is a music megastore.
This guide was compiled with information provided by Steve Edge (Edge on Folk), Robert Benaroya (Caravan World Rhythms Society), Ian Menzies, Ellie O'Day (O'Day Productions), Dugg Simpson (Vancouver Folk Music Festival), Angel Romero (World Music Central), and The Folk Alliance.
Photos: 1 - Vancouver. 2 - Vancouver Folk Music Festival, courtesy of Vancouver Folk Music Festival
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