NL Gazette


Nfld and Labrador

The far-fetched story of how punk music thrived in an otherwise quiet city

Key takeaways: 

  • Punk in the Pearl.
  • If the Pearl was mocked by townies, the bands it produced snickered right back.

How did Mount Pearl evolve so punk?

It’s a tired, suburban city, far from the shore of mainland Canada and anchored in the center of the North Atlantic Ocean.

It’s not quite the set many might think would foster ages of musicians and bands concentrated mainly on a fringe genre of music that burst out of underground scenes in London, New York, and California in the 1970s.

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How did Mount Pearl evolve so punk?

St. John’s, the bigger city to the east, may have had the downtown bars, the university campus, and most venues where bands could play. Still, despite or maybe even because of its tree-lined roads and quiet suburban vibe, the Pearl had the heart and muscle in Newfoundland and Labrador’s punk scene.

If the Pearl was smirked at by townies, the bands it produced sneered straight back.

And now that history is being caught in an arrangement that puts a spotlight on a scene felt legendary by local music lovers, even if it’s also been largely ignored by the public.

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Nfld and Labrador

How the Silver Wolf Band became more confident in their sound

Key takeaways: 

  • The new album There’s No Time was created by Amelia Curran.
  • The Silver Wolf Band are Justin Jackman, Bon Pardy, Jamie Jackman, and Matthew Barrett.

There’s No Time is the fourth album from the Silver Wolf Band, which has been cutting out a following from its base in Labrador. Vocalist and guitar musician Jamie Jackman says the group is “yet at a point where we’re so much more confident of ourselves.”

In an interview with CBC Radio’s Weekend AM, Jackman says listeners will see folk, pop, and rock elements. 

“I think you get a cultivated taste of where we are, where we’re going, and you can still listen to where we’re coming from. I think that’s why we’re so keen regarding this record,” said Jackman.

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There’s No Time is the fourth album from the Silver Wolf Band, which has been cutting out a following from its base in Labrador

Keyboard performer Matt Barrett credits producer Amelia Curran for making the group “in many new and thrilling directions” in writing and vocals.

Barrett said they were initially shocked that Curran wanted to help them make a record, and they were delighted that she came on board.

“She’s just a treasure to this region. She’s such a gifted person and such a sweet individual. And actually, I believe it made a big difference,” said Barrett. 

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St. John’s musician Pete believes that we should all be calm and listen to good lullaby.

St. John’s musicians, who allow Pete to record a collection of lullabies, are a rare choice for their debut album by musicians in their twenties. 

Lullabies for Theo is a collection of gentle acoustic songs designed to bring babies and toddlers to sleep.

 “That’s the exact opposite of what I feel in my life right now,” Pete said. “Everyone feels very stressed, burned out, scared and worried …. [Album] is for everyone to listen, take a deep breath and calm down.”

Pete, also known as Peter McDonald, grew up in St. John’s, a family devoted to performing arts. 

His parents, Peter McDonald and Ronauda Hatton McDonald, run a music theater production company. 

Peter McDonald Jr. has been singing and playing on stage since he was 5 years old. 

McDonald is currently starting his own career in performing arts, focusing primarily on music in his band With Violet and his own solo career.

Inspired by children 

The music for Theo was motivated by the babies and toddlers in MacDonald’s circle among family and friends.

MacDonald said that it is fascinating energy created while children are involved in singing and creating magic through their innocent.

Pete and his musical collaborators – Spencer Fitzgerald, Sarah Newell, and her mother – listened to a variety of children’s, singer-songwriters, and acoustic folk music to develop their collection of songs and their soothing singing.

Not very comfortable 

So does playing a song to follow make Pete relax and get ready for a nap? 

“It makes me nervous,” says MacDonald. “I’m still thinking about all the work that’s needed. But I hope that one day it will calm me down.”

Read More: St. John’s musician ‘Pete’ thinks we should all calm down and listen to a good lullaby | CBC News

Canadian healthcare workers are seeking more protection from harassment and threats.

Comedy, classical music Christmas super weekend coming to NACC

The Northern Arts and Cultural Centre will host a double-act, super weekend of comedy and classical music on Dec. 12-13. 

Although the Ever Late Show: Christmas Edition! comedy event and the Gryphon Trio Celebrate Beethoven@250 Watch Party events are catered to different audiences, NACC executive director Marie Coderre said she’s trying to cater to as wide an audience as possible leading up to the holiday season.Advertisement

Martin Rehak, right, throws flowers to the crowd with Skye Plowman at a summer performance at the Willideh traditional site. Baby Brian Weadick performs in the background. Rehak and Plowman will be back on Dec. 12 for a Christmas comedy show. 

“We’re trying to target two different crowds and we tried to find programs that could really satisfy local audiences with laughter while also celebrating a big composer,” Coderre said.

Tickets are now on sale for the Ever Late Show: Christmas Edition, to be held on Dec. 12 at 1 p.m. The event will feature Martin Rehak and JD and a lineup of comedians. 

Rehak, 36, has been part of NACC’s mentorship program for more than a year and has been among the Yellowknife-based arts performers building a community of comedians in town, said Coderre. 

“I think that during the pandemic, we really need to laugh right now and we really need funny content,” she said. “We are used to having music shows for Christmas and stuff like that, but I think  a parody comedy show around Christmas will be quite different and quite relevant in these unprecedented times.”

Marie Coderre, executive and artistic director of the Northern Arts and Cultural Centre (NACC), has organized a weekend of comedy and classical music on Dec. 12-13 to reach a broad audience ahead of the holiday season.
NNSL file photo.

The lineup will also feature comedians Skye Plowman and Emily Blake, a brief appearance by Tom Parker and other surprise acts.

The musical guest is Ryan McCord and there will also be a special appearance by David Thomas Micheal. 

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, there are only 50 spots available for the live act in the cultural centre. However, the event will be broadcast via Facebook and Northwestel later that day at 7:30 p.m. 

All sales will be online as the box office is closed and people who attend are asked to take public health precautions. 

Coderre said the show will be a Christmas-based parody and viewers are advised there could be adult content involved. 

NACC hosted a Martin Rehak event in August at the Willideh stage and he said that audiences can expect a similar performance.

“It will be like a late-night talk show format with multimedia and local acts with some silly bits in-between and sketches,” he explained. “The one at Willideh was the first of its kind that we had done and this is the next installment as a Christmas edition.”

Gryphon Trio

The same weekend will also feature a virtual concert by the Gryphon Trio on Dec. 13 at 3 p.m.  to mark the 250th birthday of musical composer Beethoven.

One of Canada’s most celebrated classical music trios, the Gryphon Trio comprises pianist Jamie Parker, cellist Roman Borys and violinist Annalee Patipatanakoon. 

Tickets are also on sale for that event. The show will include a pre-recorded performance of Beethoven’s G Major Piano Trio Op. 1, No. 2 and the Piano Trio in Bb Major, Op. 97, nicknamed the “Archduke.” 

The Gryphon Trio will be holding a virtual concert on Dec. 13. Ticket-holders will be able to participate in a question-and-answer session with the classical Canadian musicians.
photo courtesy of the Gryphon Trio official website

The event will only be seen via screen, exclusively for ticket-holders.

“All the classical music lovers will love that show and we’ll have a chance to talk to the members afterwards,” Coderre said. “I will be on stage with them on the screen and we will have a discussion and the audience will be able to ask questions. “

She said that show will be a reunion of sorts as the Gryphon Trio have toured in the NWT in the past, the last time being December 2016 as part of the Broken Hearts and Madmen Project.

“So yes, it’s good just going to be a reunion with the Gryphon Trio who have been an important asset for the community here and who have done so much for the Northwest Territories,” she said. “I’m sure they will be thrilled to to see a few patrons even though it will be just 50 people.”