2019 Global Soundscapes Festival opens May 31st.

The Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra’s (VICO) presents the 2019 Global Soundscapes Festival from May 31st to June 13th. A celebration of the intersection of Canadian cultures with musical traditions from all over the world through the creation and performance of intercultural music. 

VICO Orchestra

This year’s Festival, themed Chrysanthemums & Maple Leaves – celebrates Japanese & Canadian intercultural music.  VICO welcomes international guests Naomi Sato (sho), Harrie Starreveld (shakuhachi), Miyama Tokita-McQueen(koto), and Yuji Nakagawa (sarangi). The guests will perform alongside other esteemed musicians, composers, and guest ensembles from BC’s vibrant contemporary classical and world music scenes.

Naomi Sato photo: Robin Wong

The Global Soundscapes Festival features eleven concerts, many free, taking place at the Waterfront Theatre, plus other Vancouver venues, with a special concert performance in Ucluelet, BC.  The festival presents a rich diversity of intercultural works, unique collaborations and world premieres. Featured concerts include “Debris”, a new mini-opera by Rita Uedainspired by the 2011 tsunami and the debris that washed up along the west coast of North America, a special evening where the sounds and instruments of Japan mingle with those of India, a musical showcase co-presented with the Powell Street Festival Society, a gala evening featuring both world and Canadian premieres – and so much more!

Miyama McQueen-Tokita photo: Masanori Yoshie

From tradition to cutting edge innovation, the 2019 festival promises a stunning smorgasbord of sounds and rhythms with inspired connections across continents, cultures and centuries. 

 The Global Soundscapes Festival runs May 31 to June 13, 2019 at venue around Vancouver, plus Ucluelet. For full festival line-up and ticket details visit vi-co.org

40th Vancouver Folk Music Festival plays July 13 – 16, 2017

For the 40th season, the Vancouver Folk Music Festival will once again take over Jericho Beach Park. From July 13th to 16th folk fans, friends and families, will find another remarkable line-up of the best of traditional and contemporary folk and roots music from around the globe.

In celebration of its 40th Anniversary, Canada 150+, and Canada’s diverse songbook, the Folk Music Festival kicks off Thursday July 13th with a free concert; Canada Far & Wide: Grands Esprit.   Today’s artists interpret and perform iconic Canadian songs by the Anglo, Francophone, and Indigenous artists who paved the way for them.  Carolyn Marks performs Spirit of the West’s Home For A Rest, Katie Moore plays Gordon Lightfoot’s Song For A Winter’s Night, Jim Byrnes, a legend in his own right, interprets River by Joni Mitchell.  Buffy Sainte Marie’s Universal Soldier is brought to the stage by Cris Derksen while Women In The Round perform Susan Aglukark’s O Siem, and Kastin’s Tshinau (what we all are) is remade by Mélisande (électrotrad), Cris Derksen and The Funk Hunters.

After an amazing opening night, the Folk Music Festival really gets moving with 50+ artists taking to the stages all day, Friday (1pm – 11pm), Saturday and Sunday (9am – 11pm).  To highlight just a few, Englishman Billy Bragg and American Joe Henry duet on Friday’s stage, Canadians Kathleen Edwards and Barenaked Ladies feature on Saturday while Shawn Colvin and The Revivalists bring their Southern roots to Sunday’s Main Stage.

There’s more than just music at the Folk Music Festival too, Little Folks Village has activities and entertainment for the young fans. The Artisan Market and Folk Bazaar brings dozens of merchants and their offerings to the shores of Jericho Beach.  Of course, no modern festival would be complete without a plethora of food trucks and dining options.

For the full line-up of Vancouver Folk Music Festival artists, merchants and ticketing information visit thefestival.bc.ca online

Vancouver Chinatown Spring Festival Parade

Thousands of specators braved the rain to line the streets of Chinatown to watch the Chinese New Year Parade and help usher in the Year of the Rabbit.
Featuring the largest assembly of traditional Lion Dance teams in Canada, the Parade winds its way through Pender, Main and Keefer Streets in the heart of Vancouver’s Chinatown.  Organized by various Chinatown community organizations the whole parade has a very community vs commercial feel to it. Full of cultural spectacles and tradition; Lion Dancers, Flag Troupes, Family Benevolent Societies and Martial Arts teams.
Corporate entries are few and do not have the flashy, big budget entries as in other Vancouver parades. It’s great to see all ages participate in the parade, young cadets and junior lion dancers are marching and dancing along side troupes of seniors waving flags or performing traditional dances. 
While it may not build the same anticipation as having a man in a Red Suit wrapping it up like the Santa Claus parade this event has plenty of sights and sounds to entertain the family.  Firecrackers, colourful banners, flags and costumes compete with the vibrant Lion and Dragon costumes. The estimated crowd of 50,000 keeps the whole of Chinatown a buzz, even after the parade finishes, as the shops and attractions like Dr Sun Yat Sen Gardens and Park feature special events and activities.