It was Kobo Town’s live outdoor performance in Montreal in 2017 that inspired me to compose Upbeat. That July evening was perfect in so many respects. The weather cooperated, the audience was fully engaged, and if you were close to the stage, as I was, the music totally enveloped you and the beat resounded in your chest.Read More
Imagine being told that one of your legs will have to be amputated because of a wound that won't heal, as can sometimes be the case with diabetes. You then have a series of daily treatments where you lie in a clear acrylic chamber and receive pure oxygen at slightly higher than atmospheric pressure. Afterwards you are told that your wound has healed and your leg will not have to be amputated after all. Can you imagine the relief?Read More
We just celebrated Canada’s 150th year and we count ourselves lucky that we live here. Nevertheless, we can always improve, and here are three New Year’s resolutions I would like to see Canada adopt...Read More
Not far from Ypres, Belgium, lies Tyne Cot Cemetery, where more than 11,900 soldiers are buried. Of these, over 8,000 are unknown.
My wife and I visited Tyne Cot Cemetery in June of this year, while travelling to some Canadian World War I battle sites in Europe with the organization True Patriot Love. It was a very moving experience. On arrival, we were all given a fresh red rose and then we dispersed individually throughout the cemetery.
There was a piano where she lived. I was in my early 20s and I would pay a visit every now and then and play for her. She was somewhere between 50 and 60 years older than I, and she had spent her whole working life in Canada, having arrived here as a young girl from Finland. Despite the time spent in Canada, Finland remained her true home and I knew at some point she wanted to return there.
I would run through a whole bunch of tunes on the piano, whether or not she knew them, and then at some point I would play the hymn from Finlandia. If there is a more beautiful national song anywhere in the world, I haven’t run across it. It is one of the most moving pieces of music I know. Sibelius knew what he was doing.Read More
The make of watch I’m wearing ends with “EX,” but begins with “TIM”, not “ROL.” The difference in the prefix saved me a bundle of money! I’ve had this Timex for many years and the light colour is where the silver coating has worn off, but it has never let me down. Whether or not your watch is reliable, however, don’t you find that time just seems to evaporate these days? Why is there so little spare time? Why are we constantly so busy? I have a few theories.Read More
One of the best music reviews I have ever received was written by Francesco Emmanuel in 2005, when he was with The Muse’s Muse. His photograph appeared with the review and I remember thinking at the time that it reflected a real decency. The kind of decency you would one day like to meet in person.
It turned out that among other things Cesco, as he is also known, was a very accomplished and versatile guitarist and some time later he emailed me to say that if at some point I wanted guitar accompaniment with my music he would be interested. I immediately called him to discuss possibilities and we talked about what compositions might be suitable.Read More
It’s fun to let your imagination run loose, to “work backwards” and deduce something just from personal experience, without knowing the facts first hand. For example, I could say that the makers of some processed foods don’t want you to know what’s in them. Why would I deduce that? Because why else would they print the ingredients in a size of font that’s so difficult to read?Read More
Most of us know Hans Christian Andersen’s wonderful story The Emperor’s New Clothes. We chuckle visualizing the Emperor with great fanfare proudly strutting through the streets totally naked, convinced that he’s wearing the most magnificent finery ever made. We find it hard to imagine that he was persuaded that the clothes actually existed.Read More
If you were walking through the woods on a summer’s day and you came across this little door in a tree, what would you do? Would you try to open it? What would you expect to find?Read More