History of Canadian Western Music

The Canadian hip hop began in the early 1980’s. The rise of hip-hop in Canada coincided with the rise of hip hop in America, but, unlike American hip hop, it remained underground for nearly 20 years. Canadian hip hop bloomed throughout the 80’s, but was never able to elevate past the underground scene, due to a lack of urban themed Canadian radio stations and a lack of infrastructure to promote such music. In 1989, Maestro’s “Let Your Backbone Slide” became the first Canadian hip-hop song to reach the national Top 40, and remained the highest selling Canadian hip-hop song until 2008, when Canadian Kardinal Offishall teamed with American artist, Akon, to release “Dangerous”.

During the 1990’s, there were two flunked attempts made by Milestone Radio to apply for an urban music station in Toronto. This failure, fused with few major hip-hop record deals, led to hip-hop remaining underground for some time. Urban Music Association of Canada was founded in 1996, and their main aim was to promote Canadian hip hop acts.

1998 was a good start for hip-hop scene in Canada. The Rascalz, a hip hop band from Canada, conflated with some of the emerging talents, including Kardinal Offishall, to record “Northern Touch”- a single which broke into the Top 10 in most major markets. In that year, the Rascalz’s albumn, Cash Crop, won a Juno Award for Best Rap Recording- an award presented off-camera.

In 2000, the Canadian Radio-television Telecommunication Commission (CRTC) was issued an Order-in-Council by the federal cabinet, directing it to give preference to radio station applications that related to the multicultural diversity of Toronto. This lead to Milestone Radio finally being accepted for an urban format station in Toronto. In 2001, CFXJ became the first Canadian Urban radio station.

Kardinal Offishall was the first hip-hop artist from Canada, make use of the new Canadian and satellite Urban radio market to strike it big. His song, “Dangerous”, a duet with American rapper Akon reached number 5 on the Billboard Hot 100. Canadian rapper, Drake, was the first Canadian hip hop superstar. Drake has had 5 songs crack the Canadian Hot 100 and 11 songs crack the Billboard Hot 100, since 2009.

Canadian Western Musicians

If you’re a young musician wanting to break into the world of the West End theatre orchestras, where do you start?

It is impossible to walk into a West End pit job (or “hold a chair”) with no previous experience. Therefore, your first task is to deputise for the existing players in a show.

It may come as a surprise that players who hold a chair would need a deputy. You might expect a chair holder to play at all performances, but there is an unwritten rule that says that players can take some shows off. It might be because they have other commitments, taken on before being offered the show. I first depped in the West End because the keyboard player in the show Me and My Girl was also the assistant musical director, and needed to conduct at least one show a week.

If you want to deputise as a musical theatre pit musician, put yourself in the mindset of the orchestral player you want to work for. If a musical theater orchestral player needs a dep (and they do, quite frequently), there are at least seven things they look for in a musician.

1. Can you do the job? The West End is the highest arena for orchestral pit playing in musical theatre. The players are, without exception, extremely good at what they do. Are you up to the standard of everyone else? When you hit the West End, everyone expects you to be able to play the notes in time, in tune and in style – that’s a given. You need to demonstrate that you can play the instruments, play the music and fit in with the existing ensemble with the minimum of fuss.

2. Will you get on with the other players? Bear in mind that the musician you’re depping for will not be there when you work in the pit. If in your first performance as a dep, you annoy the people around you, you won’t be asked again. Getting on with your colleagues is as vital as getting on with your sponsoring musician. Will you fit into the social structure? The job is as important in the off-duty moments as the playing moments. If you can show that to the musician you’re depping for, you’re half way there.

3. Can you sightread superbly? You’ll probably be sightreading or reading music at very short notice – make sure you can do this (and count the bars rest of course). Most budding deputies in the West End begin by sitting next to the sponsoring musician in the pit once or twice. They then dep the following day, or later that week, or occasionally a month later. When you’re sitting in the pit next to your sponsoring musician, notice the difficult or exposed entries or the solos. Your playing will be judged on those later!

4. Does the fixer know you? West End theatre musicians are ALWAYS employed by an MU-approved orchestral fixer. It isn’t possible to work as a musician in a West End show otherwise (in fact, it’s illegal). Therefore you have to be known not only to the player but to the fixer as well. Check out the list of fixers (the Musicians’ Union can give you a list), and contact them too. If the fixer hears about you from different sources (personal approach or recommendation by another player), you’re more likely to get a foot onto the dep ladder. In my own case as a pianist, things were slightly different in that I got my name around without a fixer as a solo and rehearsal pianist – but once I got onto two fixers’ books, I was in work for six years without playing for anyone else.

5. Do you know the show, the style, the feel of the music? It’s not only competitive, the jobs are RARE! Do anything you can to know more than the other potential deputies. Take every opportunity can to see the shows you are interested in (and those you’re not), get to know the music, the style, the players. When I first worked on Les Miserables, I was asked back because I’d spent time learning the show before I arrived on the first day, and I knew it better than any other dep they’d had before.

6. What is your playing like? The sponsoring musician needs to know your playing. You’re up against other potential deps who have probably been taught by the chair holders themselves. The chair holder already has knowledge of their playing ability and their personality. Rather than taking your instrument in to a show and asking someone to hear you, booking a lesson from the resident player might be a good move. A coaching session or two on pieces, techniques and (maybe) pit-playing advice would give the player a chance to hear and work with you (and be paid for it).

7. It’s essential that you play a range of instruments. Almost all woodwind pit parts are for doubling and trebling, and if you can do flute, picc, sax AND clarinet, you’ve got a headstart. Even with the traditional musicals like Oklahoma, the wind parts are for treblers (usually clarinet/sax/flute, but occasionally for clarinet/bassoon or even flute/oboe).

And finally, expect to do some touring before working on a West End show. It’s a fairly tricky career to break into. I had been touring the UK and Europe for some time gaining experience as a pit performer before I received regular invitations to play in a West End show.

If you are determined, dedication and focus can help you get where you want to be.

Western Music in Canada

The practice of Reiki has helped people relax, overcome stress and get better health since 1922 when it was introduced in Japan by a Japanese Buddhist and has, therefore, been known as an “oriental medicine” by some. However, this form of palm healing has two branches, Traditional Japanese and Western.

Traditional is derived from the original and uses extensive hand movements. Western was introduced to the West by Hawayo Hiromi Takata, a Japanese-American woman born in Hawaii who was able to bring Reiki techniques back home after a trip to Japan where she was healed of several conditions by a doctor who was also a Reiki Grand Master. She returned to Hawaii after being trained in the set hand patterns for internal treatments.

This differs from the Traditional, which uses an intuitive knowledge of where to place the hands. It is also more adapted to healing. The idea is to promote the life force energy, which is flowing through all people, and which encourages health and happiness. Therefore, if the life force energy is low, illness and stress result. The practice of Reiki, while not religious in any form, is rather spiritual. It is a laying on of hands that is a form of channeled healing, a non-invasive technique that eliminates negativity in the body. This then allows the body’s organs to become healthy and function well.

Reiki has been said to aid healing in major illnesses such as heart disease, cancer, even multiple sclerosis, as well as more common ailments like colds, sunburn or sore throats. During treatment, the patient will lie on a massage table or be seated or standing, remaining fully clothed. The Reiki practitioner lays hands in a series of positions on the patient’s body, depending upon the need of the patient. Each hand position is in place for three to ten minutes, with an entire treatment lasting ninety minutes at the most. Patients have reported being extremely relaxed and “glowing”, with a feeling of well being. Reiki treatments usually are done in conjunction with the patient being under the care of a health care professional.

Because Reiki is such a simple technique, anyone can learn the ability to give Reiki treatments, even to themselves if they wish. Reiki teachers are not licensed by any government, but there are certain Reiki centers that license their teachers. Most health insurance companies do not recognize Reiki but there are a few that do.

Tradition of Western Music

Music in the nation of Cambodia has a long and rich history, dating back to the era of the Khmer empire. More recently it has been coloured by western influences, particularly after the demise of the Communist regime in the country. Cambodia is recognized both for its folk and classical compositions as well as its popular music.

The folk music of Cambodia has its roots in ancient times, and is considered to portray Hindu influences in its melodies and structure. The Siem Reap area is well known for its kantrum music which is thought to be derived from Thai tradition. Cambodian music is inseparable from the dance forms of the nation, particularly religious dances which depict myths and legends of the Cambodian tradition. These dances are typically accompanied by a pinpeat orchestra featuring instruments such as the roneat (bamboo xylophone), ching (cymbal), sralay (oboe), pia au (flute), gong (bronze gong), chappay (bass banjo), tro (violin) as well as different kinds of drums.

Each movement performed by the dancer represents a particular idea or thought, or aims to convey a particular message. Classical music and dance in Cambodia were revived in the 1960s by the patronage of Princess Norodom Bopha Devi.

Cambodian popular music has gained a great following in the country, and may be subdivided into the ramkbach and ramvong styles. Ramkbach is affiliated with the folk music of Thailand, while ramvong is identified as slow paced dance music.

Modern music has made strong inroads into the mindsets of Cambodians, particularly the young, with many songs accompanied by a video featuring an actor or actress (or both) dancing and moving their lips as if they were actually singing the song.

Today music is inextricably linked to the popular culture of Cambodia and is a major source of entertainment for the masses. Cambodian music is enthralling and inspiring, and presents a distinctive idea or story to the listener. Renowned Cambodian artistes include Sinn Sisamouth, Pan Ron, Ros Sereysothia, Meng Keo Pichenda, Lour Sarith and Noy Vannet.

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