Musical Spaces celebrates unsung Canadian musicians in the places that they write and play music. These artists aren’t world famous YET – they don’t have a place on Spotify’s top 10 playlists, they don’t make a lot of money, and they sometimes play to five people in a cafe. But that doesn’t discourage them from creating their art.
In this ten-part digital series, our audience will discover ten brilliant British Columbia-based musicians and hear their songs performed in their personal creative spaces.
…and those creative spaces can be as interesting as the musician. One is a master instrumentalist from Vietnam whose house takes us back to her country. Another is a musician living in a tiny space that is almost entirely filled with a grand piano and another has built his home into a recording studio. The spaces themselves tell a story.
Musical Spaces combines the poignant and not-quite-candid street portraits of “Humans of New York” and the live casual feel of “Tiny Desk Concerts” to create an intriguing look at the inner life of ten extraordinary Canadian musicians.
Music stands alongside language and art as a salient and long-lasting expression of distinct cultures worldwide. Music may differ from region to region, but it has always brought people together.
Musical Spaces will film Canadian musicians in their personal spaces, where they feel the most creative. Where they write and breathe music. Where they have parties and play for their friends. Where they sit for hours writing a song. Each five-minute episode is a reflection of who they are, and what’s important to them – all while they play the songs and instruments that they love.
This project profiles artists who perform music that has been in Canada for centuries, as well as musicians who are creating innovative new styles that are changing the Canadian musical landscape. Musical Spaces will produce a snapshot of vernacular music and Canadian culture as it exists today.
Playing songs for other people is what has kept musical traditions alive for millennia. As traditional skills, languages, and customs begin to fade, preservation and archiving of these cultural identities becomes crucial.
Musical Spaces shows that music happens everywhere and that you don’t need a stage to be a musician, you just need to have a passion for creating and playing music.
Cultural diversity of Musical Spaces
Musical Spaces showcases the diversity of Canadian musicians while also focusing on the personal spaces in which they play. Our artists originate from varied communities, genres, ages and backgrounds including Southeast Asia, Indigenous, Syrian and Romanian. These are the people who breathe life into Canada’s musical diversity.
This 10-part series will be comprised of five-minute episodes – each one focusing on one musician. The episodes will bring elements of live performance music videos and documentary-style interviews that will provide a powerful window into the musical world of each musician. Each musical performance will be recorded multiple times by our DOP so that we can create a multi-camera experience for the audience – alternating between wide, medium and close-ups of the featured musician. The performance space will also be a feature of the music performance. Details of the musician’s space – photos of the wall, curtain’s blowing in the wind, unique ornaments on mantles, cats sitting on piano keys, will form a visual landscape of each musician’s creative spaces. The song being performed will tie it all together and short interviews clips will provide the context to the musician’s musical performance as well as biographical notes.
We will have an audio technician on every shoot to ensure that the audio recording will be of the highest quality.
Musical Spaces will feature sophisticated musicians who have an interesting and unique story to tell, and are masters of their instruments, like Khac Chai. Over 10 years ago, Khac Chai came from Vietnam to play at the Vancouver Folk Music festival. She was pregnant at the time, but unfortunately, she lost the baby while here in Canada. The music community banded together and crowdfunded to pay for the $10,000 hospital bill. This was one of the reasons she and her husband chose to become Canadian citizens. She’s a master of the Vietnamese Zither, and her home makes you feel as if you were visiting her in Vietnam. She tells her story and plays for us one of her most personal songs.
Meshe Mooette is another musician featured on Musical Spaces. She lives in a tiny coach house in east Vancouver – so small you can jump from one side to the other. Her grand piano leaves little room for even a table and two chairs. People like Meshe and Khac are creating music without the recognition, but they continue writing because it’s in their souls.
Musical Spaces not only iterates traditional forms but also revitalizes and develops new expressions for a future generation of players, like Corwin Fox. Corwin is a Canadian songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist who has been hailed as “a shining light in Canadian roots music”. He lives in Courtney, has a recording studio in his home and is tapped into musicians from all over Canada. His music is powerful, fun and tells his unique story of being Canadian, of how he sees the world. And he is a killer musician.
Chris Derkson is an Indigenous cellist/composer known for building layers of sound into captivating performances. She has a loyal following who appreciate how her music weaves her traditional classical training and her Aboriginal ancestry with new school electronics, creating genre-defying music. Originally from Northern Alberta, her father’s side of the family consists of a long line of chiefs from North Tall Cree nation, and a line of strong Mennonite homesteaders on her mother’s side.
Then we have Katheryn Petersen, who lives and breathes the accordion in a house filled with writings and books. Her home is something you might imagine from a children’s storybook.
These stories live inside our country. These musicians are relatively unknown, but they’re still dedicated to writing, learning and playing music for all Canadians.
Each 5-minute video begins with a brief interview with the featured musician who will answer these three questions:
- Why is this song important?
- Who taught you this song or did you write it?
- Is this song written down? Or do you learn it by ear?
Musical Spaces will highlight Canadians with a unique and dedicated following of music lovers. It will also open the hearts and ears of new music fans.Example of the musical talent being profiled in Musical Spaces
Featured musicians for future segments can include:
- Co Bit / Khac Chai – Vietnamese Zither
- Katheryn Petersen (Accordian and creator of the Accordion Noir Festival)
- Meshe Mooette (Piano)
- Lache Cercel – Gypsy/Jazz Violin (Roma)
- Chris Derkson (Cello Looper)
- Geoff Berner (Accordian)
- Corwin Fox (Guitar and Ukelele)
- Hanna Epperson (Violin Looper)
Lara Kroeker Producer/Director/Writer
Lara is a graduate of Emily Carr University of Art & Design with 15 years of experience creating and developing websites and online projects. Lara combines her talent for aesthetics with a deeply practical tech savvy-ness culminating in beautiful designs with National Geographic quality visual narratives.
Her interest for this project comes from being a performing violin player and singer who has played and toured across Canada and the US with indie groups Attics and Cellars, Sparrow (North America 2007), The Beauticians (Folk Festivals), The Insomniacs and The Mudlarks. She played with K-OS backup on the George Strombolopolis show, played festival stages with the legendary Odetta, performed on Canada Live on CBC Radio 2 with Attics and Cellars and in the Vancouver Philharmonic.
Lara also hosts a yearly live concert series called the Eastside Music Series with musicians from different communities, genres, ages and backgrounds. The songs are recorded with CBC Engineer Derek Bird in one take in her East Vancouver home and later given to the musicians as a gift. This has evolved into many nights of live music that host many of these same musicians. From this diverse musical background Lara is connected to a myriad of musicians from all over Canada.
Lara’s work has been recognized by the Webbies for 5 consecutive years (Hit the Road) and she teaches website workshops in addition to running a web development company.