Everyseeker | May 28-29, 2016
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Steven Baur (Halifax, NS)

Sex, God, and Hard Labour: Toward a Cultural History of the Backbeat

The backbeat is arguably the single most prevalent element in popular music since the 1950s, yet we have little understanding of when, where, how, or why it came to be. Commercial and field recordings from the 1920s, 30s, and 40s establish the centrality of backbeat to several African American musical traditions — including prison songs, sacred music, and brothel house blues — each borne out of particular contexts of oppression and survival. Exploring these recordings and the social and historical circumstances that conditioned them illuminates how the backbeat has been a powerful means by which marginalized groups have beat back against histories of violent oppression.

Bio: Steven Baur is an Associate Professor of Musicology in the Fountain School of Performing Arts at Dalhousie University. He has published widely on 19th- and 20th-century Western music from both popular and classical traditions, and he is an accomplished drummer with dozens of recordings and live performances to his credit.


Rajee Paña Jeji Shergill (Mill Village, NS)

mom and her music

Rajee Paña Jeji Shergill will present mom and her music, an experimental video that brings to light the singing and songwriting of Rose Paña Jejishergill. Confessions about her music making are interwoven with original songs, home movie footage, and images of personal and familial iconography. The screening will be followed by a short talk on the relationship between the songs and outsider music, vulnerability and singing’s therapeutic potential. This presentation also features the release of a cassette compilation of Rose’s original music.

Bio: Rajee Paña Jeji Shergill is an Indo-Filipino- Canadian artist based in Mill Village, Nova Scotia. She received her BFA (Interdisciplinary) and BA (Art History) from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University and her MA in Art History from Concordia University. Through textiles, sound and video, Rajee’s work explores memory, autoethnography and diaspora. Her creation of a family archive that investigates intergenerational inheritance and diasporic subjectivity emphasizes the importance of revisiting familial skills and stories.


Danielle Jakubiak (Montreal, QC)

Music Hive: Collaborative Discussion on Creativity, Community, and Well-Being

There has been a shift in recent years to move learning and personal development out of the traditional academic sphere and into the community. International art and music therapists have been busily creating art hives – community spaces in which individual mastery is examined and skillshare is the means to collective advancement. Our project, Montreal’s first Music Hive, desegregates personal and public therapeutic spaces, makes music and technology accessible to all, and demystifies music as therapy. In this collaborative discussion, we will together examine the ways in which music, technology, and community can come together to promote the health and well being of society.

Bio: Danielle Jakubiak completed a Masters of Music in Ethnomusicology in 2004. Following her degree, Jakubiak attended the National Theatre School in Montreal and spent several years as a sound engineer and sound designer for local theatre companies and venues. Her fascination with culture, sound environments, music, and people led her to complete her Masters in Music Therapy in 2012. During her studies, she began to focus on mental health work, and community music therapy. She began a private practice in 2013. She took a course at a local Art Hive, La Ruche D’Art, which was highly inspiring, and so began developing the Montreal Music Hive in 2015.


David Ewenson (St. John’s, NL)

The Machele Drums of Tamale

Dave Ewenson’s Masters research focuses on a family of blacksmiths from Tamale, Ghana who have been re-working scrap metal into four piece trap drum sets and congas since the late 1950s. Recognizable by their ultramarine blue and silver colours, the machele drums (“blacksmith drums”) have become staple instruments in local gospel churches, primary school marching bands, and simpa dance and drum ensembles. In this presentation for the Everyseeker Symposium Dave Ewenson will be examining how, through the creation and dissemination of the machele drums, the blacksmiths have become a unique focal point, where countrywide movements of scrap metal become intertwined with the sounds of Tamale’s diverse music makers; a connection which speaks to the relationship between ecology, economy, tradition, trade, and musical instruments.

Bio: David Ewenson is currently completing his masters in ethnomusicology at Memorial University, focusing on instrument construction and dissemination in Northern Ghana.  David’s work in academia often crosses over with his professional work as a recording engineer, videographer and musician.  His goal is to not just produce research but to actively engage in the musical worlds he observes through making albums, music videos and documentaries.  Most recently David has been living and working in Tamale, which is Northern Ghana’s political and economic capital and one of West Africa’s fastest growing cities.  His work in Tamale focuses on the social life of blacksmith-made metal drums and the way their life cycles represent cosmopolitan cultural life in Tamale. This research (which is fully funded through SSHRC and will be presented at the Society for Ethnomusicology conference in Dec 2015) includes the production of a 30min narrative film which interlaces intimate looks at instrument construction and musical performance.


Lindsay Dobbin (Halifax, NS)

Drum as Environment

Lindsay Dobbin has been researching the connection between traditional drumming and landscape, placing listening at the centre of understanding. Explorations of silence, communication, movement, rhythm, dreaming and healing have all found their place orbiting the drum. For EverySeeker, Dobbin will speak about their work and guide a listening walk—sharing activities inspired by their research that will place participants in deeper relationship with tangible and intangible landscapes.

Bio: Lindsay Dobbin is a multi/interdisciplinary Métis artist, musician, curator and educator who lives and works on unceded Mi’kmaq territory in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Born and raised in southern New Brunswick near the Bay of Fundy, Dobbin has also lived rurally in Cape Breton, northeastern British Columbia and Yukon. Their place-responsive practice includes drumming, music, sound art, experimental recording, social practices, improvisation, sculpture, performance, radio and writing. Beyond their solo creative practice, they are also an active artistic collaborator, and have worked on projects with musicians, sound artists, dancers, visual artists and filmmakers. Dobbin’s work has been presented and reviewed nationally and internationally, and they have received both provincial and federal grants. In addition to their art practice, Dobbin is also a passionate educator—employing music, sound, play and improvisation as tools for self-awareness.


Robert Drisdelle (Halifax, NS)

Multi-City Drone Day Installation and Public Broadcast

On Saturday, May 28th, we observe Weird Canada’s Drone Day. Locked away at The Khyber Centre for the Arts from noon until 2am, composer Robert Drisdelle will be drone traffic controller for a series of ambient, long-form performances streaming live from every province and territory in the country. We’ll broadcast his sonic concoction online and from various public locations throughout Halifax. Listen as sounds from across Canada bend and weep together. Play the Drone Day offering at www.droneday.org. Use #droneday follow broadcast locations or announce your own.

Bio: Robert Drisdelle is a composer and instrumentalist based in Halifax. He’s worn many different hats in the local music and arts scene for many years, working in opera, orchestral and chamber music, experimental and electronic music, as well as vocal and instrumental pop alike. He has collaborated with many artists including Lido Pimienta and Tanya Tagaq, and currently performs in the band Century Egg.


William Robinson (Halifax, NS)

The Bronze Voice

Robinson will present research investigating the material, cultural, and sonic transmutation of certain metal objects and their related manufacturing processes. Robinson’s presentation will touch upon the history and influence of the European church bell on the auditory landscape, the imagined narratives surrounding the Selmer Mark VI’s genealogy, and the music and sounds related to WWII’s metallurgical history. A bell walk through downtown will follow the presentation.

Bio: William Robinson lives and works in Halifax NS. His practice includes a variety of media such as site-specific installation, performance, video, musical composition, sculpture and printed matter. Robinson’s ongoing research explores how sound and music can extricate social and historical narratives resting dormant within particular sites and built environments. Robinson is a recipient of a Canada Council for the Arts Audio Research Grant (2016) and will be presenting a solo exhibition Brutalist Songs at Galerie Sans Nom in May 2016.

Saturday, May 28

Steven Baur
Rajee Paña Jeji Shergill

Windsor Foundation Lecture Hall – AGNS
12:30-2:00pm | coffee and pastries provided | free

Danielle Jakubiak
Dave Ewenson

Windsor Foundation Lecture Hall – AGNS
2-3:30pm | free

Lindsay Dobbin

AGNS – Meet Outside
3:40-4:40pm | free

Robert Drisdelle

The Khyber, various locations around Halifax, droneday.org
2pm-2am | free

Sunday, May 29

William Robinson

Fort Massey United and ringing the streets of Halifax
5:30-6:30pm | free


AGNS (Bedford Row Entrance) – 1723 Hollis St.

The Khyber Centre for the Arts – 1880 Hollis St.

Fort Massey United Church – 5303 Tobin St.