Category: music


Eden’s Gate

edens-gateToo often we as people are caught up in the ME syndrome and fail to see the power of collaborating with others on a project. Enter, “Eden’s Gate”, a soundtrack created by ShadowofNine on iCompositions. Enter Alantomic and KCsGroove with a video collaboration; add Lunatrick with lyrics and vocals and a masterpiece was born. What makes this collaboration even more powerful is that each of the artists resides in different part of the world, working together via the internet.
These compositional masters reach out and touch not only your inner musical being but stimulate the visual senses at the same time. Eden’s Gate, 27.1 MB of pure video genius you do not want to miss.


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ShadowofNine

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“After Vlad had sucked the life out of Father Grimes he started to roam looking for more human wine to satisfy his hunger, he could smell the fresh scent of young blood. The scent drew him to the Baker Estate a bedroom window was open on the third floor, within seconds the monster was standing at the foot of the bed and before him was the most beautiful human creature he had ever seen, he entered the beautiful humans mind and whispered…” “I Will Turn You” just one of the many intriguing compositions by a good friend, workmate and composer known as the ShadowofNine, Shadow for short. He has requested I avoid disclosing his real identity for reasons I will allude to later in this review.

Immediately after I agreed to his terms I started by querying him about the name, ‘ShadowofNine’, to which he responded, “I originally chose the name Shadow but it was disallowed on iCompositions as being too short so I lengthened it to ShadowofNine.

I first met ShadowofNine (Shadow for short) in the fall of 2007 when I applied for work at a local North Shore establishment. Although I had applied for a position in another department, Shadow was the one assigned to interview me for a position in his. I accepted and a strong friendship developed soon after we started working together which remains to this day.

I eventually learned that Shadow had a passion for music but it was not until later in the first year of our meeting that I learned just how deep that passion was and how it had developed. Unknown to me at that time an even greater insight into this gentle, dedicated and hardworking individual was yet to come.

Born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan on November 5, 1944 his (Shadows) family later moved to Vancouver, British Columbia for two years; when he was ages four and five. Then it was off to Regina, Saskatchewan for the balance of his youth, as he puts it. It was there that he spent his high school years at Balfour Technical School; in 1983, the school’s name changed to Balfour Collegiate. After graduation, he moved to Ryerson University in Toronto, Ontario for just one short year.

As he (Shadow) so boldly puts it, “I did not like Ryerson so I got into radio instead”. The year was 1970 when Shadow began his career in FM Radio and, as he stated, “Not having any formal training I learned on-the-job”. “Besides”, he commented, with a twinkle in his eye and a smirk on his face, “I always had a good voice, and was a ham growing up, so it was easy for me to do radio right out of the shoot”. Eventually, he informed me; he moved into AM Top 40 and hated it so he left to pursue other interests. As he said, “the pay was the shits, so there were no regrets”.

“In reality”, he stated, “I went into radio because I was interested in music, in all its different genres”. “For me”, he continued, “the radio years were where I studied music and artists different takes”. “The program”, he explains, “was a free form progressive music show. I had total freedom to do my own thing.” “It was a fun time for me”, he commented.

I recall reading Shadows bios on iCompositions and in particular, I recalled one comment as follows, “I do have a history in the music biz”. He also wrote about how he had served as vice president of a recording industry association and managed a few artists, promoted concerts, ran a now-defunked record label and had sat on panels for the Canadian music industry…”.

Shadow had never mentioned any of the latter in our multiple conversations including his day with the late Johnny Cash, so ever being the inquisitive type I decided to ask him for every juicy detail. True to form as soon as I pressed for an answer, it was with his usual great humility that he replied, “Well not much to tell, those are some of my experiences in the music industry”. “Probably the best experience”, he continues, “was in the concert promotion part of the business, I learned the promotion work with many big stars…”

Big stars, I thought with a silly grin, and pressed for more. I soon learned he did mean big stars as he continued, “Some of the acts I worked with, mostly as an associate promoter, included, Pink Floyd, Procol Harem, Bill Cosby, Ella Fitzgerald, Kiss, Joe Cocker and many, many others”. I was aghast in utter astonishment by this point and all I could think of was, WOW!

“Canadian groups”, he continued, “were groups that me and my partner could sign and send province wide, that’s where we made good money”, he smiled wryly with a faraway look in his eye. It was if he had stepped back into the past and was reliving some special point in time. Then in the blink of an eye he was back in the now as he continued, “We would get together with a service group in a community, they would hustle tickets for a good commission and a fund-raiser”. “When you can put 3,000 kids into a hockey rink in Estevan, Saskatchewan you can make big dollars”, he stated. “That was then, not that way anymore as bigger promoters paid attention and squeezed us small guys out by signing a tour for the whole country”, he commented. “It was a lot of fun”, he added, “but it was also hard work and stressful…”

When asked to comment on his past position as the vice president of a recording association Shadow was quick to point out. “I was the vice president of the Saskatchewan Recording Industry Association for two-(2) years in the 80’s”. “I also ran a small Indi label called, Ten Bear Records”, he continued, “with two other chaps”. Shadow went on to say that, “at the same time I managed a Progressive Rock group called, “Mary, Mary” and a funk band called “Funk ‘N’ Stein“. He went on to describe how he had launched albums for the later two bands and had had moderate success with both. “However” he commented, “I did not enjoy the baby sitting that you must do with Artists, who can be very needy and immature”.

“Every year”, Shadow continued, “I attended conferences about the music business, was invited to sit on panels regarding artist promotion and submitting demos to record companies in the late 80’s and early 90’s”. In 1995, he (Shadow) moved to Vancouver and never reinvolved himself in the music industry organizations. That is not to say he left his love for music behind as he embarked on a new adventure, but it seems this time music was to be purely a hobby.

It was at this point of the interview that he (Shadow) explained why he chose not have his name published in this article as well as why he does not use it in his present gig as a composer at iCompositions. As he so boldly states, “I do it (use a moniker as he calls it) so that I can have a private life”. “My days of helping young artists are over”, he continues, “I have my own thing that I want to do and I just don’t want any intrusions on my space…”

He has been involved in his own thing, as he calls it, on and off for twenty-(20) years now and it is in just the last two-(2) years that he has taken it to a different level. The level he was at when I first met him one year ago which still holds me in awe. You have to know the man to begin understand my statement but that is another story.

The Shadow I have come to know (The hardworking individual and musical hobbyist) has no plans as far as his music goes beyond composing and playing for fun. As he stated, with a laugh, “I will compose and play tunes until the grim reaper appears and says the gig is over”.

Despite the fact, he stated he was composing for fun I decided to ask if he labeled himself as an amateur or professional for his compositions to which he had this to say. “Depends what your interpretation of pro is, is it if you sell a piece of music you are a pro, or”, he continues, “is it your attitude?” He went on to say, “One thing I think I am is an Artist, I paint pictures with sound…”

When asked how he actually created/composed his musical creations on his computer, he (Shadow) provided me with the following information. He told me he uses programs called Garage Band and Ableton Live, to create his compositions with hopes of soon expanding onto Logic 8, which as he wryly comments, “…is an expanded version of Garage Band with more bells and whistles”.

His computer of choice is the Macintosh or to be precise, an imac desk model with a two-(2)2 GHz core and two-(2) Duo Gigs 677 MHz DDR2 SDRAM. In addition, he uses 2 hard drives, a 160 Gig internal and a 500 Gig external drive.

Did I mention he also uses an M-audio 49 keyboard, a D 50 Roland keyboard, an Emax Sampler and several different sound modules?

His explained his reasons for going to a Mac, to me, in this manner, “Mac computers are very user-friendly and lend themselves more to music composition and playing.” He went on to say, “I have always found PC to be cumbersome and the outboard gear you need to buy is already in a Mac at no extra charge.

He had me there as I seethed inwardly with jealousy, and to this day, I look at my PC in a new and not so pleasing light.

There is so much more I could write about the ShadowofNine, who also writes Orchestration music under the name, ShadowsOrcas, interesting as he is I decided the best way to conclude my brief introduction into his world at this time was too provide a link to a composition of his own making titled, “Theme from a Foot Print in Time“. Personally, I feel he has unwittingly written about himself and the footprint he has left in the time continuum for others to live and learn from for which I humbly say, Thank You!


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DEYAS

On Saturday August 16 DEYAS hosted the Eastside Youth Festival with live music, graffiti painting, b-boy dancin’ and a BBQ where we fed over 500 people. Special guests Deja & the Young Prophecy Army rapped twelve songs about life in the streets. People in the crowd were talking about how they identified with the words. In fact people are still talking about the event, which is why we are already working on next years show!
Anna Jones, Director of Development for DEYAS.

With temperatures in the mid 20’s, and the promise of a full day photographing local youth bands and other artists of varied genre, in Vancouver’s Victory Park, I was excited as was my colleague; Lloyd Lewis a former photography partner and now owner of Photo Hunters Freelance. The day had started with the awakening of the individuals who call Victory Park home, some of whom as they awoke began to question the strangers with cameras in their midst as to the purpose of their visit.

One individual, meager belongings and guitar in hand, after we explained our purpose for being there, proceeded to play some of Johnny Cash’s well-known songs for us with such heartfelt intensity and dedication I swore Johnny himself was there.

I observed the latter fellow throughout the day and was amazed at the full-bodied spark of life in his demeanor. He, like many of the individuals that gathered, as the day progressed for the music and the mid day meal that was provided, never complained about his lot in life as he shared his musical talents with anyone who would listen until the bands themselves began to play. Even when asking for and receiving donations after he himself played, which in most instances were meager and often with none forthcoming, he would smile and say thank you for listening just the same.

The events started with an introduction by Anna Jones, Director of Development, followed by a First Nations Elder’s blessing from Dalannah Gail Bowen and a short speech by Cannon Singh the Executive Director of DEYAS and later a guest appearance by Patti Bacchus of Vision Vancouver.

There were eleven-(11) melodious acts that day as well as a break dance demonstration by a group of young men and women titled, “Mitch Granger and the B-Boys“. I never felt as exhausted in my life (figuratively speaking) as I did watching this fine group of performers with extreme envy at their vim and vigor as they performed seemingly tirelessly.

I may not have the understanding or even a contemplative appreciation of much of this generations music but I can honestly say that by the end of the day I truly felt the love and respect each of the performers have for the homeless in Vancouver as portrayed in their musical presentations. What made it more evident, in my case, was having the knowledge that many of the performers were/are themselves homeless and like everyone involved that day they prepared for and gave of their talents freely without any thought of monetary or personal gain.

Deja and the Young Prophecy Army:

Research shows that this group of fine performers, were and in some cases still are homeless, had pooled their talents together in just a two-week period. Not only had they collectively pooled their talents for the festival, but they also collaborated to create a CD that was sold at the Eastside Youth Festival for just $15.00 each. All proceeds from the sales were donated to assist in building a new low barrier transitional home for Vancouver’s homeless youth.

I enjoyed not only the music but the visual presentation as well, of each member of this group, there was one individual that really caught my attention and made me realize that the old adage, “You cannot judge a book by its cover”, is true at all times.

Here was a young woman; I do not have her name at this time, which really took me by surprise. With her naturally curly, flame red, hair, biker style boots (as I call them) and wearing a black and red striped shirt, whom I thought was just part of the audience, until she took to the stage. As she began to move to the beat of the music and sing, I became awe struck as I inwardly bowed in humility and swore I was listening to the voice of an angel. Of all the individuals that sang that day she and she alone still stands tall in my memory as someone who has a God given talent that to me puts her right up there with the likes of Aretha Franklin and Queen Latifah two women I greatly admire for their vocal talents.

Sharon Small of Directions performed a few solo numbers on her guitar giving me the impression of a modern day Joan Baez, attempting to reach out and inspire the crowd through her music and song.

Devils Advocates:

An interesting duo reminding me of the era when I lived in Georgia, with their banjo, harmonica and guitar combinations providing a well balanced presentation. For some unknown reason I was really caught up in my thoughts of the deep south with this duo. Thank you for the pleasant reminders of past memories regardless of the fact I was the only one enjoying that particular moment in time.

Jah Bless:

This talented group according to information on the DEYAS Festival brochure is, “an original group compromised of members from other Vancouver Groups… specifically for this event.” It goes on to state,” Espliff and Reece Worth from Freeflow, Lil Bit and Ras Nikhikesh…” would play acoustical reggae-hop songs that as is pointed out, “that promise to get you movin.” They did indeed!

The list goes on with other great talents such as Stephanie Lang, The Barn Owls, Sally Snow, The Light Bulb Effect, Pajamas, Arvilla, Kill Matilda (Their drummer, Lord Killington, was entertaining on his own merits) and headliner band Simian Special. Each was spectacular in their own right as they shared their songs freely and with such deep passion that mere words cannot begin to do justice.

Being an old rocken roller from way back I really got into the groove when Simian Special took to the stage and the group’s vocalist played a little game called, “I’ll take your photo while you take mine.”

Victory Park was hopping to the point that even the devil could not resist making an appearance…

Visual Artists:

For the record, I would also like to mention that there were a number of visual artists participating as well, such as Tony Ludovico. Each depicting a scene in, around the Victory Park area in such mediums as oils, watercolors, charcoal and the lowly pen and like everyone involved they donated their time and work. Each of the pieces, to my understanding, will be up for auction in the New Year with proceeds going to assist the homeless youth.

ABOUT DEYAS:

When asked about who created the idea of a The Youth Festival and the purpose DEYAS hoped it would serve, Anna Jones had this to say, “I thought of the idea of the Youth Festival…” She continued by saying, ” I hoped it would do many things including; give youth a chance to showcase their talent, feed the public, bring people outside the community into the community to build bridges, gain media exposure and community awareness of youth addictions and homelessness in an effort to break down barriers.

As Ms. Jones also noted, “The event achieved everything we set out for it, except draw out the other service providers.” “It could be better visually”, she noted, “had there been more sponsors but this is something for next year.”

As to whom founded DEYAS it was John Turvey stated Jones, “After he (Turvey) went through his own recovering school and working in the system he decided to found DEYAS.” Jones further stated that he (Turvey) helped to establish Native Health and numerous other service providers for the eastside of Vancouver.

When asked how long she (Ms Jones) had been with DEYAS she stated, “Since August of 2007”.

As to what Jones foresees as her personal vision for DEYAS she had this to say, “In the future of DEYAS I would like to raise funding to do a province wide prevention program to reduce the amount of kids ending up on the streets, something similar to the smoking campaign.” Jones goes on to say, “I would like to find a way to get the community to collaborate instead of being so competitive so we can reduce the gaps and duplications of service thereby being more effective for the client.”

I asked Ms. Jones how DEYAS has affected her life to which she replied, “It (DEYAS) has affected my life in terms of understanding when it comes to addictions and how that has always been a part of my family challenges. It has,” she continues,” helped me in healing ways, that I am giving back.”

When asked if given the opportunity to go back in time would she would make the same choice to actively participate in DEYAS as she presently is, she had this to say,” Yes, I would come back to DEYAS if given the chance as I have been blessed with a wonderful work family and that is a rare gift.”

Is she in it for the money? As Jones points out, “I took a $20,000.00 a year pay cut to do this job. I live on a tighter budget and my family has had to adjust, BUT,” she states, “we are all happier… and I like what I do.”

Jones is presently lobbying for more money for, as she states, “…to be dedicated to youth services, particularly prevention, harm reduction and treatment as law enforcement is the one pillar that is always consuming the most amount of money.”

Conclusion:

I was skeptical in the beginning about becoming involved in this assignment based on the area and my own self-perceived ideals about the Eastside and the individuals who call it home. By following through I found personal enlighten and a better understanding of just how tough life can be for those less fortunate. I was privileged to witness, firsthand, the power of today’s youth and the selfless acts of paying-it-forward to assist others when they themselves have nothing. Something many if not most adults today fail to comprehend and many of us ignore as we travel about our daily business with an out of site out of mind mentality.

As for the DEYAS staff, this is the first time I have met a group of individuals who actually lead by example. I find the whole concept refreshing with a slight twinge of envy at their tenacity and dedication. They (DEYAS) have their work cut out for them but based on their seemingly devout dedication DEYAS just may be the answer to the Eastside Youths needs.

Personally, I am already looking forward to the next event and if the talent is anything like the aforementioned it will be time well spent. I hope to see you there!

DEYAS will be holding music festivals annually, to provide not just entertainment and food, but more importantly as I understand it, to bring awareness to the plight of the homeless youth in Vancouver’s Eastside. You can find further details about DEYAS and its services and events at http://www.deyas.org or call Anna Jones at 604-685-6561.


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Allan Herman, Creative Visual Marketing Services Incorporated (CVM Inc.)