Tuesday 3 November 2015

Calgary Songs Project: Reflecting on Community

We're holding off on tape posts for today, so we can let our pal Kenna Burima give a quick update on the High Performance Rodeo Calgary Songs Project.... 

How do you summarize the musical history of a city is just 30 songs? How do you define and catalogue the contributions of hundreds of Calgarians in just one playlist?

The answer is you can’t.

When the CCPS and I first embarked upon this project to celebrate 30 years of One Yellow Rabbit through 30 songs, we knew that it wasn’t going to be an easy task. With the public submission process now closed, we are sitting on a 250+ playlist of songs; but not just any songs. Songs that have a history, that spark memory, that mean something. They aren’t really just songs, they’re windows into the lives of Calgarians. The responsibility of curating such a list is equally crushing and exhilarating.

These 250+ songs represent a time and a place in Calgary that I can only think are reflective of community. But not just one community - rather a network of communities - punk, pop, rock, folk, country, metal, hip hop, jazz. The patterns that we are seeing emerge from the list and through the people we talk to have highlighted that every musical genre present in our city in the past and in the present has had a surrounding community that supports and nurtures those that are a part of it. How do we even begin to make sense of all those intricate relationships?

We can try.

To me, rather than attempting to create a definitive playlist, we instead have an opportunity to present a snapshot; through 30 songs, of all the communities found Calgary and the people that were (and are) a part of them.

Whatever and however or final 30-song list shakes out, it’s imperative to me that it is an inclusive list. I don’t expect to be a part of every community in Calgary and there is actually a certain amount of pride and happiness that there are musical corners and pockets in Calgary that I don’t know even exist. This means that just because I’m not a part of a certain community, doesn’t mean I can’t acknowledge and support and celebrate it as much as my own. We all want, nay we all need, places to feel we belong, that we are understand and supported. That to me is what community is.

So the CCPS and I will be working hard over the next month and when the list is unveiled on January 7, 2016 you will of course see the usual suspects, the popular no-brainers, but you will also see the lesser-known inclusions. We’ll be celebrating songs by indigenous artists, by our LGBT community, by women, by the very people that make our city a diverse, multicultural, metropolitan city.

Kenna Burima

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