29 December 2015

Sound and the Sea + Ode to the Salish Sea - Airs Dec. 30

Sound and the Sea is a documentary exploring the name and place that is the body of water that runs from south of Seattle to north of Vancouver and out to the Pacific Ocean, currently known by a number of names depending on where you are (including Puget Sound, the Strait of Georgia and Juan de Fuca Strait). Its companion piece, Ode to the Salish Sea, is a composed documentary honoring that same body of water. In the past few years a new name, the Salish Sea, has gained increasingly common usage, used in publications by area residents, marine biologists, First Nations/Native Americans, and even Parks Canada, the Government of Canada's national park department. This informal use of a name that honours the area’s original inhabitants, the Coast Salish nations, has developed into a movement to officially add the name to the waters (without doing away with their current names). A note from producer Paolo Pietropaolo: "I gathered materials for the documentary by making field recordings of voices and sounds of the region. "There are three voices heard in two languages (Hul’qumi’num and English): George Harris of the Chemainus First Nation, a native Hul’qumi’num speaker and a proponent of the new name; Keith Roy, spokesman for the Monarchist League of Canada, who opposes the name; and Briony Penn, a geographer and environmental activist whose family has lived on Salt Spring Island, BC, since the mid-nineteeth century. The sounds are those of the waters: creeks, waves, boats, ferries and ambient sound, and the sounds of wildlife that depend on the Salish Sea for survival. In addition, I have used a snippet of “God Save the King” to honour the origins of the name Strait of Georgia. "I have layered, twisted, shaped, cut, processed and weaved these recordings into a composed documentary, musical in structure and ambient in aesthetic: an Ode to the Salish Sea. The end result creates a dream-state balancing the reality of what the Strait of Georgia & Puget Sound sound like today with imagined past and future sounds of the Salish Sea. "Place names are often spoken, and these audible sounds carry with them memory and culture – and thus, great meaning. Native languages are disappearing at an alarming rate as elders die out. In addition, every day, tonnes of earth from Seattle and Vancouver construction pits are dumped into the Salish Sea; every year, the salmon fishery is further threatened. By capturing the sounds carried by the air and waters of the Sea, the Ode seeks to draw attention to the inter-connectedness of the area and its peoples and cultures." Ode to the Salish Sea was commissioned by CBC Radio's Outfront and the Deep Wireless Festival of Radio Arts on the theme of Ecology: Water, Air, Sound, and premiered on CBC Radio across Canada on May 15, 2009 and in octophonic surround sound at the Deep Wireless Festival in Toronto, Ontario on May 29 & 30, 2009.

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