Cruise ship runs aground in the Northwest Passage
September 6, 2010
Reports of my demise are grossly exaggerated. However, I WAS involved (indirectly) in my ship running aground on an uncharted rock in Coronation Bay in western Nunavut. It was, to say the very least, exciting and unique as far as events go. I can now safely say I been involved in a shipwreck!! Thanks very much to the crew of Clipper Adventurer and the staff at Adventure Canada for keeping us safe, warm and well-fed throughout this unforeseen mess. The tour itself was awesome and fun and the food was world-class. Given this was a completely isolated event and a freak accident, I really must say that people should consider these tours very safe. Even when the boat grounded herself on a rock we were still safe and business continued on as usual, just at a 5 degree angle! Would I do it again? - in a heartbeat!! Franklin's ghost will have to try harder if he wants company...
NATHAN ROGERS THROWS DOWN "The Gauntlet"
August 1, 2009
Hello everyone and thanks for waiting.
"The Gauntlet" is ready and is being released through Borealis Records. Check out their website at http://borealisrecords.com
You can purchase a hard copy for delivery or a high-quality digital version here or check out the numerous other websites hosting my new disc.
I am very excited to say that the reviews are coming in favourably. Thanks to everyone who helped get the album ready.
It's been a real labour of love.
Here's what critics have said so far:
Globe and Mail
"Naamche Bazaar", Nathan Rogers, from The Gauntlet
This just in: Winnipeg folk singer Nathan Rogers, son of Stan Rogers, is a virtuoso Tuvan-style throat singer, and his new album includes a rollicking original song to prove it.
Here's one from across the globe:
Radio Upper Galilee- Israel
Greetings from Israel,
I'd like to thank you for the pleasant surprise I had today in recieving "The Gauntlet". Nathan Rogers is incredible. What a powerful singer. What an unusual mix of songs and styles.
The Mongolian or Tuvan style of throatsinging on "Naamche Bazaar" is the most outstanding I have heard by any western musician.
Good start. Stay tuned for more info!!!
More on the Cuts to the Canadian Cultural Industry
August 19, 2008
(AUGUST 15 - Winnipeg) - The Western Canadian Music Alliance feels that the Federal Government’s decision to cut the ProMart (arts promotion) program administered by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT), and the Trade Routes Program run by the Department of Canadian Heritage is a mistake and an attack on a vibrant and economically viable segment of the Canadian economy.
The Canadian music industry has an international reputation as producers of some of the finest artists in the world.
In the media over the past week we have seen the vilification of specific artists and the inference that they are spoiled rich prima donnas that access public funds as a form of cultural entitlement.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Musicians in this country work tirelessly to create sustainable careers for themselves. Trade Routes and ProMart are the most successful music based government programs of their kind. Facilitating access to international markets is not a grant but an investment.
In the new reality that is the digitization of the music business, both obstacles and opportunities have never been greater. Artists and industry are small and large business entrepreneurs who need to have the exposure and the training to function in this new reality. Music is an important economic engine in the Canadian economy and deserves the same considerations as beef, pork or softwood lumber. In fact, the return on investment in the music industry has a consistently higher dollar return vs. spent ratio than most other business models.
ProMart and Trade Routes are the funding bodies that work with the WCMAs to create an international buyers presence at the WCMA Festival, Conference and Awards show. Our artists have benefited directly from this international program. The export components of the programs are a centerpiece of the Western Canadian Music Awards weekend. Both programs directly support Canadian musicians and the industry based companies that help create, tour, record and export one Canada’s most important natural resources. These programs have resulted in a demonstrable increase in export opportunities for Canadian musicians and industry.
Trade Routes funded international delegates have, by their own voluntary reporting to the WCMA
SIGNED: 29 artists, with qualified interest in signing an additional 19
BOOKED TO TOUR: 45 artists for a total of 270 dates
BOOKED TO SHOWCASE AT INTERNATIONAL EVENTS: 40 artists
BOOKED FOR INTERNATIONAL FESTIVALS: 344 artists
LICENSED MUSIC: 34 artists, with qualified interest in an additional 52
During the WCMA weekend, the international professionals are involved in 25 plus music industry panels, round tables and workshops. International orientation sessions are held where internationals meet one on one and receive an overview of the Canadian music scene. Targeted performances are staged from ten of the most export ready western Canadian acts in a special International Showcase night. In addition the international delegates access the WCMA festival where over 75 western Canadian-based groups in 10 plus venues perform over 3 nights in that years’ host city.
Last year at WCMA in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, 36 western Canadian artists were invited to perform at South by Southwest alone. This is a direct result of the Trade Routes initiative creating strong ties with international music buyers.
The Western Canadian Music Alliance acts as an umbrella organization for the five western music industry associations. (Music BC, Music Yukon, Alberta Music, SaskMusic and the Manitoba Audio Recording Industry Association).
Exporting their membership’s craft to the rest of the world is at the core of the industry association mandates and the cancellation of ProMart and Trade Routes will severely affect their (and our) ability to create and train artists and industry professionals to work on a global scale. Also, the addition of top international music buyers raises the bar of any event, attracting more top artists and professionals.
The Western Canadian Music Alliance intends to work with music-based organizations across the country to engage the government to reconsider their position on the cancellation of the Trade Routes and ProMart initiatives. The past has taught us that if you dismantle the cultural railroad it may become impossible to rebuild.
From the Exuctive Director at the Western Canadian Music Alliance.
For more information visit the Western Canadian Music Alliance at www.westerncanadianmusicawards.ca
Make Up Your Own Mind, Canadians. I certainly have!
August 12, 2008
Without the arts, our image grows dim abroad
The Globe and Mail
August 11, 2008
Last month, for the first time in almost a decade, Central Park was eerily quiet on Canada Day.
Every year since 1999, the federal government has sponsored a New York City satellite of its July 1 party on Parliament Hill, importing a handful of Canadian bands as part of the park's free SummerStage concert series. There have been delicate tribute shows to Joni Mitchell, fuse-blowing rock from the Tragically Hip, a resplendent Rufus Wainwright, rain-soaked sets from the Cowboy Junkies and Natalie MacMaster, and musicians making in-jokes about hockey and the CBC that the expats in the audience would then politely explain to the locals.
And at the end of every show, the Upper West and Upper East Sides of Manhattan would suddenly blossom with thousands of tiny Canadian flags worn in the hair or thrust into the back pockets or temporarily tattooed onto the sun-kissed arms of concertgoers, most of whom were merely honorary Canucks for a day.
No more. This year the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) killed the concerts. When I asked a spokesperson in Ottawa last month for an explanation, she refused to comment. Last Friday, it all became depressingly clear when DFAIT announced it was cutting all ties to culture by axing its PromArt program, a $4.7-million annual fund that sent artists into the world to speak for Canada.
The program's death notice was revealed in exquisitely cynical fashion. On Thursday, a government official leaked the story to a reporter by explaining the program had funded mainly political radicals and others it deemed naughty: the former CBC pundit and current Al-Jazeera contributor Avi Lewis, the journalist Gwynne Dyer, and a Toronto rock band known as Holy Fuck. Talk radio and conservative bloggers lapped up the talking points like so much cream, outraged that millions of dollars of tax money had been used to support speech with which they disagreed.
Did they care that they'd been spun? In fact, the vast majority of the funds sent abroad artists and companies that Stephen Harper would enjoy with his wife and kids: $8,000 to send Newfoundland's Duo Concertante dance company to China; $30,000 for the acclaimed experimental circus troupe Les 7 doigts de la main to give 42 performances in Mexico and Germany; $15,000 to The Nickle Arts Museum of Alberta to present an exhibition for six months in Poland.
There are the dozens of $500, $750 and $1,000 grants that paid the airfare for award-winning authors to go forth as independent representatives of Canada. Last year, more than 300 grants were awarded.
The program was not, as its critics are barking, a wasteful socialist/Liberal boondoggle. Its greatest champion was in fact Joe Clark, who as the secretary of state for External Affairs (now DFAIT) from 1984-91 oversaw a major expansion in the cultural diplomacy budget because he recognized the importance of increasing Canada's presence abroad as the country embraced free trade with the U.S. and made its way in a globalized world.
And killing PromArt was never really about silencing radicals; that was just a red herring that paid political dividends. Late on Friday, while attention was focused on the DFAIT cut, the government quietly said it was also ending Trade Routes, a $9-million program run by Heritage Canada to help artists take their work abroad.
It's hard to overstate how low a profile Canada has abroad. If that's the way the government wants it, that's their decision. But if we want our voice to have influence in the rest of the world, to be the moral beacon we believe it is, that requires marketing Brand Canada. Sending artists and writers abroad is an integral part of that marketing that happens to be extremely cost-effective.
A little while ago Pamela Wallin told me that when she served within DFAIT as the consul-general of New York, culture was an indispensable tool to create a broader understanding of Canada within the United States. "It's all about presence; it's all about being top of mind. The more stages we continue to take ourselves off of, the more difficult the overall mission becomes," she said.
"In order to be more than the Great White North, or more than just a trading partner like others, I think we have to show how interwoven the connections are, and how broad that cultural mix really is."
She noted that the consulate also often used Canadian artists visiting New York to soften potential trading partners.
"It's an entrée point, it's a way to deal with people other than at the office, nine-to-five, about economic matters."
That's why it was smart foreign policy to have Feist headline the Canada Day show in Central Park back in 2006, shortly before she became the iPod girl and a four-time Grammy nominee.
Even the United States, which invented the globalized free market in culture, has a long tradition of spending government money on so-called cultural diplomacy. During the Cold War, the U.S. State Department sent jazz musicians Louis Armstrong, Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis and others to the Middle East, Asia and Europe to spread American values. The U.S. is spending more than half a billion dollars a year on TV and radio broadcasts that bring American music, comedy, and drama to the Arab world and other territories.
This is lost on DFAIT, where PromArt and its antecedent programs were never really understood. One long-time bureaucrat in the department told me recently: "Anyone caught doing culture, it was a career killer."
DFAIT, being stocked with diplomats used to reading scripts written at head office, was always uncomfortable with the voices of artists who weren't direct government employees.
This might, in fact, be the core reason the feds have just cut a small but effective program that didn't really mean much to the overall budget. Since taking office, Stephen Harper has tightened communications coming out of Ottawa, putting choke collars on his cabinet ministers and spokespeople. He wants to be the only one who speaks for Canada abroad, too. From the government's perspective, artists especially are suspect: they don't tend to stay on message; sometimes, they even voice independent thoughts. Worst of all, they're more interesting to listen to than a droning politician. Maybe Harper is jealous.
I'm only half kidding.
The Email List
March 1, 2008
Just a note about the email list and how to make sur eit works for you. When I tried it, it sent the emssage to my spam folder. Hmmmm - that is hardly worth it, don't you think. So be sure to add firstname.lastname@example.org to your address book so that you can actually receive the messages.
Oliver Schroer Needs Our Help
August 11, 2007
UPDATE TO THIS NEWS ITEM:
Oliver Schroer died peacefully at 11:30 AM July 3rd, 2008. He wrote a final tune, entitled “Poise” the night before and his last words to hospital staff were said to be, “Well, I guess no excursions today.”
You can read about this man's phenomenal ride into the sunset on his Lukemia page at http://www.oliverschroer.com/leukemia.htm
Rest in peace, Oli.
If you don't know who he is, you haven't heard some of the VERY best in fiddling from Canada. He playes solo (and composes his own works) and joins others like James Keelaghan on the stage. Here is a notice from Ollie that we should all take a look at and consider considering. Seriously. He has given so much to so many - time to ante up!
Learn more about Ollie Schroer at http://www.oliverschroer.com/index.htm
Hello friends and fans,
My life recently took a very unexpected turn. I got back from playing the Celtic Connections festival in Scotland. The day after I got back, I had a routine blood test, and the doctor called me that night at about 10pm (never a great sign) and told me that I have an early form of leukemia. It is called Myelodisplastic Syndrome. Because it is still in its initial stages, treatment looks hopeful. Nevertheless, the next six months will be a fight for my life.
The accepted standard treatment for what I have is a procedure called a Bone Marrow Transplant. They don't actually crack my bones open and replace the marrow as I originally thought! The treatment is actually done in form of a transfusion. They are looking for a match in my family, and if that does not work, they go to a general pool of donors. The way the system is set up, they do not accept donors for specific people – for example, me. However, in view of my present position, I encourage you to sign up and register to be donors. The more there are in the database, the better. The procedure is a lot like giving blood – except that they separate the useful components out and then give back the blood to the donor. . Just to let you know it is not a horrible, painful or invasive procedure. Once a donor is found, I will be in the hospital between four and six weeks, and then convalescence time.
It is interesting to reflect on this, after my latest CD Camino. The next six months are going to be a whole other journey for me, difficult at times, requiring stubborn determination, good luck and a lot of grace to get through.
For reasons both personal and medical, I have chosen to take treatment in Toronto, at Princess Margaret Hospital. I will appreciate good thoughts and prayers from all, and will let you know how things are going in this journey. If you want to communicate, my email will be the same as it has always been: email@example.com
February 16, 2007
The other day, I woke up early and had a few minutes to check on the ole website. Imagine my horror when I began reading, and then gagging, over a particularily horrible story dealing with incestual child pornography. I just don't know what to say. For any of you who may have tuned in before I got the chance to delete it, I apologize sincerely and assure you it will NEVER happen again. I now have a moderator who will be approving any and all messages before they appear on my site. That means you won't get to see your comments immediately anymore but they should be up in a day or two after you leave them.
Anything dealing with the site goes - no matter how silly or mean or just plain disinterested. Anything dealing with adverts for disgusting sites like the one I was referring to will promptly be deleted and, where applicable, reported to the authorities. My only regret was my haste in deleting it before I had the chance to report it to the police. Yes, it was that disgusting and disturbing. Lets keep it clean folks - enough trash out there already.
For those who have checked in and who have left funny, sincere, or plain ole wierd comments - THANKS for leaving your mark. For you spammers out there - your day is done.
Oh - and whoever that daily visitor was (and you know who you are) this includes you too.
Cheers and thanks for all of the support!
Trying to Make Canadian Radio Canadian
December 21, 2006
Here is a letter received from some folks who have been lobbying the controlling group of radio broadcasters in Canada. Indeed, it is a sad day for the culture of our country. Please take a moment to read and be informed of current events in our country and to celebrate those who are willing to take a stand on these issues. A HUGE thenks goes out to Gregg Terrence for trying to speak for us!
Here's the notice:
As you probably know, there has been a lot of talk over the last couple of years about modernizing Canadian Content rules. Discussions have revolved around various ways to make CANCON smarter, so that more emerging artists would receive airplay. Nearly all parties were in agreement that radio stations often meet their CANCON quotas by repeating a handfull of Canadian superstars over and over again. There were various proposals presented to the CRTC to address this issue.
-Canadian Independent Recording Artists' Association (CIRAA) proposed an emerging artist quota
-Record companies and radio broadcaster proposed a bonus system
-Indie Pool proposed a points system (www.letsfixcancon.ca
In short, all parties, including the CRTC, recognized the growing problem. Even the radio broadcasters themselves agreed that the CANCON problem existed and offered to address it by receiving a small bonus when they played emerging artists. Never before has there been such unanimity that the very foundation of CANCON was threatened if our public airwaves were not used to develop Canadian artists. The CRTC held an extensive review of this and other matters last spring and recently announced its decision.
Unfortunately, the news is very bad. In a 3-2 split decision, the CRTC has decided to not change CANCON. It will remain at 35% and there will be no incentives or quotas for radio stations to play emerging artists. Instead of offering our own biased opinion on this, here are some quotes from a dissenting opinion offered by CRTC Commissioner Stuart Langford :
"The majority decision to cave in to industry demands and virtually ignore the needs of Canadian artists is simply unacceptable."
"The majority has identified another problem but done nothing about it. I refer to the sad fact that though broadcasters have adhered to the letter of the law requiring 35% or more, many have openly defied the spirit underlying it. They meet the 35% level but they do so by playing just a few marquee artists over and over again."
"The majority has thrown up its hands and declared that this problem defies remedy."
"The majority has bowed to industry pressures and done nothing."
"Lack of imagination appears to be the hallmark of the majority's reaction to the plight of Canada's new and emerging artists. Rather than solving the problem by requiring FM licensees to provide airplay opportunities for as many Canadian artists as possible, the majority has decided to duck the problem today and leave it to be solved on a case-by-case basis during future licence renewal processes. This is simply unacceptable. To say to emerging artists that someday down the road things will improve is the regulatory equivalent of promising pie in the sky when you die. The Commisssion's case-by-case approach once more leaves most Canadian musical talent out of the new radio policy as they were left out of the old. The case-by-case approach will result, not in the establishment of a clear regulatory directive supporting these artists, but in the equivalent of a crazy quilt policy made up of dozens, perhaps hundreds, of rulings, each more different than the last."
CRTC Commissioner Langford certainly speaks for all of us and we thank him for making his opinions clear on the impact of this decision. Perhaps we can build on this. Perhaps it is some measure of progress. Maybe we'll look back some day and realize that this was a turning point.
For now, we can't help but believe that this was a lost opportunity. The entire report can be found here: http://www.crtc.gc.ca/archive/ENG/Notices/2006/pb2006-158.htm
Canadian Independent Recording Artists' Association
Nathan Invited to Showcase at the 2007 North American Folk Alliance Conference
November 24, 2006
Nathan is exceptionally proud to have been invited to showcase at the largest and most prestigious folk music conference in North America. A big THANK YOU goes out to the selection committee and to all organizers of the conference for including Nathan in this monumental event.
Remember (originally published on my home page)
November 11, 2006
IN FLANDERS FIELDS
In flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
- Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD of the Canadian Army(1872-1918)
A fantastic Canadian War Poet who gave his life for ours
DULCE ET DECORUM EST
Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through the sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And toward our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.
Gas! Gas! Quick boys! - an ecstacy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone was still yelling out and stumbling,
And floundering like a man in fire or lime
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
In all my dreams before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.
If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
If you could hear at every jolt, the blood,
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est
Pro patria mori.
- Wilfred Owen, 1893-1918
A fantastic British war poet who gave his life for ours. He was and deserves to be to be compared to Siegfried Sassoon who encouraged him to develop his war poetry before he died in WWI
HOLD THE LINE
We were farmboys in the spring of 'fourteen
A few miles from mother's door the furthest I'd ever been.
One short month of training and we're off to foreign shores to hold the line.
And now a year's gone by and I've never let my mind count the minutes of these murders, the brothers now behind.
"We'll all go home by Christmas. The weather will be kind. Will you hold the line?"
"Your mask protects you from the poison yellow smoke."
"They will time their charge to take you when they think the line has broken."
"None of them expecting that we got their trenches mined."
"And we'll hold the line."
They sent us out to murder on the empty foreign fields.
There is crimson in the umber of a kind that doesn't yield.
Our youth gave in to anger, our shoulder to the toil.
A million names and faces in a mile of bloody soil.
Have I been here a lifetime or just these thousand horrid days?
Will the guns ever go silent?
Will the winds of time erase the scars upon the battlefield?
The wound within our mind while we hold the line?
And of all the faces that have come and gone (while in this tomb I've grown),
The one I've come to like the least's the one that is my own.
For within this bloodied hero a murderer you find and you hold the line.
Hold the line.
A Great Site to Visit for Everything Canada - Culture.ca
October 23, 2006
I have gotten somewhat of a bee in my bonnet lately about how we, as a country, define ourselves. There is the early thread in the CanLit tradition that defines us as 'not-American'. Hmmm - so, we know what we aren't but that doesn't bring us any closer to a defintion now, does it? We who live here know there is so much more than that. There really is no excuse for still using this definition, is there? Certainly not after the likes of Margaret Atwood, John Hirsch, Leonard Cohen, Stan and Garnet, and the countless other spokespeople who have gone so far into celebrating our distinct community. Don't know who some of these folks are? DO YOUR HOMEWORK! THEIR LIFELONG WORK SPEAKS FOR YOU AND YOUR COUNTRY!
I was contacted today by culture.ca. They have a specific mandate for the promotion of Canadian culture in and of iteself and not positively or negatively related to anything else. If this WERE the US, we would be considered in great deriliction of duty, having neglected so many of our heroes for so long. One of the reasons that we are not Americans is because of a woman named Laura Secord, who, although incorrectly famous as a chocolatier, is actually one of the heroes of our country and a person deserving of our veneration. Perhaps someone out there could tell me where Laura Secord is buried so that one day I can pay my respects. People like Ms. Secord and, for example, Terry Fox, are true heroes and their actions ought to be celebrated. Kudos to you, culture.ca, for celebrating Canada for being Canada. It is, after all, a wonderful place to live and a fine country from sea to sea. And kudos to anyone who takes the time to go and check out the site. Find out about a festival in your area, lobby radio stations to actually play their own country's talent, learn about your history, hell, learn about someone else's history who may live next door to you.
Any thoughts out there about this? Know of another Canadian hero who has faded too long in anonymity? If so, drop me a line on the comments page and continue the process of defining, understanding, improving and celebrating!
Halfway Cove Music and Bignote Entertainment Join Forces
October 23, 2006
Halfway Cove Music has now joined forces with Jim Samuelson of Bignote Entertainment Booking Agency. Bignote comes highly recommended by many presenters across Canada and I am looking forward to working with them to come and perform at a venue near you!
Meeting a Hero!
October 17, 2006
Last week, I had the devine pleasure of making Mr. Gordon Lightfoot's acquaintance. I stayed for a short time after his fabulous performance at the Pantages Theatre and he was kind enough to come over and share a few words with me. We talked of many things: my family's music - Mr. Lightfoot claimed that my dad was always one of his favourites: his tribute album - I had the pleasure of singing backup for James Keelaghan on The Canadian Railroad Trilogy and even sang a few bars for Mr. Lightfoot - he said he remembered my vocals on the album: and we spoke a little of my music. What a gentleman to spend the time with me that he did. That meeting will be the highlight of my year! It's not every day that you get to meet a great Canadian!
Nathan receives a Market Access Grant
October 6, 2006
THANK GOODNESS FOR MARIA! Thank you, so very much, for supporting me at the upcoming Alberta Arts Touring Alliance Showcase 2006.
September 30, 2006
If you think I should add you (I have forgotten more people than I added and so apologize in advance, especially to radio stations!) let me know and I likely will.
If you have something coming up in Winnipeg (a performance, CD Release, Art Show) and would like me to add you to the Winnipeg section, please go ahead and I'll do my best.
The New Website
September 30, 2006
Hi Folks and Folkies,
Just uploaded the new website and want to know what you think. Really. I do. I know everyone says that but it's here for you, not me. So comment away.
Join the email list. Here's what I WON'T do for you. I won't send you a listing of a gig that is kms/miles/or countries away. I hate that as much as you do. I won't send you erroneous info - you know, "I washed my sheets today! Yehaa! It's an event!" (nope, it's not and I won't tell you about it). I won't harrass you just so that you remember my name. I hope my music will do that on its own.
What I WILL do - I'll let you know if I am going to be playing in YOUR area. I'll let you know when the new CD is out (hoping for spring) and if there is any video or other stuff you might like to see or buy. That's it. That's all.
Keep checking the news page as I am excited about it and WILL plague you with my thoughts here. Then you can check in or not check in as you want.
And most of all, thanks for checking in!