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Arts in Review

The Reach holds its first Literary Café

The Reach Gallery Museum in Abbotsford hosted its first Literary Café, an evening showcasing local musicians and writers in an interesting blend of music and poetry about nature, the history of British Columbia, ancestry and the meaning of home.

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Image: Marina Parapini

By Marina Parapini (Contributor) – Email

Date Posted: August 30, 2011
Print Edition: August 25, 2011

Left to Right: Franklyn Currie, Frances Cabahug, Chelsea Thornton, Paul Falardeau

The Reach Gallery Museum in Abbotsford hosted its first Literary Café at 7:30pm on Friday August 19, 2011. Organized and run by UFV graduate Paul Falardeau, the evening showcased local musicians and writers. The interesting blend of music and poetry about nature, the history of British Columbia, ancestry and the meaning of home fit perfectly with The Reach’s current exhibit featuring Emily Carr paintings and local artists.

Set in a cozy studio, the atmosphere of the evening was sophisticated, yet still relaxed. Musician Cale Stanage kicked off the show with his unique and self-described “earthy blend of modern folk.” As a dynamic performer, he took advantage of the intimate set-up to involve the audience and before long he had everyone snapping along. After singing a song about love, Cale spoke of the importance of good communication in keeping love alive. His next song, “Communication,” was a jazzy-scat of nonsensical syllables where the audience was expected to repeat back his phonetic acrobatics creating a fun, musical conversation.

Next, three contributors of Making Waves explained their essays and did some personal readings. Making Waves is a collection of essays exploring the traditions, struggles, ideas and conflicts of the Pacific Northwest writers and poets, and it is the first release of the University of the Fraser Valley’s University Press. The project was spearheaded and edited by resident UFV professor Trevor Carolan and blends contributions by established and professional writers with some new up-and-comers on the BC scene. Chelsea Thornton, current UFV student, spoke of how the outer physical landscape of our environment affects the inner landscape of our personality and worldviews, and can ultimately find expression in the style of writing. She also read some vignettes that highlight her personal relationship with nature and how she strives to bridge the human and natural worlds. Paul Falardeau followed in a similar format, reading from his essay “The Great Story of British Columbia: Robert Bringhurst and Haida Oral Literature” and some personal poetry. Both speakers also chose to read selections from authors that inspired them in their writing, providing a neat tribute to the past. The final reader of the evening, Frances Cabahug, a UBC graduate whose focus was Postcolonial English literature, spoke of genomics and how technology is opening new doors to discovering ancestry. How these discoveries affect our self-perceptions and identities is explored in her essay contribution in Making Waves. Frances also read some original poems and a vignette.

After a short intermission perfect for refilling wine glasses, chatting and exploring the main exhibit of The Reach, local musician Franklyn Currie closed the evening. After the previous discussion of place, nature, ancestry and rootedness in home and community, Franklyn’s songs brought the focus back to the present, not only in time but in location. His music highlights his experiences in Abbotsford and the inspiration he’s found growing up where “city meets country.” The simple symmetry of beginning and ending the evening with music provided a natural flow to the event and a graceful finish.

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