Skip to main content

Open Waters!

Open Waters Festival 2012 is an exciting three-day North Atlantic Showcase of new and improvised art music by Atlantic Canadian composers, performers and producers. On January 12, 13, 14, the festival will highlight freedom of expression with innovative compositions, inspiring musicians and ground-breaking performances. Recently AE spoke with the festival’s organizer Paul Cram.

AE: What inspired/motivated you to start this festival?
PC: The core reason for the Open Waters Festival is to give cohesion to a scene that is largely over-looked these days in popular culture. There is a lively art music contingent at work in undergrounds the world over and guess what? There is a contingent in Atlantic Canada concurrent that has laboured for the past 30 years presenting scattered concerts often at odds with itself. The Open Waters Festival seeks to remedy the situation by showing the scene in all its glory and creating its own “North Atlantic Music Showcase” to put the scene in a position to move off-shore. To this end the festival is inviting festival artistic directors, writers, agents and promoters of new music to hear what we’ve got for export.

AE: How has it grown over time?
PC: Open Waters was the title of the only album by the Upstream Ensemble which first performed in Halifax in 1990. In 1997 and again in 1998 the Open Waters Festival  of new and improvised music began with a collaboration with Symphony Nova Scotia  and Upstream Music that brought two distinct practices together - precisely notated composition and free improvisation. The collaborative spirit died with the millennium and internal politics and was kept alive by Upstream and later with suddenlyLISTEN and Oscillations. With the gradual building of Upstream’s capacity as a presenter and arrival of new groups, a multi-faceted scene has emerged.

AE: Why is this an important event for Halifax?
PC: It is an important event for Halifax, because it shows the city off  as a player and a  place to do creative work. The great music cities of the world all have lively avant-gardes where research and development happens and positive energy trickles up the idea chain.  It’s good for business.

AE: What can audiences expect this year?
PC: Whether you like it or not is not important – it is music for music’s sake that shrinks time, creates controversy and builds sense of place.

AE: What are your plans for the festival in the coming years?
PC: We plan to continue the event on a regular basis, so the musicians know it’s here and build themselves accordingly.

Popular posts from this blog

Charles Hsuen

Even after almost 30 years as the voice of jazz in Halifax, Charles Hsuen shows no signs of slowing down. His passion to preserve and promote the genre to listeners of all ages cannot be overstated. Recently we spoke with Hsuen about his roots, and his life-long love of big band, bebop, swing, Sinatra and more.
What are your own roots? My roots derive from a rather mixed background. My father is of Vietnamese / Tibetan / Chinese heredity, but grew up in India, before immigrating to Canada in 1967. While my mother’s roots stem from Indo-China, she grew up in Brunei before immigrating to Canada in 1969. Both extended families ultimately settled in Toronto and my parents met and married in the early 1970's. The last name “Hsuen” (now XUAN), pronounced “Schwen,” comes from the Last Emperor of China Henry Pu Yi who ruled using the name Xuantong from 1909 until his forced abdication in 1912. The story was of a tumultuous reign, his forced resignation and eventual attempt to reclaim his ti…

Danny Bilsborough

Danny Bilsborough, NSCC alumna and owner of Danny B Studios, has spent most of her days consulting various clients on software options for their new business endeavours. 
Although she’s been involved with assessing some really exciting projects, nothing makes her happier than grabbing her brush and splashing colour on a canvas. That’s why she’s decided to take the plunge into becoming a full-time artist.
“I was always so scared to try using colour, but when my daughter was born and the opportunity came to incorporate these new palettes into her life, they quickly found their way into mine,” she says.
Colour brings light to many things and gives people a sense of enjoyment. Markus Maier explained in his academic journal titled Color Psychology that colour carries great meaning and can have an important impact on people's affect, cognition and behaviour.
Bilsborough’s favourite pieces to create are those of nature and animals – a quick look at her online Etsy page confirms this. She be…


Commemorating the 40th Anniversary of the passing of Elvis Presley, International World-Champion Elvis tribute artist, Thane Dunn and his Cadillac Kings, will perform seven shows throughout the Maritimes over the coming months. Recently we spoke with the King of Kings about his passion and profession.
What are your roots? I was born in Moncton, New Brunswick. I've lived everywhere from California to Toronto but Moncton always has had a special place in my heart. My musical roots have always been early Rock and Roll and also old Country and Western like Buck Owens and Stonewall Jackson. I’ve always been a huge Jim Morrison fan. He had a lot of similar traits to Elvis.
What first inspired the Elvis tribute? I always loved the man and I’ve had people tell me I looked like him and in early bands I was in people would say I sounded like him. I had a few months leading up to the decision to do it where it seemed every time I turned on the TV there was Elvis, the radio would be playing Elvis…