I have been involved with radio and audio in some form for more than twenty years. I got my start at CJSW, co-hosting an environmental program on the campus radio station at the University of Calgary, sometime before the Internet. From there, I went to hosting a show at CFRC at Queen’s University.

In 1997, I started working at CBC Radio in St. John’s, Newfoundland, and stayed there for seven years. I quit my radio job to go to back to school in 2004, but I never really left radio. In 2009, I began curiaudio.com, a project dedicated to wild sound and acoustic ecology. In 2016, I went back to my roots in community radio, contributing pieces to Voice of Bonne Bay Radio in western Newfoundland (vobb.org) that, for a time, I mixed in a studio I rigged up in an honest-to-goodness walk-in vault.

Radio Pieces

Summer Stillness

One of the best things about heading to the cabin in the summer is the opportunity to stop and be still. For Monica Kidd, that also means listening to the soundscape that underscores time spent at her family’s cabin in the Bay of Exploits.

Here is a soundscape she produced featuring the sounds of making espresso on the wood stove, fishing with the kids, chopping wood, kids laughing, and finally a fire on the beach.

It’s called Summer Stillness and features music from the Creative Commons by Jon Wheeler. The track is called “Paraclete.”

A Season of Bees

People have kept bees for thousands of years, mostly for honey, but also to support the health of their crops, as bees are thought to be responsible for 80% of pollination worldwide. But the popularity of urban backyard beekeeping has soared around the world in recent years as city-dwellers look to raise awareness of food security and ecological sustainability.

John and Dione Chisholm of Calgary have joined the community of urban beekeepers with two hives they tend on a small deck outside their second-floor window in the inner-city neighbourhood of Kensington. This spring will mark the beginning of their fourth year of beekeeping.

They just happen to live a few doors down from Monica Kidd, who visited their home-based honey operation over the course of a year.

Here is her documentary, “A Season of Bees,” with music from the Creative Commons from bensound.com and from Nick Rivera.

It aired on VOBB.org on Mar 26, 2018.

The Shoe Project 2018 – Part 2

In this second and final part of The Shoe Project (2018), you will hear the voices of performance coach Denise Clarke and participants Joy Ebenezer-Alawode of Nigeria, Michelle Huang of China, Svitlana Goncharenko of Ukraine, Maryann Abid of Iran, Valerie Jamga Tchatchoua of Cameroon, Roya Chalaki of Iran, Ivy Caines of the Philippines, and Nasima Behzaf of Afghanistan. It originally aired on vobb.org on Monday, Feb 5, 2018. To learn more about The Shoe Project, go to theshoeproject.online

The Shoe Project 2018 – Part 1

Every woman knows the power of a good pair of shoes, right?

While the old cliché hints at shoes as a symbol of vanity, there is a unique literacy program in Canada that builds on the bond between women and shoes as a way to allow more women’s stories to be told.

The Shoe Project has been running in Canada for 14 years. The brainchild of novelist Katherine Govier, it evolved from a gift of money from an unnamed patron into a national institution for women’s literacy and storytelling. Women who are new immigrants to Canada are invited to write a story about a pair of shoes and how it relates to their long road to a new life. The women are then mentored over several weeks and coached through drafts of their stories. They also receive coaching in performance.

Then at the end of the session, they get up on stage and read their story in front of a crowd, in English. The Shoe Project started in Toronto, went west to Calgary, and is making its way east, with stops in Halifax, Fredericton and Charlottetown.

This year’s Calgary Shoe Project performance took place on Jan 21, at the brand new National Music Centre, on the second anniversary of the Women’s March on Washington. It was part of Calgary’s long-running One Yellow Rabbit’s High Performance Rodeo theatre festival, and was a sold out show.

The evening and the readers are introduced by performance coach Denise Clarke. You will also hear from Shoe Project founder Katherine Govier, and participants Choden Tenzin of Tibet, Catherine Enstas of Syria, Noriko Ohsada of Japan, and Dusanka Reljic from the former Yugoslavia. Music courtesy of Aya Myana of Syria, playing the oud.

This first part of the 2018 performance of The Shoe Project originally aired on vobb.org on Monday, January 29, 2018.

The Shoe Project

Issues of immigration have been front and centre in the news lately.

But behind the cacophony of international politics are all the small stories… those of loss and of new beginnings… that we don’t hear so often.
The Shoe Project means to change all that.

The brainchild of Toronto novelist Katherine Govier, The Shoe Project links immigrant women with established Canadian writers to work on a short piece of personal narrative, using a pair of shoes as a metaphor for journey and transformation.

The Shoe Project began in 2011 in Toronto, and this year will see workshops and performances in Vancouver, Canmore, Calgary, and Halifax.

It will be coming to Newfoundland sometime in the spring, touring with the Atlantic Ballet Theatre of Canada.

Monica Kidd caught up with The Shoe Project at a public performance in Calgary recently, where she spoke to Katherine Govier and Waad Arbitar, formerly an architect in Demascus, left Syria in 2013 with her husband and two young sons and eventually settled in Calgary.

(This piece originally aired on Voice of Bonne Bay Radio, vobb.org on February 20, 2017.)

A Little Fish

In 2016, Monica Kidd and her family spent a month at their cabin in the Bay of Exploits. Busy working on a novel at the time, her father-in-law challenged her to write a story about the capelin fishery instead. He was upset that the capelin hadn’t rolled that year, there were no whales, and there were none to be found in the bellies of the cod.

She thought about it for awhile, and what emerged was a story about ecology and science, politics and belonging.

Here is Monica Kidd’s audio essay, called “It Rests on a Little Fish.” Music is from The Blue Dot Sessions, Dave Nelson, and Doctor Turtle, all available on the Creative Commons.

It originally aired on Voice of Bonne Bay (vobb.org) in March, 2017.

The Stone Collector

About a year after flooding in Southern Alberta became Canada’s most expensive natural disaster on record, I started to notice some interesting things cropping up along the Bow River in Calgary. Cairns and designs of stones began dotting islands and small parcels of land under bridges. Intrigued by who was behind it and what they meant by it all, I went looking for the creator. I found him on Instagram (lc_materi_rock_creations) and met him down at an installation he calls Reachwater Keep.

The music featured in this piece is from Blue Dot Sessions, available through Creative Commons licensing.

This piece was originally broadcast on The Voice of Bonne Bay (95.9 and 98.1 FM in Gros Morne National Park, or http://www.vobb.org), Monday July 25 @ 8:00 Newfoundland time.

Gaspereau Press Wayzgoose Writers’ Salon, 2016

Gaspereau Press describes itself as one of Canada’s ‘most innovative and tenacious literary publishers.’ Just shy of twenty years old, it has been voted Best Small Press Publisher in Canada three times, and its books have won the Giller Prize and the Governor General’s Award.

Since 2000, Gaspereau has been hosting an annual Wayzgoose, which traditionally was an annual party thrown by a master printer for his workers. In more recent times, the event has become a celebration of printing and publishing in general.

For the last few years, Gaspereau has incorporated a Writers’ Salon into its annual Wayzgoose to celebrate the work of some of its writers. This year’s Salon was held at Wickwire House in Kentville, Nova Scotia, on October 22.

The Gapereau writers featured this year were all poets: Matt Robinson with some nights it’s entertainment; some other nights just work; Carmine Starnino with Leviathan; and Erin Brubacher with In the Small Hours. Monica Kidd, another Gaspereau poet, hosted the event to share. This recording first aired on VOBB radio on Monday, Oct 31. (Get comfy, it’s 52 minutes long!)

The Ripple Effect

This post marks a new chapter for curiaudio. After a 12-year hiatus from radio (aside from the occasional cameo appearance), I am returning to my roots in community radio and have embarked on a series of documentaries for Voice of Bonne Bay (95.9FM, 98.1FM in beautiful Gros Morne National Park), and worldwide on www.vobb.org.

The Ripple Effect is a reflection 10 years after a canoe trip I took on the Kootenay River when a cedar tree crashed down on me, breaking my back and knocking me out. I recovered and am in good health now.

But a ten-year anniversary of a near-death experience begs reflection: is there a clear narrative of lessons learned?… how might things have been different?… how should one feel after getting a second lease on life? Grateful? Humble? Lucky?

Instead of finding answers to those questions, when I sat down to reflect, I found myself thinking about rivers. Here you will hear the voices of my kids, as well as music from K2, from the album Blue Dot Sessions (available from Free Music Archive). You’ll also hear a passage from Miriam Toews’ Swing Low a Life and from Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame.

The Ripple Effect was originally broadcast on Monday, July 18 at 8pm Newfoundland time.