Audio Documentaries

These audio documentaries were prepared by graduate students in ethnomusicology and folklore under the guidance of Chris Brookes in Fall 2007.  

Susan's Performance by Ainslie Durnin

A portrait of a classical musician and the elements that constitute her performances. Drawing on the experiences of Susan Durnin, an aspiring bassoonist, this documentary sheds light on the musician's perspectives on music and performance, the quirks as well as the more intimate motivations of a classical musician. To listen, click on Durnin.mp3

Ainslie Durnin completed her MA (Ethnomusicology) at Memorial in 2008. Travelling to Finland to conduct SSHRC-funded field research, her Major Research Paper is entitlted “Un(Expected) Sounds: Cross-Cultural Listeners Perceptions of Contemporary Sámi Music." Ainslie currently holds the position of Development and Membership Manager at the American-Scandinavian Foundation in New York.

Rejection! by Emily Urquhart

Rejection is the great social leveler. From romantic disasters to shattered artistic aspirations—we've all been rejected in some capacity. What can we learn from this collective misery? That rejection is a part of life and looking back, well, "it ain't that bad." Plus, rejection stories make excellent dinner party fodder. To listen, click on urquhart.mp3

Emily Urquhart is a journalist and folklorist. Her varied career has included stints as a reporter in Kyiv, a waitress in Dublin, and a youth hostel cleaner in Switzerland. Her writing has appeared in The WalrusChatelaine, and The Globe and Mail and has been broadcast on CBC Radio's Vinyl Café. Having completed her MA in folklore at Memorial, she is now a PhD candidate in the same department.

A Last Laugh by Erin Sharpe

How do you want to be remembered? Can music influence how people remember you or how you remember others? Does anyone really understand the musical messages people leave behind? Listen to some answers to these questions, and see how musical choices affect what people might be saying about you 25 years after you're dead! To listen, click on sharpe.mp3

Receiving her MA (Ethnomusicology) in 2009, Erin Sharpe's SSHRC-funded research resulted in a Major Research Paper entitled “Music and Identity Construction Among Mi’kmaq in Bay St. George, Newfoundland."  Her scholarly interests include music and identity/alliance formation, Newfoundland Mi'kmaq music, klezmer music, and anti-racist pedagogy. Upon moving to Japan in 2009, Erin worked for Peace Boat, and is now teaching music at Tokyo International School.  

Wireless by Maureen Power

This documentary is about the mid 90's alternative rock shows which took place at the LSPU hall. Through a trip up Signal Hill and three different perspectives of this period in their lives, a time now passed is revisited. To listen, click on power.mp3

Maureen Power is a PhD candidate in folklore at Memorial. Working mainly with video, she has created film documentaries for the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, England and recently used her skills in video production in the curation of an exhibition, "The Battery: People of the Changing Outport" at The Rooms Provincial Museum in St. John's. She is currently editing video from three months of field research on Fogo Island, Newfoundland for the Digital Archive Initiative at Memorial. Maureen is Curator of History at The Rooms. 

The Many Musics of Quidi Vidi: The Performance and Recording of a Television Series by Heather Anne Wright

Every Friday, a musical session takes place at the Quidi Vidi Brewery in St. John's. This is a time where friends and strangers gather and share their love of music, exchange stories and relax after a work-filled week. When I attended to this session, I fell in love with the place, the people and their music. This documentary captures some of the music of Quidi Vidi – natural, man-made, and industrial alike – and explores the recording of a television series based on the sessions. To listen, click on wright.mp3

Having completed a music degree at the University of British Columbia with violin as her main instrument, Heather Wright pursued an MA in ethnomusicology at Memorial, graduating in 2008.  She followed with an MMus, also from Memorial, in 2010. Her SSHRC-funded research, "Taking Up (Men's) Space: Female Musicians' Experience and Identity-Construction in the Traditionally Male-Dominated World of Highland Piping," allowed her to conduct multi-sited fieldwork. She has presented conference papers on pipers and busking at the Canadian Society for Traditional Music and the Folklore Studies Association of Canada . Heather is currently the Owner/Instructor of the Wright Music Studio in Witless Bay, Newfoundland. 

Long Long Long by Marc Finch

In Long Long Long, George, a retired high-school principal, reflects on his life as a Beatles fan and collector. He first began seeking out Beatles records and memorabilia as a child after watching the band perform on the Ed Sullivan Show. From that point, the Beatles and their music have intersected with his life as a husband, father, and educator. With a gift for storytelling, George not only offers a glimpse into the exigent and gratifying practice of collecting, but also highlights the capacity of musical activity as biography. The documentary has been broadcast on CBC Radio’s Performance Hour. To listen, click on LongLongLong.mp3

Marc Finch is a Ph.D. candidate in Memorial’s ethnomusicology program. His research interests include urban music scenes, music histories, and music in everyday life. Like George, he is an incurable collector.

Meditations on Home by Rebecca Draisey-Colishaw

Home is a place you grow up wanting to leave, and grow old wanting to get back to. -- John Ed Pearce

Home. This one word is of exceeding importance -- and anxiety -- to many people. It can be a place of comfort, security, and profound happiness, but it can also be the place we seek to escape, a site where we return with ambivalence, and a location for personal erasure. Whether experienced with pleasure or anxiety, home is rarely – if ever – simple. Since moving to Newfoundland, I have been preoccupied with “home” as a concept. My personal anxieties about how to reconcile notions of being at home and being away perhaps stems from moving into a culture in which travel and nostalgia are such prominent themes, but is also a product of my decision to live so far from my family, friends, and the place where I grew up. This brief documentary brings together music, sound effects, and dialogue taken from a series of interviews in order to explore the very complicated ways in which we conceptualize home. To listen, click on Home.mp3

Born in London, Ontario, Rebecca Draisey-Collishaw began her musical studies at age 7. She went on to study at Western University, obtaining a bachelor’s degree in music education and a master’s in oboe performance. While resident in London, Rebecca was an active freelance musician, teacher, and clinician. In 2009, she moved to St. John’s to begin graduate studies in ethnomusicology at Memorial University. Her research focuses on the relationship between public policy, arts broadcasting at the CBC, and intercultural communications between musicians. Rebecca currently lives in Dublin.

Waiting for Jim by Annie McEwen

Initially, I intended my radio documentary to be a simple portrait of my brother, Jim McEwen. However, in the process of interviewing and editing, it became clear that no one, least of all Jim, is simple. My effort to capture my brother in sound developed into a quiet imprint of what it is to be a father, a son, and a young man who has everything in the world but direction. To listen, click on Waiting.mp3

Annie McEwen is a Memorial graduate, holding an MA in Folklore. Her passion for stories and folklore has led her into an obsession with creating audio stories and all things radio. She recently (2013) returned from a radio documentary workshop in New York City through City Lore, and will be studying radio again this fall in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, with Transom. Waiting for Jim was her first piece.

"A Man After My Own Heart" - An Accordion Love Story by Kelly Best

Listen to the love story of Lisa and Perry Muise, two online daters from St. John's who found each other through their shared passion for the Newfoundland button accordion tradition. To listen, click on Heart.mp3

Kelly Best is founder of the St. John's Women's Accordion Circle. Her master's thesis, an ethnography of the Beaches Accordion Festival in Eastport, Newfoundland, explores issues of gender in the politics of public/private performance.