Corby's Orbit

Corby's Orbit
Listening in All the High Places illustration by John Kricfalusi

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Pursuing The Conundrum Further


Ten years ago, a rejected gallery proposal involving a flaming canoe sparked some last-minute inspiration. With a canoe at hand, my buddy, artist David Hynes, found himself facing a creative conundrum. In a eureka moment, he considered that the word “conundrum” = “canoe + drum,” and in an instant, a unique Canadian instrument was conceived, replacing a doomed installation with a fresh look at art, music, linguistics, culture and the humble pun. He painstakingly stretched three stitched cowhides over the 12 foot cedar-strip canoe, and his art piece, the Conundrum, manifested itself upon the earth.

Producing a thunderously deep (21Hz) ringing roar, its debut on Good Friday 2010 at La Petit Mort Gallery in Ottawa drew immediate attention from art fans, musicians, neighbours, and eventually, the cops. The power of its low frequency vibration penetrates buildings, bodies and imaginations with equal impunity. When played, often by groups of a dozen or more, it ingests energies from people of every race and age, and provides a unified portal to inner rhythmic resonances that can be physically and spiritually overwhelming.

Some of the people who have been caught up in its magnetic field include Santana’s Raul Rekow and Dennis Chambers, Toronto reggae stars Jay Douglas (top right) and The House of David Gang, and jazz biggies Jeremy Ledbetter and Jane Bunnett’s Maqueque.

Since then, David has “followed the drum” to the 2017 Sesquicentennial at the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, the 2015 Pan Am Games in Toronto, the Maritimes, Quèbec City, the Figment Festival in New York Harbour (Brooklyn was particularly delighted with it) and the Muhtadi International Drum Festival in Toronto. The Conundrum has also been invited to innumerable powwows and First Nations events. The First Nations community has been particularly inspired by Dave’s creation. At its first powwow, an elder named it the grandfather drum. He said, “When it speaks, everyone must listen.”

Suddenly in 2020, the world went retrograde, and the drum fell silent. With a shortfall of engagements, Dave and I resolved to take it on its first trip to Manitoulin Island for a week in August.

This meant strictly outdoor appearances in vividly isolated parks and campgrounds, the constant sanitizing of drumsticks, limited player groups, and a serious ban on chanting. We traveled to the north, south, west and east ends of the island on consecutive days, creating mini-events and strong connections wherever we unpacked it.

Only at the wonderful Debajehmejig Creation Center in Manitowaning, where another magnificent canoe was already on display (above), did we find a venue with some possible indoor showcase potential, but the timing will have to be decided in the future. Over on the far northeastern shore of Wiikwemkoong, in the unceded eastern territory, we saw a new powwow center being built, but as with everywhere in the world, the social culture on the island is awaiting, and actively preparing for, a reawakening.

We hope that our quick visit provided a memory and a harbinger, on a small scale, of the crowded unity of communal joy and the escape offered by the living power of music and rhythm. The absence of that power in our nowadays lives is truly a conundrum.

YouTube Link to: Conundrumming

               First published at ROOTS MUSIC CANADA

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Playlist for Corby`s Orbit New / Used Show of 25 September 2020 with Julie Leahy, Deniele Bassels and Susan Aglukark


Illustration:  “Swimmers” Artist: Yuko Shimizu

Commissioner of Selection: Paul Corby 

( Brought to you by Vernacular Binoculars, Patio Patois and Slang Freud )

5-7 p.m. Fridays online and at .  

Canadians in Asterisk’d RED. 

Click on photos to enlarge.

5:00 Rippin` and Riffin`

*Mark Ripp  ~ Old Mike Pence  ~ The Melanias  NEW RELEASE

*Leahy  ~ Interview with Julie Leahy / Good Water NEW RELEASE

*Ofra Harnoy feat. Alan Doyle  ~ Ron Hynes` The St. John`s Waltz  ~ On The Rock NEW RELEASE

*Reza Manbachi & Najva Ensemble  ~ Whirling In Love / Introduction Poem  ~ Passing Through The Dark NEW RELEASE

 5:40 Fresh Bassels (Vintage show from 3 Feb. 2017)

* Denielle Bassels ~ What About Wool Wishbags / Interview / Silly Lio(Live) / We Smile (Live) feat. Jacob Gorzhaltsan, Nathan Hiltz, Scott Hunter ~ What About Wool Wishbags

 6:00 Song Times Coming

* Ben Sures ~ Everybody Matters ~ Gone To Bolivia 

* Retrocity ~ Rise  Up / At The Feet Of The Moon ~ Mixtape 

* Alejandra Ribera ~ Higher ~ This Island 

* Rose Cousins ~ White Flag ~ Natural Conclusion 

6:20 Polar Passion 

* Susan Aglukark ~ As Only A Heart Would Dare ~ Blood Red Earth / Suongan ~ Big Feeling / Interview / Where Do We Go From Here? ~ White Sahara 

6:35 New Disk Colony

* Kayla Luky ~ Bottom Of The Bottle ~ Back To Dirt

* Beyreis ~ The Pursuit Of Happiness ~ Landing 

* Lisa Marie Kruchak ~ Had To Lie ~ Miles Of Prairie 

6:45 Owen Sound

Judith Owen & Leland Sklar~ Somebody's Child Rest of interview n/a, unfortunately.

*The Be Good Tanyas ~ Neil Young`s For The Turnstiles ~ Hello Love

*Laila Biali ~ Leonard Cohen`s Anthem NEW RELEASE

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Playlist For Corby`s Orbit Show of 18 September 2020

Commissioner of Selection: Paul Corby 

( Brought to you by Urgent Tinas, Bold Livias, and Gay Annas )

This show is dedicated to the memory of Toots Hibbert of Toots & The Maytals

5-7 p.m. Fridays online and at .  

Canadians in Asterisk’d RED. 

Click on photos to enlarge.

5:00 Signal Releases & Mixed Semaphors

*Melanie Brulée ~ The Mess NEW RELEASE

*Big Little Lions ~ Distant Air NEW RELEASE

*Lori  Cullen ~ Both Sides Now NEW RELEASE

*Crack Of Dawn feat. Melba Moore ~ Tiempo M.NEW RELEASE

*Joel Plaskett ~ On The Rail ~ Emergencies, False Alarms, Castaways, etc. 1999-2910

*Cootes Paradise ~ Knack For That ~ Downstream NEW RELEASE

*Paul Reddick feat. Monkeyjunk`s Tony D. ~ Smokehouse ~ Live In Italia NEW RELEASE

Mickey Baker ~ Milk Train ~ The Wildest Guitar 

Ashanti Command feat. Sinead O`Connor ~ Summer's End ~ The Avengers Sdtrk

5:40 Toots Suite / Jimi-tations of Life 

Toots & The Maytals (Toots Hibbert 8 December 1942 – 11 September 2020)~ Revival Reggae / Gold & Silver / Time Tough / Thy Kingdom Come / Just Like That (DJZiu Remix 2006)

Musiq ~ Are You Experienced? / Prince ~ Purple House / Robert Randolph & The Family Band ~ Purple Haze / The Jimi Hendrix Experience ~ I Don`t Live Today (live)

6:20 Light Like Lightning, Heavy Like Thunder

 Merle Haggard ~ I Think I`m Gonna Live Forever ~ Big City 

* Lynn Miles ~ Merle ~ We`ll Look For Stars NEW RELEASE

* April Verch ~ Simple Gifts ~ Top Of The Hill NEW RELEASE

Elvin Bishop & Charlie Musselwhite ~ Birds Of A Feather ~ 100 Years Of Blues (Alligator) NEW RELEASE

*Beth Anne Cole ~ Canoe / Song For Leonard ~ Perhaps The Gods Of Love NEW RELEASE

*The Barrel Boys | Spadina Gal / Upgraded Love  
~ Mainline  NEW RELEASE

*Dan Pitt ~ Long Lake ~ Monochrome NEW RELEASE

*Robert Lee feat. Mingjia Chen ~ Wild Wind ~ Ascension NEW RELEASE

6:45 Rise & Shine

*Isabel & The Uncommons ~ Each Day A Little Less NEW RELEASE

Shane Koyczan & The Short Story Long ~ Help Wanted ~ A Pretty Decent Cape n My Closet

Illustration by Jonathan Calugi

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Lynn Miles' Newest Release We'll Look For Stars Guarantees Durable and Extended Wear


The atelier of Ottawa passionista Lynn Miles has just unveiled her new ready-to-hear line for 2020. Lifting off from the runway on July 3, We’ll Look For Stars is her 15th release and is already peaking at number one on the Euro-American chart for August (popping Bob Dylan out of first place). It is a summer/fall collection of all-original songs that has arrived wrapped in a crisply designed, astro/nautically-themed navy blue jewel-box. The sharply tailored variety of song styles is threaded together with snugly-fitting precision around Lynn’s guitar and piano patterns, and her dramatically velvety vocals.

The new tunes substantially warm the inner ear, and the lyrics are fastened on with delicate but sturdy velcro hooks that easily unclasp into persistent questions: Whom amongst your friends is really an old soul? Do we drink to forgive or do we drink to regret? Where were you the day Merle Haggard died? Closure is advisedly of the sort that only profound kindness and perseverance can provide.

She is aided again by the stitching and hemming talents of home-towner Dave Draves at Little Bullhorn Studio, where the 2018 album by The LYNNeS was also fashioned. As a production team, Lynn and Dave (“if only the world knew our genius”) seem to have tried to eliminate all superfluous fabric and accoutrements, accessorizing sparsely to maintain focus on the material itself, with some favourite stylistic accents: a touch of Rebecca Campbell’s vocal sparkle and Greg Leisz’s gauzy Weissenborn on “A Heart Can Only Take So Much,” James Stephens’ looming fiddle on the barbed political rocker “Main Street,” and the electric vibrato underpinning that combines with a finely-woven string threnody, imparting a taut yet lush grace to the album closer, “Because We Love.”

Beginning with the title tune, Lynn is rustling her heart up, over an undulating piano, to broker commitments between the pursuit of those inspirations that are “wild and brave and sad and gold” and staying the course of safety – using the far constellations as guidance, in a way that subtly evokes our own current strategies for surmounting virally-transmitted distress. Although it was recorded between December 2019 and May of this year, none of the material was composed from within the pandemic framework, and yet Lynn’s characteristically pragmatic perspectives seem to offer sound load-bearing strategies and sympathies for the class of 2020.

Embroidering ever wider circles of empathy into the straightforward roughness of the divinely human creations that she discovers out in the world, Lynn consistently develops heartbreaking observational motifs that are as poignant and elliptical as the ones that she designs for the characters that she observes within herself.

Survival of the conscience is for her the essential thematic course to be navigated. Disconsolate imaginings of perfection, possibilities, and potentialities serve as useful alignments but ultimately, her bottom line emerges as “sometimes the best thing to do is let go.” Still, in many of the songs, the majestic “Old Soul,” the elegiac “Merle,” and the rejuvenating “In The Wilderness,” Lynn brings forth memories and bold hopes for that buoyant space where “every game was truth or dare / (and the) whole wide world hung in the air”.

This album conforms to a broad dress code which, combined with its meticulous artisanship, guarantees durable and extended wear, whether at such social events as are still legal, adorning the international arenas of critical acclaim, or worn as comfortable aural evening apparel, privately or within a shared intimate bubble. It will feature neatly in that section of your musical closet labelled “I-Didn’t-Know-I-Needed-It-Until-I-Heard-It.”

Originally published at Roots Music Canada

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Playlist For Show of 11 September with Dan MacDonald and Raha Javanfar


Commissioner of Selection: Paul Corby 

( Brought to you by Lullaby Goodbyes, Elementary Lamentations & Wayfaring Farewells )

Guests: Dan MacDonald, Ross Griffiths and Raha Javanfar

This show is dedicated to the memory of my brother, Gregory Joseph Corby, and honours the cultural joys and legacies created by Ronald "Khalis" Bell of Kool & The Gang and Dame Commander Of The British Empire, Enid Diana Elizabeth Rigg, aka Mrs. Emma Peel.

5-7 p.m. Fridays online and at .  
Canadians in Asterisk’d RED. 
Click on photos to enlarge.

5:00  Corby's Obits

Kool & The Gang feat. Ronald "Khalis" Bell (November 1, 1951 – September 9, 2020) ~ Get Down On It (Live 1981)

Marius De Vries ~ The Avengers Theme ~ The Avengers Soundtrack ( 1998) for Diana Rigg 
(20 July 1938 – 10 September 2020)

5:15 Smackdown Dabs

* Mo Kenney ~ Unglued ~ The Details

 * Jeremy Dutcher - Nipuwoitin / Pornok Maka ~ Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa 

* Catherine Durand - Toit De Pierre - La Pluie Entre Nous

5:30 Three Songs For My Brother, Greg (12 June 1953 - 13 April 1998)

Hal Ketchum - I Miss My Mary Tonight - Greatest Hits

Eric Clapton - Pilgrim - Pilgrim

The Staple Singers ~ What Are They Doing (In Heaven Today)? ~ Singing His Praises 
(Yvonne Staples 1936 - April 10, 2018).

5:45 Afromantic Essences

* Surefire Sweat ~ World Music 

* Okavango ~ Hadar Kirki ~ Okavango African Orchestra

* Dan MacDonald feat. Njacko Backo ~ Atlantic Ocean ~ Rural / Urban NEW DISK 

6:00  Fiddle Fidelity

* Dan MacDonald w. Ross Griffiths Interview / Drover Lads /The Old Grey Goose / Medley (live) / The Reel Of Cluny 

6:20 Luck Of The Thirteenth  

* The LYNNeS ~ Blame It On The Devil ~ Heartbreak Song For The Radio 

Raha Javanfar ~ It Ain't Gonna Happen / Interview / Morning Came Too Soon 

Albert King ~ Born Under A Bad Sign ~ Born Under A Bad Sign 

6:45 Calling The Future By Name

King Ayisoba feat. Konthene Kwabena ~ Modern Ghanaians ~ Sono Mama Maison vol. 1

* Eliana Cuevas feat. Rich Brown~ El Manantial ~ Golpes Y Flores

Abdullah Ibrahim as Dollar Brand ~ Sunset In Blue ~ African Piano 

Saturday, September 5, 2020

Playlist For Corby`s Orbit Show of 4 September 2020 with David Lee, Q & A, Jocelyn Barth and David McEathron


Commissioner Of Selection: Paul Corby

( brought to you by Seismic Asimov, Scorch Orwell,and Bradbury Bars ) 

5-7 p.m. online and at .and replayed on
Blues & Roots Radio on Tuesday at 9 pm and Wednesday at midnight
Canadians in Asterisk’d RED.

Guests: David Lee, Tony Quarrington and Zoey Adams of Q & A, Jocelyn Barth and David McEathron

Click on pictures to enlarge.

5:00 Rewilding Of The Jazz Musos

* Junestone ~ Who Cares? (@TUJF 4 pm Monday) / Interview with David Lee / Planting Pearl ~ Somewhere Over The Rainbow (@TUJF 6 pm Monday) The Beelays Get To Me  (@TUJF 2 pm Saturday) / The Maddie Zed Band ~ Round Midnight (@TUJF 2 pm Monday) Tickets for Toronto Undergraduate Jazz Festival here

5:30 Revivals`Arrival

*  Ronley Teper ~ Crazy Times ~ NEW RELEASE

Busy Signal feat. Josey Wales ~ Bring Back The Vibe ~ Parts Of The Puzzle

Bob Marley & The Wailers (Ziggy Marley Remix) ~ Small Axe ~ B Is For Bob

Tony Allen ( July 20th 1940 – 30 April 2020) ~ Jekalewa ~ Nu Afrobeat Experience

5:45 Tony Tones and Zoey Zones

* Q&A ~ How Do I Love You? / Interview with Tony Quarrington and Zoey Adams / Something Like Spring  (live) / Tomorrow Can Wait ~ One More Thing (Sonic Peach) NEW RELEASE

6:00 Collective Lenses

* Collective Order ~ I Hear You / Interview With Jocelyn Barth ~ Collective Order vol. 3 

6:15 Hand Crafted Buckles & Leatherbound Volumes 

* David McEathron with Ian Siydock ~ Midnight For Leadbelly / Maybe, Just Maybe / Interview / The Tears That I Gave Her ( live ) / His Mother Named Him Angel ( live ) ~ Abandoned Companions & The Abandoned Companions Companion Piece NEW DISK

6:45 Epidemiological Exigencies

* Emilyn Stam & John David Williams ~ Honeywood ~ Honeywood NEW RELEASE

* Michael Reinhart ~ Nola ~ eCHO

* Noah Derksen ~ Land Of The Free ~ America, Dreaming