Like almost every other person on earth, I have found it curious that so much talent is often overlooked whilst so much mediocrity is celebrated. We all have heroes from whom fame eludes.
In the mid-nineties I found myself playing mandolin in a bluegrass band with an incredible 5-string banjo player named Lesley Robinson. Les was raised in the Indigenous community of Kipawa, Quebec. The son of an Irish/Algonquin father and an Algonquin mother, his fingers were like lightning as they rolled across the strings, the notes perforating the air like machine gun fire. But he was ever humble about his talent. It was just something he did, like fishing or eating. He told me that everyone back home on the reservation was like him, and that fantastic musicians abounded. I was fascinated. How could this be? Why isn’t Kipawa famous? Yet to the people of that small community in Quebec, fame was never the point.
And like the musicians of Kipawa, our band was never going to “make it big”. But the music made all the people around us smile.
I have long been a fan of Old Man Luedecke and his music. And I’m not the only one. His lyrics and banjo prowess have made fans around the globe. Beyond his numerous and well deserved accolades, he has honed his talent and career without compromise or forsaking integrity – a true artist in every sense of the word.
And that’s the point.
Together, these two kindred banjo playing spirits open our eyes and ears to what music really means, and from where it comes.
It is the alpha and the omega, the beginning and end of what music is for a community, nothing less, nothing more. It is that ethos that compelled us to bring these stories to screen.
It is with this resolve that we, together with you, discover North Preston, Nova Scotia.
Hear! Here! A Musical Geographic – North Preston
What constitutes vital musical culture today is far and away more than pre-packaged reality TV, “American Idol”-style shows. Authentic music can be old or new, folk or hip-hop. Hear! Here! A Musical Geographic finds where this music comes from and what makes it so vital.
Hear! Here! A Musical Geographic is hosted by Nova Scotia’s own multiple Juno award-winning minstrel bard, Old Man Luedecke and Lesley Robinson, an Indigenous musician who grew up in the First Nation Algonquin community of Kipawa, Quebec. Together they take the audience on a journey of discovery as they explore the rich musical community of North Preston, Nova Scotia, Canada’s oldest and largest Indigenous Black community.
The audience is introduced to the community through the pastor at the local Baptist church, Reverend Wallace Smith. Smith is the patriarch of three generations of exceptional musicians. Our hosts join him on a journey of musical discovery and uncover from where this music comes and what it means to the community.
Yet all is not rosy. There are issues and obstacles facing the community. Such as the prejudices that surround North Preston and its people. Les Robinson explores these issues and how a marginalized community calls upon music and faith to survive and thrive every day.
The captivating dialogue and discourse of the program, peppered with musical performances take the viewer on an entertaining ride that results in a heightened cultural awareness.
VERTICAL PRODUCTIONS AND CBC PRESENTS “HEAR! HERE! A MUSICAL GEOGRAPHIC”
DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY JEFF WHEATON EDITOR RHYS WATERS SOUND RECORDIST & MIXER JAMES O’TOOLE CONCEPT DANIEL J BAUGH & CHARLES AUSTIN PRODUCER ANN BERNIER WRITER/DIRECTOR DANIEL J BAUGH
WITH THE PARTICIPATION OF THE ROGERS DOCUMENTARY FUND, WITH THE ASSISTANCE OF THE GOVERNMENT OF NOVA SCOTIA, NOVA SCOTIA FILM & TELEVISION PRODUCTION INCENTIVE FUND AND THE CANADIAN FILM OR VIDEO FILM TAX CREDIT.