Because I haven’t posted many pics

Everybody tells me they like to have something to look at too .. so here are a couple of my favourite pictures:Bear River at mid tide

Mid tide at Bear River, Nova Scotia, where the salt water of the Annapolis Basin meets the fresh water coming down from the hills. One of my favourite places on earth.

I really did see a giraffe in Africa ...

I really did see a giraffe in Africa. This one was in Lake Nakuru National Park in Kenya. Saw a leopard too, draped across a tree limb like a rug. No lions though .. it was midday so they were asleep back in the bush.


Now on Twitter

Just set up a new Twitter feed — new way for you to follow my Roaming Ear. My username is TheRoamingEar (how logical).

I will be setting up a Facebook page too .. maybe Myspace (I haven’t really done much Myspacing .. I think I might try it since it’s a good place for long form sound and video pieces to live .. the advantage of Myspace over Facebook is that Myspace is more like your portfolio .. Facebook is for much briefer, time limited information .. as in, when is the last time you looked at someone’s profile page on Facebook? .. not often, I’ll bet .. the information on Facebook is not organized as well as on Myspace)

Upcoming on The Roaming Ear — how to do a soundwalk .. with examples of soundwalks from Nairobi, the Ottawa Valley and Phuket, Thailand (on Sin Strip .. but we behaved ourselves).

Naked Big Macs on the Tundra

A little late with the news .. my newest podcast is up and running .. here ..

This one focusses on the culinary challenges when you’re north of the tree line in the land of lichens, whale blubber and caribou.

Join me in my exploration of food and how to get it .. along with some surprises .. did you know there’s a Pizza Hut in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut? What’s up with that, eh? And a $1500 plane ticket (and that doesn’t count getting to Yellowknife) will get you lovely food on Canadian North .. best airline food I’ve had ..

The Roaming Ear is Launched!

Birds Eye View of the ThamesI’ve been so busy putting my first two programs together that I forgot to update my blog!

The first two episodes of The Roaming Ear are up and running. And tested out and all works fine.

You can find them on the Rabble Podcast Network. Here’s the link

The First Episode is called These are a Few of My Favourite Sounds — I talk about some of the sound surprises I’ve found in India, San Francisco, The Appalachian Mountains of Kentucky, and north of the Arctic Circle in Nunavut.

The Second Episode is called The Edge of Extreme – a sound portrait of the Tundra and the Arctic community of Cambridge Bay, Nunavut.

In episodes to come — the challenge of finding three square meals north of the Arctic Circle; mosquito busting in Mangalore, India; and how to do a Soundwalk.

Come back and listen often!

The Roaming Ear Podcast about to Launch

me-and-flamingos-mirror-imageThe date is April 15, 2009.

The location is The Rabble Podcast Network .. an eclectic collection of some really great Canadian content.  Rabble will be hosting the podcast, and I’ll be linking it to this blog so you can listen without leaving this page.

Here’s the short form:

The Roaming Ear – Around the World with a Mike

Victoria Fenner doesn’t just bring her camera when she travels.  She always makes sure she has her recorder and microphone in her bag.   Sometimes she records found sound .. fishermen hauling in their nets from the Arabian sea, old fashioned Appalachian square dance band on hot, buggy mountain summer nights. Sometimes she’ll do radio stories about the people, places and issues she encounters.  And she’ll also take those sounds and makes compositions out of them that some people describe as music ..

It will be an adventure .. first episode .. “These are a Few of my Favourite Sounds” .. with the aforementioned fishermen, bugs and square dance musicians making a guest appearance.

Stay tuned!

(PS – the picture was taken by Tom my safari driver on the banks of Lake Nakuru in Kenya, recording the sounds of thousands of pink flamingos.  Looked great, sounded great .. smelled like a chicken coop!)

Ramadan on Nagin Lake

My Muslim friends remind me that it’s Ramadan.   Thinking of Ramadan brings back memories of two years ago, sitting on the veranda of my very own houseboat in Srinigar, Kashmir.

Every morning at roughly 5 am, the prayers from at least 21 different places around the lake began.   Then four more times a day.

In weeks to come, I’ll be putting podpress on this site.. I’m still in Beta mode .. my piece Millions of Gods and Goddesses will appear here eventually, as well as some of my other pieces ..

How to do a Soundwalk

Soundwalking is a meditative practice that I use to connect with the environment I find myself in.

You can do a soundwalk anywhere. Wherever there is sound, you have the necessary ingredients for a soundwalk. A soundwalk is a time to focus on nothing but the sounds around you. It is like a meditation, but is different because a meditation is usually about listening to the sounds inside. The soundwalk is about connecting with the outer world.

In the words of one of my mentors, Hildegard Westerkamp, who introduced me to soundwalking:

“A soundwalk is any excursion whose main purpose is listening to the environment. It is exposing our ears to every sound around us no matter where we are. We may be at home, we may be walking across a downtown street, through a park, along the beach; we may be sitting in a doctor’s office, in a hotel lobby, in a bank; we may be shopping in a supermarket, a department store, or a Chinese grocery store; we
may be standing at the airport, the train station, the bus-stop. Wherever we go we will give our ears priority.”

I have written my own article about how I do a soundwalk.  You can find it here.

On my Magnetic Spirits website,  you can also hear how I take the sounds recorded in my soundwalks and turn them into art pieces.  Much like an artist will set up his easel in the middle of the woods,  I take my microphone, gather sounds and then compose them back in the studio.

I’m documenting the soundscape, but I am going further than that .. I am then taking the sounds and creating a work which reflects what the person, place or event is saying to me