Longtime Festival devotee sylvi macCormac is an artist who works with sound. She has created, and gifted to the Festival, an extraordinary work entitled VFMF Soundscapes 1999-2002: Festival Quartet for Solitude. You really need to hear these amazing compositions, a tapestry of ambient sound, spoken word, song and music, to really know what we’re talking about.

To learn more about sylvi and her work, visit


Soundscapes of the Festival


Dugg Simpson: “Years ago I went to hear John Cage perform, and afterwards he answered questions from the audience. Someone asked him to define music. He paused, then smiled and said, ‘I believe it has something to do with the ears.’ Takeo Yamashiro was the next artist I heard express a similar sentiment. He was about to play a concert here in the park. Before he began, he pointed out all the sounds one could hear from that spot – children laughing, the wind in the trees, people talking and a generator in the distance. He asked us to listen to, and not be upset by, all those sounds while we listened to the sound of his shakuhachi”. – VFMF 1999 program notes

Throughout the 1999 weekend, I realized that one of the sweetest spots was between stages where musicians seemed to be playing together in harmony and time. When the birds joined in perfect syncopation my ears and heart opened wider. While composing the audio portrait of the festival i came across one of the recordings made between stage 2 of the Total Gospel Choir & and stage 7 of Takeo Yamashiro. On careful listening i realized that Takeo had intentionally followed the Choirs lead and repeated melodically what he had heard from far far away varying it in an improv with the wind. There are many moments so beautiful.

These compositions inform my ongoing work with Audio-Portraits and Soundscape(s). To work with so many wonderful voices is an honour and treasure. They give me great joy. They are also part of my commitment to a larger community. The compositions are given to the care of and for the benefit of the VFMF. They were never mine to keep or call my own since “the sum of all these parts are we”. (Martyn Joseph)

sylvi macCormac

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Recording notes

Soundscapes 1999 (15:52)

1999 Festival Voices: David Grierson (welcome) Kokoro (chant) cheers guitar & birds David (we will go many places musically) Hijas del Sol (nahalowilla) vocalist Dr. Stogan (prayer for everything to come easy) people on bridge (another bridge, follow the marsh around) Roy Bailey (common treasury) Dr Stogan (prayer going through your hands in a circle) Dugg Simpson & Wendy Solloway (1st person dropped blanket & rays came through the clouds) Steve Earle (to what’s her name, i’m trying hard to let you go) Accordian? & Child (closer! closer!) Grrrl (we got lemonade) Accordian? & Irene Farrera & Steve (i’m never going to let you go) Baby &Veda Hille (birds are bursting their homes, carry on) Dr Stogan (welcome everyone … young & old alike) Hijas del Sol vocalist Darma on morin khuur (beautiful flowers & memory of home) Dr. Stogan (this is where all our people used to meet at one time) Baby & Crow & Grandfather (thankyou very kindly) Woman (wander & reunion) Total Gospel Choir & Takeo Yamashiru (shakuhachi) Wind Grrrl (you go across the bridge) & Veda (rose compares to you) Woman & Man (where is the Musquem?) Jen Paches (grand piano, O you’re driving me mad) Woman (music of the folks, happy to be here) Lynn Myles Rueben (3 months old! earliest memory? last year) SoundTech (testing) Kamkar? Emma Kivisild & David (1st blanket went down & sun came out) Paperboys (i’m falling & she keeps calling me back again) Hijas del Sol vocalist Dan Bern (i had a dream) Nadine Davenport (where home is where i grew up across the mountains) Jerry Alfred & the Medicine Beat Woman (you look so beautiful, laughter) Jazz improv Youth (laughter) Spanish conversation Boy (dad we got a home run) Grrrl (we got lemonade) David & Emma (meeting festival friends) Irene Farrera & Child (Go! running) Davenport (bitter sweet) children (come on dad come on mom, over here) Rhiannon (i’m taking the last train home) Silk Road? & Veda (silver moment) Wind & Kinnie Starr? & Karen Savoka (she could swing) Sound Tech (testing -1 2) Darma ( you can still hear the horses galloping, memory of home) Kat (Whales Tales) Wendy Solloway (important part of life, people who have come & gone) Kinny? Nadine ( where i grew up) Rhiannon (i love this land) Davenport (where home is, mountains) Rhiannon (last train home) Rhiannon & folks chanting Grrrl (if you go across the bridge) child (mm ma jo?) cart on gravel Myles (this is a song about the way that life is) Baby & Veda (i heard her from clear across the other side) Dr. Stogan (meeting place) Baby & Mother (keys & kiss) Wayquay Jerry Alfred & the Medicine Beat & String Instrument? & Veda (wild things in her house, wind through grasses) Earle harmonica (i think we got time for one more quick one here) Waves & Sweet Honey in the Rock (i believe) & Dr. Stogan (mother earth great spirit grandfather) Sweet Honey (Vancouver Folk Festival one more time one more year) Let it Shine (anthem) Volunteers David and Folks

Soundscapes 2000 (48:45)

2000 Festival Voices: Jericho Dawn Chorus of Bull Frogs & Birds @ 5-6am … Hello VFMF may i help you? … Frogs & Birds … i am i am i am i am (festival staff) … Frogs & Birds … Site Spikes … Tony & Joan in Transit … Dar Williams & Site Admin … Joal (you can hear voices that you don’t normally hear)… is this the Admin Satellite? i need some small brown envelopes … should i call Site Transport for that performer? where does the Environment Committee meet? i have a Gentleman from Texas … Joal (raven story) … Dar Williams … Stogan Family Singers (musquem) … Didgereedoo of Kev Carmody (australia) … Oregan or Danu (flute) …Kev Carmody (from little things big things grow) Comardre Florzinha (brazil) Takeo Yamashiro (japanese & english) Danu (are you ready out there? ireland) … Grrl (it’s part of my life since i was 4 years old) … Grrl (dancing under a blue sky, it’s magical) … Mary Jane Lamond (gaelic & english) … Lullaby Baxter (quebec) … Alpha Yaya Diallo (bc) …Martyn Joseph (all this time, wales) … i will never understand it all but that’s all right with me (? christine collister?) … La Bottine Souriante? (quebec) … kid’s laughter … golden sunlight … the fish and the turtle were fighting over a bug … James Keeleghan (Keery, alberta)… it’s such a day of peace … Baby w Musafir … Grrl (punjabi & english) … Lullaby Baxter (quebec) … Musafir (rajashan) … Grandfather (hindi & english) … Takeo Yamashiro or Bonchiku Hoshi on Shakuhachi (japan/canada), Christ the King Church Choir (uganda) or Musafi, Nao mi Pelzter & the Kosher Red Hots (bc & washington) … Linda Tillery & the Cultural Heritage Choir (hit me / little liza, california) … Zubot & Dawson (just don’t let my husband catch you there, bc) … Toshi Reagan & Big Lovely (i’m on my long journey home, new york) … Woman (listening to Judy Small & standing with a daughter on either side of me) … Stephan Smith (all together, new york) … musafir / celtic fiddle … Graham (listening to Pete Seeger at the Festival and earlier at the age of 4 years old, where have all the flowers gone?) … Dugg Simpson (artistic director, thank you) … James Keeleghan … La Bottine Souriante (?) … Musafir or Christ the King (?) … Dorothy Carter w Hurdy Gurdy (Mediaeval Mother o th Mediaeval Baebes, england) … Harmonica Train (?) … Crow / Raven …

Soundscapes 2001 – Tom Landa & Emma Kivisild (Hosts) (62:45)

Thelma LokLook Stogan (Musquem Elder) Barra MacNeils – Novia Scotia Canada Bayuba Cante – Netherlands Be Good Tanyas – Vancouver BC … Bitch & Animal – USA … Danú – Ireland Tanya Tagaq Gillis – Nunavut Andrea Koziol – Ontario Canada Laio with Edelmiro Fernandez – Galicia Patty Larkin – USA … Ashley MacIsaac- Nova Scotia Canada Njava – Belguim / Madagascar Ongo Tragode – Central African Republic Utah Phillips and the Rose Tattoo – USA Puentes Brothers – Victoria Canada / Cuba John Reischman & the JayBirds – Vancouver / USA Rheostatics – Ontario Canada … Kate Rusby – Engand Scrüj MacDuhk – Winnepeg Manitoba Tri-Continental – Alberta / Ontario Sylvia Tyson – Ontario … The Waifs – Australia Voices not identified within composition: Wimme (vocal) – Samiland / Finland Sarah Wheeler – Vancouver BC sylvi macCormac – BC Canada Ugarte Aniak – Euskadi (wood percussion) Aditya Verma – Canada / India … Rain & Bird Choirs …

Soundscapes 2002 (11:11)

Countdown & Running … Crow … Girl (i’m going to fly away) Veda Hille & Her Skilled & Devoted Band (Vancouver) Dr. Stogan (Musquem Welcome 1999) Sweet Honey (from 1999 one more time) Ferron (Vancouver / USA) Road Dog Divas (Ontario / USA) Emma Kivisild (master of ceremonies) Thelma Stogan (daughter with Dr. Stogan) Elizabeth Shefrin (vision of the world) James Keelaghan (Ontario) … Alma de Santiago (Cuba) Man (communion through words & music) Rokia Traoré (Mali) Amampondo (South Africa) Girl (mainstage) Boy (running around) Older Woman (silver pigeons) … Silver Pigeon (flying) Young Woman (family) Ford Pier (hearing new music) Collaboratory playing Oliver Schroer’s Blue Flower Jesse Zubot (musical and family reunions) Geoff McMurchy (music food people disabled access) Utah Phillips (USA) (it’s always like coming home) Woman (Jericho Park, Lotus Land at VFMF) Slainte Mhath (Nova Scotia) Older Woman (i’m going to write a poem) Silver Pigeon (flying) Girl (i’m going to fly away) Ferron (what a thrill to be growing old w all of you) La Bottine Souriante (Québec) Folks (Silver Silver Silver)



Thank you to:
Barbara Chirinos
Kevin Dale McKeown
Larry Pierre Davids
Janet Panic
Wendy Solloway
Cease T’Uy ‘Tanat Wyss
Dugg Simpson
Frances Wasserlein
Simon Garber
Linda Tanaka
John Endo Greenaway
Adam Abrams (www)
Sound Technicians
& all at the Vancouver Folk Music Festival

Thank you to Barry Truax, Hildegard Westerkamp, and World Soundscape Project for guidance & inspiration.

Individual copyrights retained by artists. Not for Sale. (p) 2003/1999 VFMF from / by (c) sylvi macCormac / na / da / bc / soundscape & siwash rock