Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Review/ The Sicilian Wife

Award-winning author Caterina Edwards centers her latest mystery novel around a Mafia princess who moves to Canada to escape her family ties

The Sicilian Wife is the latest novel by English-born, Edmonton-based writer Caterina Edwards. It is part of the literary noir genre, as well as being a work of mystery.

To summarize the story, Fulvia is a Mafia Princess who escapes the shackles of being the dutiful daughter of her controlling family. Despite her new life in Canada, her husband is murdered on the Sicilian coast. Marisa is the chief of police investigating the case, who constantly has to deal with a station house of men constantly doubting her. She eventually confronts Fulvia's uncle, a tough Mafia boss. 

Featuring two strong women main characters, the story jumps back and forth between locations (Italy and Canada) and time periods. Edwards weaves recent Italian history with Edmonton locations, folk takes and classical references with the style and structure of a detective novel. The end result is a complicated tale of family loyalty, independence, and ultimately justice with some surprising twists and excellent character development. 

The recipient of numerous awards and accolades for her work, Edwards was most recently inducted into the Salute to Excellence Hall of Fame for Arts and Culture.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Deserted Island Collection/ Jesse & the Dandelions

Ahead of their True Blue album launch, we asked local band Jesse and the Dandelions what their 'Deserted Island Collection' would be...

by emil tiedemann

EDMONTON-based art/space pop band Jesse and the Dandelions - led by producer & engineer Jesse Northey - are about to launch their third full-length album, True Blue, on September 9th. 

Jesse and the Dandelions' 'True Blue' will be available Sept. 9

The four-piece will also kickoff a tour across Western Canada to support the new record, starting in their hometown Edmonton with an album release party on Thursday, Sept. 1st (8PM) at the Needle Vinyl Tavern (10524 Jasper Avenue). The evening will also include performances by Raleigh and Cantoo, and tix are available HERE!

So, to mark this special occasion, we wanted to get to know frontman Jesse Northey on a more...musical level! I Heart Edmonton asked Northey what five albums he would bring with him if he were ever cast onto a deserted island for an ambiguous amount of time. 

Of course, this is a purely hypothetical situation that would require a record player and the electricity to play it, but let's just use our imaginations, shall we! Here's what Northey came up with...

1) Good News For People Who Love Bad News - Modest Mouse - I’ve loved this album forever! "World at Large" has been my favourite song since I first heard it (downloading it illegally through Kazaa in grade eight) The first five tracks in a row are just perfect. Also, it was featured on The OC! So good! I remember my mom buying it for me for Christmas one year and we all listened together. My parents didn’t like the songs where Isaac Brock shouted, but they loved the ballads.

2) Sky Blue Sky- Wilco -Really personal record for me! Got my heart ripped out to this record, but it’s also just so cool. Makes me feel like an old dad who’s rediscovered The Beatles. Everyone really likes Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, but I’m not ashamed to say I like this one more! There’s a scene in Boyhood (Richard Linklater) that says everything you need to say about this record. “He sings about doing the laundry!”

3) Congratulations - MGMT - At first, I hated this record because it’s just weird. I thought they were intentionally trying to push me away! Now I listen all the time. Maybe I’m weirder now. Likely! There’s a song called "Siberian Breaks" on it that’s around 13 minutes long and is just the best! I want to make a song that is that interesting and that long. They also just make atrocious choices for certain sounds, but I love how bold it is. 

4) Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots - The Flaming Lips - Although my favourite Flaming Lips song is "The Spark That Bled" (which is on The Soft Bulletin), I overall like this record better. I love how breakbeaty/erratic the drums are. I love the sincerity of Wayne Coyne’s voice. Songs about robots? Yes please! There’s also hardly any guitars, and I always struggle with that in my own music. This record shows so much restraint while also holding nothing back at the same time! Definitely look up to the production of this record a tonne.

5) In Rainbows - Radiohead-  I personally think this is where Radiohead hit their stride. It sounds like a band, there’s super cool electronic elements. It’s accessible, but it also has depth. Also, one time I was driving through B.C., listening to the song "Nude" and I came around a corner and saw a beautiful meadow, forest, and rainbow all in one! You can’t beat experiences like that.

Check out Jesse and the Dandelions' latest single from their True Blue album, "No Fun." 


Sunday, August 7, 2016

Review/ Sandy Beaches to Snow/Snow to Sandy Beaches & Good Night Philippines, Good Night World

Common Filipino-Canadian experiences are highlighted in a pair of colourfully-illustrated children's books from Edmonton author Mila Bongco-Philipzig

by paula e. kirman

CHILDREN'S author Mila Bongco-Philipzig has not one, but two picture storybooks published by Anvil this year. An Edmonton resident by way of the Philippines, Bongo-Philipzig's work represents both the city's diversity and the reality of mass emigration of people from the Philippines to cities throughout the world.

Sandy Beaches to Snow/Snow to Sandy Beaches is literally a two-sided book that meets in the middle. The first half shows a family with children who are excited about travelling for the first time and saying goodbye to the sunny land they know as they pack heavy clothing that they will need in Canada. The second half shows the family, years later, getting ready to visit the Philippines, with the children eager to see their grandparents and cousins they have never met. A wordless centrespread illustrates the meeting of the two worlds.

Good Night Philippines, Good Night World presents children and parents saying good night to each other, one in the Philippines in the traditional language of their specific Filipino ethnic group, and the other in the language of the country where he or she is working. Technology brings the loved ones together to say “good night” and “I love you.” It features common destinations where Filipino people are working abroad, and will expose young readers of any cultural background to a variety of languages. A Pronunciation Tips guide at the end will prove very helpful.

These books do not stand on the power of their words alone. The respective artists who illustrated the books have created colourful, exciting scenes that complement the stories well.

Mila Bongco-Philipzig has written two modern children's books for a modern world. Aimed at ages six and up, they are both fun and teach important lessons about culture, diversity, and family.