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February 2009 Vol. 1 No. 1

Wonderful Winter F African Heritage Month F Flamenco Valentine F Marvelous Mandolin F Winter Getaway F East Coast Music

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3 Flaming Flamenco The Maria Osende Flamenco Company heats up Valentine’s Weekend with a three-night premiere performance at Halifax’s FRED. 6 Rockin’ The Rock The ECMAs return to Newfoundland for the fourth time in 10 years, and for the very first time outside of St. John’s. 7 African Heritage Month A roundup of various events taking place in Atlantic Canada in conjunction with our African heritage.

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11 Marvelous Mandolin Brent Denney could be the twin brother of TV’s Jack Tripper, but this Newfoundland craftsman concentrates on fret lines instead of punch lines. 13 Destinations: Playa del Carmen If you’re looking to get away for a winter break, take another look at Mexico. 14 Valentine Ideas Make some new memories for your partner and children this Valentine’s week!

LEAP Magazine does not necessarily endorse the contents of websites mentioned in this publication. Use sensible judgement when viewing any website. LEAP Magazine Technology Preview Final Editor: William Clarke Editorial Director: William Clarke Editorial Supervisor: William Clarke Illustrations: William Clarke Design & Production: William Clarke Photography: Well, you get the picture... LEAP Magazine is published twelve (12) times per year by William Clarke Software. All content in this magazine and companion website are the sole property of William Clarke Software. Opinions expressed herein are not necessarily those of the publisher. Any reproduction in whole or in part, in print or electronic form, without express permission is strictly forbidden. Please contact the publisher for permission to reproduce selected editorial content.Editorial contributions and letters to the editor may be submitted to LEAP at No responsibility will be assumed for the safety of unsolicited material. © William Clarke 2009 All Rights Reserved

Flamenco February

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Fiery new work highlights Valentine weekend By William Clarke LEAP Magazine


Credit: William Clarke

entral Halifax plays host to a wonderful winter warm up for three nights Feb. 13 to 15. The successful Valentine Flamenco expands to three performances in 2009 after progressively selling out with one and two night runs in previous years. Flamenco Valentine is the brainchild of Maria Osende, a former member of the National Ballet of Spain, who now lives and teaches Flamenco in Halifax. Osende also launched Canada’s first Flamenco festival about three years ago, which has become one of the city’s must-see events. She said Flamenco Valentine is intended to bring a spark of

warmth to those suffering the winter blues. The event is hosted at FRED, a combined hair salon, cafe and gallery in a converted bank building on the corner of Agricola and North. “It’s just that time of the year where there’s not that much going on,” said Osende, a touch breathless after delivering a brief preview performance. “It’s a really nice event because the space is intimate, it’s a lot closer than when you (perform) on stage. You get really, really close.” Flamenco is an art that embodies the roots of southern Spain’s Gypsy culture. Continued on Page 4

Credit: William Clarke

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Continued from Page 3 Historically oppressed, Gypsies developed the style from Spain’s myriad influences, including Arab, Indian and African styles. From a dark history that survived the Inquisition, Flamenco has grown into a global phenomenon of dance art. Osende said the piece created for Flamenco Valentine is very passionate and intense, mirroring the Spanish culture. “Emotions appeal to all cultures,” she said. “Here it evokes Spain, flavour, something very different and passionate – I find people really like that here.” Flamenco Valentine features five dancers and five musicians performing a new work choreographed by Osende in collaboration with Daniel MacNeil and Symphony Nova Scotia’s Youth Orchestra conductor, Sri Lankan pianist Dinuk Wijeratne.

“He’s going to be playing with us on Saturday and Sunday,” said Osende. “This is the first time we’re including piano. He’s from Sri Lanka so he gets this really interesting stuff going on.” Also performing with MacNeil on guitar and Wijeratne on piano are vocalist Enrique Rojo, violinist Gina Burgess and percussionist Chris Cookson. Additional dancers include Irena Dumicz, Lynn Gallant, Carmen Perrier and Michelle Raiche-Mardsen. “We’ve sold it out every year,” said Osende. “It’s really a great event.” Performance times are 8 p.m. each night at FRED with the doors opening at 7 p.m. Tickets are $37 for the Friday and Saturday performances including appetizers. Tickets for the final performance are $27 with a cash wine bar each evening. To get yours, contact FRED, the Flamenco Festival Atlantic Society at 2540 Agricola St. or online at

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Credit: Larry Locke

entral Newfoundland plays host to the 2009 East Coast Music Awards, Festival and Conference from February 26 to March 1. An event that started amongst friends in a Halifax bar in the late 1980s has grown to encompass international marketing and cultural components two decades later. The East Coast Music Awards and Conference has pushed the music of Atlantic Canada to millions of record buyers through national television broadcasts on CBC Television promote Atlantic Canadian music to the world through its annual conference.

In fact, many of the music industry’s best known performers like Lennie Gallant, Great Big Sea, Sarah MacLachlan and Sloan received career shots through their ECMA exposure. This year’s event in Corner Brook marks the ECMA’s fourth trip to the rock and third appearance in the past decade. Along with 20 years of growth and development, the lineup of awards has also changed so it’s not just the performers who receive recognition, the ECMA has categories that cover media, management, websites, photographers, graphic design and

recording studios. The ECMA 2009 conference is another way in which East Coast artists and companies can further their careers. This year’s seminars and workshops cover a range of topics, from export readiness training to digital distribution and the music manager’s forum. An entire day is dedicated to publishing, composing for film and television, co-writing and song plugging. The conference will take place at the Glynmill Inn and Greenwood Inn & Suites and is open to all registered delegates. This year, co-founder and CEO of Nettwerk Music Group Terry McBride will deliver the ECMA keynote address and will discuss advances in digital technology, intellectual property rights and the future of music distribution. Over 35 high-profile international delegates from the United States, Europe, Canada and Australia will descend upon Corner Brook to do business with the Maritime music industry during the 2009 event. The East Coast Music Association’s international program provides several opportunities for artists to network with the international delegates, including international one-on-one meetings, live performance pitch sessions as well as seminars and workshops during the conference portion of ECMA. If you’re planning to attend, on-line registration is now available via The pre-registration deadline Feb. 18. After this date, delegate passes will be sold on-site only. ECMA 2009 registration packages consist

of conference passes or executive delegate passes. The conference passes entitles purchasers to all 2009 conference sessions, workshops and seminars. It also provides access to the Discovery Stage and Post Awards Party. The executive delegate pass entitles purchasers to all conference sessions, workshops and seminars. It also provides access to all ECMA official showcases (Rock Stage, Roots Room, Songwriter’s Circle, Bluebird North Showcase, and Rising Star Showcase) and the Post Awards Party. Check out the website for the latest word on pricing and availability. Getting to Corner Brook has also become easier due to newly formed partnerships with Ambassatours Gray Line and Provincial Airlines. The ECMA Fest Express travel option with Ambassatours provides fans and musiclovers round-trip motor coach transportation within the four Atlantic provinces to Corner Brook. Return bus fare is $235 plus applicable taxes from Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. This package includes the Marine Atlantic ferry from North Sydney, NS, to Port aux Basques, NL. Cross-island transportation is available from St. John’s, NL at $150 plus taxes. A route schedule is available at www. Seats are limited so book now via the ECMA 2009 Housing Bureau, Vision Atlantic, at 1-877-847-4660 or info@ We’ll see you there!

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Celebrating African Heritage B

lack History Month was founded in 1926 by Harvard educated Black historian Carter Woodson. It started as a week in February to celebrate the history, contributions and culture of African a.m.ericans. In 1976, the week was expanded to a month. February marks the 2009 edition of Black History/African Heritage Month in Canada. Along with the usual government-backed events, individual communities have also arranged their own unique commemorative events. Among the most notable regional events are two Atlantic stops of Parks Canada’s On The Road North in Moncton and Charlottetown; a plaque marking the Matthieu DaCosta Heritage Trail in Hantsport and the Black Law Students’ Association of Canada’s 18th annual conference, also in Halifax.

Photo Exhibit On The Road North Britain made history 200 years ago, when it outlawed the slave trade in British territory — including Canada. This exhibit was produced by Parks Canada Agency in collaboration with the Multiculturalism Progra.m. of the Department of Citizenship and Immigration. It portrays people, places and key events of Black history in Canada, as expressed through the country’s Directory of Designations of National Historic significance of Canada. On the Road North we invite you to enjoy this beautiful photo exhibit either while it tours Canada or online at the Virtual Museum of Canada:

Feb. 16 – 20 Moncton Moncton Museum 20, chemin Mountain Feb. 27 - 28 Charlottetown Carrefour de l’Ile St-Jean 5, promenade Acadienne Feb. 5 - 6 Tanzanian folk tale plays Shannon Park African Drum & Dance and Choir groups  Sponsors: Craig Foundation, Long and McCuade, SAC Alderney Landing  Various times and various costs  Contact: 464-2084 for details Feb. 5 Film Presentation : Black Mother, Black Daughter

Halifax Public Library 7 p.m. Halifax North Public Library, Gottingen St., Halifax For info: 490.5723 Feb. 5 Health Risks & Disease - community meeting HAAC, Capital Health Black Cultural Centre Hwy #7, Dartmouth (corner of Cherry Brook Rd./ Main St.) For info: 869-6569; 435-9928 Jan 27 - Feb 5  Black Women Enhancing Cultural Pride Tuesdays and Thursdays Alderney Gate Public Library 60 Alderney Dr., Dart. 1 – 3 p.m. For info: Monetta James, 422-8023

Feb. 5 Information Sessions for Immigrant Entrepreneurs Sydney, CB 2 - 4 p.m. Details will be posted at www.  RSVP: Andrea Jackson: (902) 893-8966. Feb. 5 Health Risk and the community - research findings Capital Health  Black Cultural Centre 1149 Main St., Dart. 6 – 8:30 p.m. For info: 869-6570 Feb. 6 - 8  So you think you can African Dance?  Weekend workshop Tatamagouche Centre For Youth  For info: 225-9267; info@ Feb. 6 Information Sessions for Immigrant Entrepreneurs Port Hawksbury, Cape Breton 10 a.m. to noon East Coast Credit Union,  boardroom 299 Reeves St. Port Hawksbury RSVP: Andrea Jackson - (902) 893-8966;

Feb. 6 Swearing-in ceremony for Judge Jean Whalen 2 p.m. Sydney Justice Centre Harbour Place, 136 Charlotte St,, Sydney For Info: 424-3690 Feb. 7 Rev. Dr. W. P. Oliver Night of Honour Black Cultural Centre for Nova Scotia Main St. Dartmouth 7 – 9 p.m. Cost: Donations For info: 434-6223; 434-2306 Feb. 7 Festival of Choirs Municipality of Cumberland County, Town of Amherst, Canadian Heritage, ANSA, CANSA Choirs: Zion Baptist Church Choir, Truro; Second United Baptist Church Choir, New Glasgow Trinity St. Stephens United Church Amherst  6 to 8:30 p.m. Cost:  $8 adv. / $10 door  For info: 902-661-1509;  902667-0907;   cansaecs@eastlink. ca Feb. 7 Musical Performance: Chelsea Nisbett

Halifax Public Library 2 p.m. Keshen Goodman Public Library, Halifax, NS For info: 490-5844; 490-5738    Feb. 7 ABSW 7th Annual Seniors Tea & Social  Association of Black Social Workers  2 - 4 p.m. Ha.m.monds Plains Community Centre  For info: 864-8678 , 876-0091  (For transportation, call 4231729 by Feb. 4.  leave message) Feb. 7 African storytelling, drum, dance, games Halifax Public Libraries, Craig Foundation  Shannon Park African Drum & Dance and Choir groups  2:30 – 3:30 p.m. Woodlawn Branch, Dartmouth  Cost: Free  Contact: 464-2084  Feb. 8 Who a.m. I Craft Day  Halifax Public Library Noon – 4 p.m. Halifax North Public Library, Gottingen St., Halifax For info: 490-5723 Feb. 10 Educating for Change 

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Black Student Advising Centre North Branch Memorial Library Gottingen St., Halifax 6 – 8 p.m. For info: 494-2210;  494-6648 Feb. 11 Throwing off the Burden: Imperialism and the Roots of Conflict in Africa Public Lecture Dr. Hakim Adi - Pan-Africanist scholar 7 p.m.  Dalhousie Univ., Student Union Building

Room 307 For info: Isaac Saney Isaac.Saney@Dal.Ca

7 p.m. Cost $10 For tickets: Veronica at 876-0091

Feb. 11 Matthieu DaCosta African Heritage Trail Valley African NS Association Ben Jackson panel unveiling 10:30 a.m. Hantsport School, Hantsport For info: 902 678 5163

Feb. 13 Enduring Legacy, Enduring Challenge: The Global and Canadian Dimensions of the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade Black Student Advising Centre & The Transition Year Progra.m. With Dr. Hakim Adi and Dr. Afua Cooper 7 p.m. Room 105, Weldon Law Bldg Dalhousie University Contact:

Feb. 12 Puppet Show: Journeys  Halifax Public Library  1:30 p.m. Halifax North Public Library, Gottingen St., Halifax For info: 490-5723   Feb. 12 African storytelling, drum, dance, games Halifax Public Libraries, Craig Foundation  Shannon Park African Drum & Dance and Choir groups  10:30 – 11:30 a.m. Spring Garden Branch, Halifax  Cost: Free  Contact: Toria Aidoo, 464-2084 Feb. 12 African Heritage Month Movie Showcase Cadillac Records - Rated R  Association of Black Social Workers  Empire Theatres - Dart. Crossing

Feb. 13 Information Sessions for Immigrant Entrepreneurs Central and Northern Nova Scotia 10 a.m. - noon 339 Willow St. Truro 2nd floor Colchester Co-Op Boardroom,  RSVP: Andrea Jackson - (902) 893-8966;  Feb. 14 Nia –African Fashion Show / Tea  Municipality of Cumberland County, Town of Amherst, Canadian Heritage, ANSA, CANSA  AME Church Fellowship Hall 2 - 4 p.m.  Cost: $2

For info: T. Halfkenny at Feb. 14 Musical Performance: Deep River Boys Halifax Public Library, Jazz East 2 p.m.  Halifax North Public Library, Gottingen St., Halifax For info: 490-5844; 490-5718     Feb. 14 Musical Performance:  Asia and Nu Gruv Halifax Public Library, Jazz East Dartmouth North Public Library 2 p.m. For info: 490-5844; 490-5718  Feb. 14 For the Love of God fundraising concert Cornwallis St. Baptist Church building project The Music Room 6181 Lady Hammond Rd. 7 p.m. Cost: $20 / $35 couple Advanced tickets only: 453-6007; 454-3600; 429-5573     Feb. 15 African Rhythm & Dance Maritime Centre for African Dance 6:30 – 11 p.m. Location: TBD  Cost: $15 / $ 10 children  For info: 225-9267; info@ Feb. 17 DVD Launch: Crime Prevention Youth a.m.bassadors Halifax Public Library, Youth Crime Prevention Program., Department of Justice 1:30 – 2:30 p.m. and 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. Halifax North Public Library, Gottingen St., Halifax For info: Denise Levangie - 4905723   Feb. 17 Information Sessions for Immigrant Entrepreneurs Valley  10 a.m. - noon Old Orchard Inn,  153 Greenwich Rd South Wolfville Nova Scotia   RSVP: Andrea Jackson - (902) 893-8966; Feb. 17 The Lunenburg Sessions: Folk / Roots / Blues Music Featuring Pat Watson  Lunenburg Academy 7:30 - 9 p.m. Cost: $10 / $8 members  For info: lunenburgsessions@  Web: lunenburgsessions   Feb. 18

Puppet Show: Rhinos for Lunch and Elephants for Supper (P-3) Halifax Public Library Keshen Goodman Public Library, Halifax 10 a.m. For info: Danielle Dungey - 4905738 Feb. 18 Gathering sponsored by UNICEF, A.D.A.M. 6:30 – 9 p.m. Westin NS Hotel, Hollis St., Halifax Cost: $25 For info.: 422-6000  Feb. 19 African Nova Scotian Job Fair  WADE  New Beginnings Ministries Church Auditorium Hwy 7, Dartmouth  9 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. Free to all For info: 435-4648 Feb. 19 Blood Donor Clinic United African Canadian Women’s Assn., Canadian Blood Services  St. John’s Anglican Church Hall, Dart., NS  1215 Main St. (corner of Lake Major Rd.) 5 – 8 p.m. For donors 17 and up For info 1 888 2  Donate

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Feb. 19 Puppet Show: Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears (P-3) Halifax North Public Library 1:30 p.m. Halifax North Public Library, Gottingen St., Halifax For info: 490-5723    

Delta Halifax Hotel, Halifax (all events held at Delta, unless otherwise stated) For costs and registration:BLSA Canada  For info: 877-404-3469 mahoganeyjones@eventspecialist. ca

Feb. 19 Puppet Show: Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters Supper (P-3) Halifax Public Library 10:30 a.m. Halifax North Public Library, Gottingen St., Halifax For info:  490-5707  

Feb. 19 Tour of Local Black Communities in the Halifax area Visit to the Black Cultural Centre of Nova Scotia Noon – 4 p.m. Cost: $25 (tentative)

Feb. 19 African Heritage Month Celebrity Quiz Halifax Public Library 7 p.m.  Halifax North Public Library, Gottingen St., Halifax For info:  490-5844   Feb. 19 Capoeira: Dende do Recife Halifax Public Library 7 p.m. Tantallon Public Library For info: 490-5718; 826-3330    February 19- 21 Black Law Students’ Association of Canada, 18th Annual Conference  Dalhousie Black Law Students’ Association

Film Screenings 6 – 10:30 p.m. Cost: Free Open to public  Youth Workshop - Pursuing Law 7:30-9:30 p.m. Cost: Free Open to Youth For info: 877-404-3469, BLSA Canada Feb. 19 SPEAK! Spoken Word Series Presented by Word Iz Bond Spoken Word Artists’ Collective 9 p.m. Ginger’s (1662 Barrington St.) For Info: Feb. 20 Praise Is Coming - gospel show Auburn Drive High School

300 Auburn Dr., Cole Harbour, NS 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. Cost: $5 For info: Karen Hudson 4626900 x 7501003  Feb. 20 Commemorative Hockey Game - Representing the Old Maritime Coloured Hockey League 1895 - 1930  Africville Seaside Vs. Charlottetown Westend Rangers 9 – 10 p.m.  Shannon Park Arena Cost: $5 For info: Lee Francis 457 3033; Andrew Tench 830-2993 Feb. 20 Black Law Students’ Association of Canada, 18th Annual Conference  Dalhousie Black Law Students’ Association Delta Halifax Hotel, Halifax  All events held at Delta, unless otherwise stated.  Community/ Business Info Fair 9 a.m.-1 p.m. To exhibit call 209-7095 Booth fee: $20.00 To attend: Free  James Robinson Johnston portrait unveiling 4:30 – 5:30 p.m.

Law Courts, Upper Water St, Halifax Entertainment Showcase 8 -11 p.m. Free for delegates Others: $5 unwaged, $10 waged Featuring: Henry Bishop, Candy Palmater, Sugar Free Leonard, Cyndi Cain and more  For info: 877-404-3469, BLSA

Canada Feb. 20 James Robinson Johnston portrait unveiling Race Relations Committee of the NS Barristers’ Soc.  The Law Courts 1815 Upper Water St., Halifax 4:30 p.m. RSVP: Emma Halpern, 422-1491

Feb. 20 Auburn’s Youth of Today’s Group - 5th Gospel Concert  Auburn Drive High School, Dartmouth 6:30 p.m. Cost: $5 with food donation / $6 without For info:Karen Hudson

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Feb. 21 AHM Gala (Halifax) Celebrating 25 years Part of the Black Law Students’ Association of Canada, 18th Annual Conference  Delta Halifax Hotel, Halifax Presentations: Judge Sparks Award, Nora Hicks Award, Diversity Moot Award Featuring: DJ RS Smooth, Asia and NuGruv and more  7 p.m. - 1a.m. Cost: Students/Community  $50; Professional/Organizations - $100; Table (10 seats) - $750

For info: 877-404-3469,  BLSA Canada  Feb. 21 Second Annual Southwest Dinner/Dance (Digby) Digby Legion, Mount St,. Digby  Dinner 6:30 p.m. Entertainment: James Ogden   Dance 9 p.m. (19 and over) DJ: R$ $mooth Cost: $15 p/p; $120 (8) Dress: Semi Formal or Business Attire    For tickets: Wanda 742-0599 or Darlene 245-6464  Feb. 21 Ruddick Family – Variety Show Dr. Carson & Marion Community Centre  Springhill, NS  6 to 9 p.m. Cost: $8 adv./ $10 door   For info: 902 597 8252; 902 667 0907; Feb. 21 African Drumming Halifax Public Library 2 p.m. Cole Harbour Public Library, Dartmouth For info: 434-7228   Feb. 21 African storytelling, drum, dance, games Halifax Public Libraries, Craig Foundation

Shannon Park African Drum & Dance and Choir groups 2:30 – 3:30 p.m.  Keshen Goodman Branch, Halifax  Cost: Free  Contact: Toria Aidoo, 464-2084 Feb. 21 Musical Performance: Asia and NuGruv Halifax Public Library, Jazz East 2 p.m. – Dartmouth North Library, Dartmouth, NS For info: 490.5840 Feb. 21 Celebrating Our Heritage with Voice and Song Saint Thomas Baptist Church North Preston, NS 6:30 – 8 p.m. Cost: Free will offering For info: 435-3949   Feb. 22 - 23 The 25th Africville Reunion & Film Festival Carvery’s Video Enterprises 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. And 7 p.m. To 7:30 p.m. George Dixon Centre, Halifax, Nova Scotia For various schools in the Halifax Regional Municipality   For info: Mark S. Carvery - (902) 412-0525 /  markcarvery@gmail. com   Feb. 26

Honoring Ernie Simmonds Gospel concert Community Involvement Committee St.Patrick’s-Alexandra School, Halifax Doors open at 6:30 p.m. For info: Feb. 26 African Heritage Month Movie Showcase Madea Goes to Jail - Rated PG13  Provincial Baptist Youth Fellowship Empire Theatres - Dartmouth Crossing 7 p.m. Cost $10 For ticketss: Veronica at 8760091  Feb. 27 Imani – Faith – concert Highland AME Choir, UPC Mass Choir, Higher Ground and special friends   Municipality of Cumberland County, Town of Amherst, Canadian Heritage, ANSA, CANSA ARHS – Brick Theatre 6 – 8:30 p.m. Cost: $8 adv./$10 door  For info: 902 661 1509 ; 902 667 0907; Feb. 27 - 28 Voices of Viola  Dalhousie Women’s Centre,

Black Boys Are Reading Together (BART) 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. (reception to follow)  The Bus Stop Theatre 2203 Gottingen St., Halifax (at Cunard St.) Cost: $ 7/ $4 youth & unemployed  For info: Taryn Della- 444-0464, 880-3770 /  Feb. 27 – 28 “The Old Stock” 7:30 p.m. Carrefour de L’Isle Saint Jean Charlottetown, PEI a play called The Old Stock, about the late 1700s - 1800s, when many of PEI’s Black Islanders were slaves. Created by Ron Irving, Scott Parsons and Harry Baglole, Melissa Mullin stage managing. Contains original songs  Feb. 28 Family Fair Carrefour de L’Isle Saint Jean Charlottetown, PEI Food, hair braiding, hair wrapping & crafts in cafeteria.   2 p.m. - 5 p.m. “Charting Black Genealogy, in PEI and Africa” 1) Linda Jean Nicholson & Linda Hennessey - how to do genealogy research in PEI -especially for the original descendants of the Black

slaves & particular fa.m.ily case histories 2) Diane Whitcomb - Dembo Suckles, a story about researching one’s own fa.m.ily tree 3) Ancestor knowledge in Africa with three local Africans - how the oral tradition passes on personal fa.m.ily tree  Feb. 28 From the Heart of NS – A Gospel Experience VANSDA  University Hall (Acadia U, Wolfville) 7 p.m. Cost: $15 per person For info and tickets: VANSDA 902 678-5163 Feb. 28 Ujima Community Health Fair Health Assn’ of African Canadians (HAAC) Black Cultural Centre Main St., Dart. 10a.m. - 4 p.m. Free For info: 423-9811 / 405-4222 Feb. 28 Afro-Dance Workshop  Maritime Centre for African Dance 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.  Location: TBA  Cost: $35 For info: 225-9267; info@

Mandolin Man

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From Nashville to Newfoundland, Brent Denney creates mandolins with a Maritime flavour


n entire generation grew up watching television sitcom Three’s Company. As a young man growing up in Nashville, Brent Denney earned the moniker ‘Tripper’ because of his uncanny resemblance to the sitcom character Jack Tripper, played by the late John Ritter. Although Denney still bears that resemblance, he moved to Newfoundland about nine years ago where he’s established a name for himself making mandolins as Olde Woods Lutherie. If you’re a fan of country and western music, you’re already familiar with the mandolin’s distinctive, mellow tones. If you’re a neophyte to the instrument, Denney explains the mandolin is smaller than a guitar, and there are different types of instuments in the mandolin family similar to

the violin, viola, and cello. The mandolin is the smallest of three types with a 13.75” scale on the fret board and eight strings in groups of two. The next larger is called a mandola and the largest is called an octave mandolin or ‘bazouki.’ The tuning between the three instruments is also different; with the bazouki being tuned an octave lower than the mandolin, and the mandola fitting in between. Denney began his career in manufacturing with a job making kits at Pearl Drums in Nashville. You might say the creative bug was genetic as his father worked for years at legendary guitar company, Gibson. For the younger Denney, he made his way to another guitar outfit, Newfoundland’s Garrison Continued on Page 12

Credit: William Clarke

By William Clarke LEAP Magazine

Credit: William Clarke

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Continued from Page 11 Guitars, after spending some time in Washington State. “ I started there in 2001 and that’s where I really started getting into building stringed instruments,” he said. “I started learning from the ground up on that and worked on different areas of the assembly line building guitars.” He then started working with a fellow at another company where they made mandolins, ukuleles, and smaller instruments. After a few years of that, the owner moved away and Mr. Denney decided to start his own business and maintained his relationship with Garrison by performing sub-contracting work for their mandolinfamily instruments. “(That) was kind of cool because that sort of got some of my handiwork into the hands of some bigger endorsees and bigger tradeshows,” said Mr. Denney. “Alex Lifeson, from Rush, owns an octave mandolin, a Garrison octave mandolin, but I built the body and fret board and was able to be a part of that.” So what’s the difference between a $99 manufactured mandolin and a Brent Denney original? He said there are a lot of factors involved in making the instruments, but the most important thing is the choice of materials. He said the department store models are made of plywood laminate and usually coated with a finish to make them shiny and pretty. His choices in material include a lot of solid Newfoundland birch and spruce and a much, much lighter finish to create a uniquely custom Canadian instrument. “There’s just a bigger difference in tone,” he said as he held one of his completed instruments.

“The sound comes from the wood’s resonation. If it’s covered in a thick finish, it’s going to be muffled. It won’t allow the wood to move, to resonate, like it’s supposed to.” Although he’s not too keen on custom work, he says he offers people choices as far as types of wood, scale lengths, and things like that to maintain consistency. “I don’t mind doing things a little different, but I do have a set design that I like to stick with,” he said. “Basically, in my opinion there’s not one wood that’s better than the other wood. Birch is less expensive for me to buy, it’s less exotic. I kind of really enjoy making birch instruments because I like supporting local commerce and it makes it special because it’s made here and it comes from wood that comes from here. I think that’s kind of cool.” Denney has also made owning one of his Maritime made mandolins much easier than you might expect. He said he’s priced his instruments lower than standard market so they’re more affordable to more people. Where most handmade bazoukis sell at well over $1,000, you can get one of Denney’s Newfoundland birch models for about $600 through his Ebay sales, some retail outlets or at http://www.myspace. com/owlutherie. “Basically, I can make probably six a month, 72 a year,” he said. “That’s pretty good for a one-man operation, going from start to finish.” “It’s a rewarding trade for somebody who likes to work with wood and work with intricate detail. Each Mandolin I make I feel like it has its own sort of personality to it because I put a bit of myself into every instrument - I like incorporating that into my work.”

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The Gran Porto Real pool at night

Playa del Carmen – Former fishing village now unique tourist attraction A

s the fastest growing city in Latin America, Playa del Carmen has transformed from a small fishing village into an eclectic, cosmopolitan ever-changing tourist destination. Located on the Caribbean Sea in the heart of Mexico’s Mayan Riviera, this beach town has grown tremendously in popularity during the last decade due to its central location and nearby attractions which makes it the perfect destination for a Caribbean vacation. Originally a small fishing town, tourism to Playa del Carmen began with the passenger ferry service to Cozumel, an island across the Cozumel Channel and world famous scuba diving destination. Over time visitors realized while passing through that it was a nice place to relax away from the crowds of Cancun but with the same quality beaches

and turquoise waters. Today Playa del Carmen, or “Playa” as it’s known to the locals, is the center of the Riviera Maya concept. Playa is now a stop for several cruise ships which dock to allow their vacationers to take advantage of its shopping and quality restaurants on its world renowned “Quinta Avenida”, or Fifth Avenue. The center of all tourist activity in Playa del Carmen, Fifth Avenue is a pedestrian walkway located just one block inland from the beach which is lined with boutique hotels, shops, bars, and restaurants. Here you will discover real Mexican hospitality combined with authentic Italian restaurants, British Pubs, German Biergartens and hip cosmopolitan lounges. The famous energetic nightlife of Playa

del Carmen captivates and enchants all comers. The streets, clubs and bars are always alive with all types of music and entertainment. It’s a carnival-like atmosphere where you can find mariachi bands, belly dancers, stilt walkers, live Cuban music, reggae, hip-hop, lounge, rock, and blues all adding to the eclectic bohemian ambiance found in Playa del Carmen. Playa’s central location makes it convenient to visit all the sights and adventures the region has to offer. The Mexican themed “eco-archaeological park” Xcaret, the Tulum ruins and Cancun are all less than an hour away. A growing number of high quality hotels of all sizes are popping up in Playa. Many of these have been built within the last few years and offer nicely appointed rooms in all

price ranges. For example, world renowned Real Resorts offer choices that range from the 4 star Real Playa del Carmen, a traditional Mexican style hotel in the heart of lively Playa, to the 5 star Gran Porto Real Playa del Carmen Resort and Spa with its regal architecture and warm family hospitality, right through to the upscale, modern Mexican architecture of THE ROYAL Playa del Carmen featuring the most luxurious amenities and facilities and the spectacular SPAzul spa. These hotels offer travelers the balance of beautiful beachfront locations and the close proximity to world-class shopping in Playa and nearby tourist attractions. More information on Playa del Carmen vacations is available at - News Canada

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Make your child’s Valentine’s Day memorable


ost kids enjoy Valentine’s Day. They relish the time to eat chocolate and show their affection for friends and family. In fact, most moms and dads can pull out some creative, quirky Valentine’s card that they’ve saved from their child who made it with all the love and sticky white craft glue their child could muster. You can make your child’s Valentine’s Day more memorable by: Hosting a Valentine’s Day party: Take the time to let your child invite a few of their closest friends over to the house for some heart shaped cookies and red punch. Orchestrate some games and have them share one thing they really like about the other person. It will be a fun day that they’ll always remember. Giving your child the opportunity to show compassion to another child. Valentine’s Day is

the perfect day to teach your child compassion towards others. By logging on to charitable websites like you can browse the online gift catalogue and help your child send chickens, a food basket or even a school uniform to another child suffering in extreme poverty in a developing country. It will be something different to do, they will learn compassion and tell all their friends about the wonderful Valentine’s gift they gave. Giving your child Valentine coupons: Put your creativity to work and give your child some home made Valentine coupons. Make a couple for hugs, others for treats and a few more as “stay up late” late passes. They won’t forget your Valentine’s day present because your kids will use them all year long. - News Canada

Personalize Valentine gifts for loved one’s


ere are few ways to make your Valentine’s gift more personal. Get it engraved. Even a generic gift like a pen or key chain can be made personal and heart felt if you get your loved one’s name or initials engraved on it. Commemorate a shared event. We all have photos of fun events and occasions we’ve shared with that special someone. For Valentine’s, grab one of those photos and put it in a fabulous frame. Wrap it with fancy paper and bows along with a love letter that tells why you thought sharing that day with them was so special. If the thought of donning your winter boots and heavy coat to make a mad dash to the mall for a Valentine’s Day gift doesn’t appeal to you,

why not stay in the comfort of your own home and visit websites like to purchase a gift of love? With a wide array of life-changing gifts starting at only $20, you can purchase a gift for a family in-need in the developing world. Your in tribute gift will be sent in your Valentine’s name. Give a favourite snack: It may seem like a small thing, but when you need a special Valentine’s Day gift that says “I love you”, try to remember what your sweetheart likes to snack on. Giving someone their favourite snack food like flavoured popcorn, home baked cookies or crunchy pickles shows that you care about them so much that you even notice the little things. - News Canada

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Have your say! As I stated last month, I’m really interested in freelance and contributed material from the Atlantic region. You can send video, audio, photos,stories, notices of upcoming events, reports from a current event, or you could even send a profile of yourself and what you do. It doesn’t matter if it’s a large piece or small, I’ll be able to find room. Send submissions to

LEAP February  
LEAP February  

Atlantic Canadian Arts and Culture Magazine