By Jason Herring, May 5 2016 —
After months of sifting through albums and artifacts representing Calgary’s musical history, CJSW 90.9 FM is launching the Calgary Local Music Library project. The travelling installation of 300 CDs will move through eight different branches of the Calgary Public Library over the next year, inviting locals to borrow albums and explore the past 30 years of local music.
Project coordinator Kerry Maguire says over 600 releases were submitted – meaning that less than half of the total submissions made their way into the installation. She says choosing which releases to keep made for difficult decisions.
“It was really hard. Obviously, we’re not experts on everything, so it took a lot of research and going out of our comfort zones into genres we maybe don’t know as much about,” Maguire says. “We tried to get jazz, world music, metal, folk, rock, experimental stuff. I know it’s impossible to cover everything, but I think we did a pretty good job.”
Chris Dadge, a prolific member of Calgary’s music scene known for his work with artists such as Lab Coast and Chad VanGaalen, also helped curate the library.
“Once we had the whole collection in hand, there were maybe a hundred or so releases I was familiar with already and I knew they had to be in there, so that was easy,” Dadge says. “Then it was a matter of making sure each album was tied to the community in some way, which helped guide the selection process. Like, if a band had four albums and only one was recorded in Calgary, it’s an obvious choice.”
Despite Dadge’s long-standing veteran status in the local music scene — the musician’s name appears in the credits of many albums in the library — he says the experience opened him up to a lot of new music.
“I sat and listened to stuff for hours — a couple hundred albums, for sure,” Dadge says. ”I discovered some really great music and it was a lot of fun to work on.”
To celebrate the project’s launch, CJSW will host a concert at the Memorial Park Library, the first branch where the library will reside. The free, all-ages event will highlight music from Laura Leif, Art Bergmann and Monty — artists featured in the library.
“It’s supposed to be 25 degrees on Saturday, so we’ll be outside in the park. It’ll be at the Memorial Park Library, right downtown, easy to get to off transit, right on the cycle path,” Maguire says. “It’s going to be great.”
Maguire says smaller concerts are in the works for the installation’s launch at each of the seven other branches — such as Crowfoot and Westbrook Public Libraries — during the tour of the archive. Each branch that the archive visits will feature a listening station, and all CDs will be lendable to those with a library card.
The Local Music Library is funded through a $30,000 grant from the Calgary Foundation. For more information about the project and launch show, visit cjsw.com/local-library-launch.