Near Perfect Pitch reaches 25

perfect_pitch_logo_smA reminder to check out “Near Perfect Pitch” hosted by Dara Mottahed, recorded in the CKCU studios. A weekly, 3 hour, Music Podcast featuring the best in Indie, Alternative, BritPop, C86, Shoegaze, Punk, Post-Punk, New Wave, College, new releases, guest interviews and regular features. Near Perfect Pitch has now reached the 25 show tally! (80+ hours of music and 25 guest interviews!) Near Perfect Pitch has a brand new web site at


CKCU mourns the loss of Mary Mackinnon

heavy-friendsThis world just got a little darker as our very special “heavy” friend, CKCU volunteer & show host Lady Mary Mackinnon passed away Thursday morning (Dec.15th) after a long battle with cancer. She is survived by her son Liam and her husband Régis Loreau, also a CKCU host. A staggering loss to our radio and music community, Mary’s light shone brighter than most, an amazing woman of tremendous passion, warmth and intelligence that we could all do well to aspire. Originator of the program Heavy Friends (every Saturday 8-10PM), Mary was challenging and thought-provoking in her approach to radio, always bringing something wildly unique and deep to the airwaves and beyond. She was also a fearless explorer of the globe, sometimes traveling far and wide to be immersed in music and culture that moved her. Mary was also an esteemed and accomplished  lawyer, practicing labour and employment law for over 20 years with a focus on helping those unfairly treated and marginalized in our community. She was truly one of a kind and will never be forgotten.

There will be a “Celebration of Life” that will take place on her birthday (Tuesday, February 21st, 2017) at First Unitarian Congregation of Ottawa and St. Anthony’s Hall. More details to follow… donations in her name/honour to Kidney Cancer Canada (where Mary was a board member) would be greatly appreciated.

Also, this past Saturday evening, a special show featuring words and music from Lady Mary… hosted by Bijon Roy, Chris Ikonomopoulos and Régis Loreau from the Heavy Friends crew.

Kelly Sloan w/ Curtis Chaffey on The Saint Brigid’s Sessions

ksloan_cchaffeyTune in to Stephen Neale’s edition of the Saturday Morning program for the SAINT BRIGID’S SESSIONS. Recorded at the Saint Brigid’s Centre for the Arts, located in Ottawa’s Lowertown, this former church, which was built in 1890, plays the ideal host to the sessions.  The goal of the Saint Brigid’s Sessions is to capture live unplugged performances by artists in as technically minimal and unobtrusive manner as possible in order to capture a natural sound in what really is a magnificent sounding space.

The Saint Brigid’s Sessions are sponsored by Brigid’s Well, a pub located in the basement of the Centre.  Brigid’s Well is open Wednesday through Sunday beginning at 4PM. The address is 310 St. Patrick Street.

The next Saint Brigid’s Sessions airs Saturday, December 24th at 9AM featuring Kelly Sloan with Curtis Chaffey. Photo Credit: Josée Robillard.

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#WhatDrivesYou: Ryan Bresee


Ryan Bresee sits in the on air studio at CKCU.
words and photo by Beverly Osazuwa

Ryan Bresee is the host of Whatever’s Cool with Me, a general music show for all people and genres.

How long have you been involved with CKCU?

I started with CKCU when I was a student here. I was a student in the journalism program from 1995-99 and I started volunteering in 1996. I would come in and just volunteer in-between classes and started doing the closed circuit.

An over-nighter opened and I did a 2 in the morning to 7 in the morning shift for a few months, and then a Thursday morning spot opened. I applied for it and I started doing that in August of 1997, so this past august I just celebrated 19 years in that time slot. I’m just trying to do something special for 20 next year.

What made you want to be involved with radio/CKCU?

I’d been listening to CKCU while I was in high school and I was really drawn to a lot of the music. I like pop music and I grew up listening to old country, old rock, classical and stuff like that. I liked pop music, but I really liked a lot of the indie rock stuff, the rap, and electronic was starting to become a bigger thing at that point and I really wasn’t hearing that elsewhere. Continue reading

#WhatDrivesYou: Shelley Ann Morris



words and photo by Erik Stolpmann

Shelley Ann Morris is a co-host of Welcome to My World—a Wednesday morning program made by, for, and about people with disabilities.

How long have you been involved at CKCU?

I’ve been a host for about three years, but I’ve been an avid listener since I was a kid. I can remember when CKCU went on the air November 1975, and I’ve listened on and off ever since I was about 14 years old. So I guess I’ve been involved since that time but an actual host for 3 years.

When we’re broadcasting—when we’re putting together our shows on-the-air—we never know who’s going to be listening. I was that little kid upstairs in her bedroom with the radio turned on, doing her homework while listening to the likes of Junior Smith, Ron Sweetman, John Tackaberry, and Roch Parisien, who are still around in different forms.

Why did you first become involved?

I always dreamed of being on the radio. You know when you’re a kid, and you have these dreams, but then life gets in the way, and you put those dreams on the shelf for a little bit—but they stay with you.

What happened with us, on January 14, 2012, Matthew Crosier was doing a presentation at CKCU related to making good radio. So we showed up—myself, my co-host Kim Kilpatrick, and another woman named Parastou—after hearing about it from Chris White. Of course, Chris is the host of Canadian Spaces on CKCU, and I think his whole reason for being is to give other people their voice. With his help and support from others, we decided that this was something that we wanted to pursue. Chris said, “Okay, you want to learn how to be on the radio? I can show three blind and visually impaired people how to do that.” So we did some sessions in the practice studio and we learned our craft and Chris taught us a lot of things. With lots of practice, we ended up feeling confident and proposed a show called “Welcome To My World.”

What is the premise of your program?

At that time, I don’t think there was another disabilities show on the air in Ottawa. So we proposed a show by, for, and about people with disabilities.

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#WhatDrivesYou: Richard Parks of Both Kinds of Music

Richard Parks sits at a desk, smiling.

photo and words by Erik Stolpmann

Richard Parks hosts a long-running show, Both Kinds of Music, on CKCU FM. As Parks heads into his 11th Funding Drive, we asked him—what drives you? 

How long have you been involved in CKCU?

I started with CKCU in late 2004 and Both Kinds of Music started in March 2005.

What made you want to start a show at CKCU?

I wanted to highlight the local community and show people great music was happening here. I just wanted to focus on the shows I was going to and the musicians that I saw there. And it sort of morphed into a show of six or seven songs I geek out about—they come from anywhere in the world. But the bulk of the show comes from who’s playing around town, who’s released records, and I want to make sure everyone knows that they’re happening.

What is the premise behind Both Kinds of Music?

In my mind, Both Kinds of Music is country-ish rock and garage-ee rock. It could also be local and international. But it really comes down to that I like the country music and the garage music. Genres are silly. No one works in a genre. I find that artists that start in one end up in different ones. At the end of the day, the show is really about music I like, and that’s the only definition that matters.

Why have you stuck around for so long?

It is work—really fun work. When I started, I didn’t realize what CKCU meant to the local community.

Over the 11 years I’ve been there, I really do see from an artist’s point of view that we’re there to promote new artists and give them that opportunity. I know from the people that put on music—Irene’s, Zaphod’s, Dominion Tavern, Blacksheep Inn, or even the National Arts Centre—that it matters to them if someone in the media is helping them do what they’re doing.

So I was just flabbergasted last year during the funding drive when Irene’s called in a huge generous donation for me. I’m just a patron of Irene’s, is what I think. But then I started to think that I play a lot of music, and I talk about that—and that matters to them. At the end of the day, the main reason I stay at CKCU is that all the work that I put in comes back at me so hard and so fast, and it pays me back in ways that I could never anticipate. Continue reading

surinder_jajeet_smAsian Sounds in partnership with Urban Tandoor restaurants (Bells Corners location) have arranged for a lunch buffet on the 29th of October at 11:30 a.m. The lunch buffet is priced at $15.00. Part of the proceeds will go to CKCU’s funding drive. Please call Urban Tandoor at 613-820-1700 for reservations and mention “CKCU Funding Drive”. Please make your reservations before the 28th of October. Asian Sounds is hosted by Jagjeet and Surinder Sharma (pictured here) every Wednesday evening from 6 – 7 PM on CKCU!

Interview: LUKA talks songwriting and making movies as a kid

The cover of artist LUKA's new album, Summon Up a Monkey King. Pictures LUKA sitting on a chair in front of a mostly blank wall.

By Renee LeBlanc

Luke Kuplowsky, or LUKA, is a sad but beautifully amorous voice who resides in Toronto, Ont. He’s soft spoken and passionate. His fourth release, Summon Up a Monkey King, was released in June 2016 on Yellow K Records. CKCU’s Renee Leblanc caught up with LUKA to talk about the new album, his inspirations, and making movies as a kid. This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

How would you say your taste in music has influenced the music that you’ve created?

LUKA: I guess with Monkey King, I was listening to lots of Jonathan Richman, and Nina Simone, and Arthur Russell. Specifically they’re all singers who have a lot of freedom and an unstructured feel to their vocal performances. So there’s this kind of sincerity in their vocals that seems to be unconstrained by strict forms. I wanted to, in this album, speak to the songs very honestly, and I think they were touchstones for people who sing in a very untraditional way.

CKCU: So would you say that your vocals are the main focus on Monkey King?

LUKA: Yeah, I’d say there’s an element—and the instruments definitely help create a certain space where those vocals can lie—but I definitely try to approach the songs through the vocal performance and find a very natural, and sometimes nontraditional, way to do that.

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From humble radio beginnings, Debaser continues to grow

Rachel Weldon (left) and Emily McQuarrie (right) stand holding a Frquency posterby Gillian Francis

Rachel Weldon named Debaser after a Pixie’s song she found while scrolling through her iPod.  Debaser started as a CKCU FM radio show that gradually grew to become a local promoter of under-recognized acts in Ottawa’s music scene.

Weldon and her partner Emily McQuarrie are planning to make a few major alterations to Debaser starting this fall, including changing the status of the organization and restoring an old show.

Debaser curates events regularly that showcase local bands. The organization also focuses on putting underrepresented genders on stage, such as women and people who are a part of the LGBTQ spectrum.

“Part of our goal in putting underrepresented folks on stage is to help other folks to be inspired.  They see themselves in the person on stage and they picture themselves as performers. You know, they look like you,” Weldon said.

As a part of this goal, Debaser collaborates with other local collectives such as Babely Shades, an organization that aids in assisting individuals of colour within the artistic industry.  Debaser and Babely Shades collaborate to show how seemingly progressive punk spaces are reinforcing the same hierarchy and marginalization seen across the music industry as a whole.

“They are incredible. They have done some of the most challenging and selfless work and I know it’s been so hard on their collective and them personally.  It’s very emotional work and thank goodness for them,” Weldon said. “They were pretty much the first people to call us out on not really considering the erasure of colour in the music scene and it’s always difficult to receive criticism but it’s so essential.”

Debaser was not always an organization.  It had its humble beginnings as a radio show. Weldon said she first broadcast the show through CKCU FM 93.1 for the first time in October 2012.

Shortly after this, McQuarrie joined through her connection with Weird Canada, a blog for emerging and experimental Canadian musicians and artists.

“The executive director at Weird Canada, Marie Flanagan, sent an email and was like ‘You both are interested in doing shows in Ottawa. You should connect,’” Weldon said. “So we did our first show together—probably it was in May 2013.”

McQuarrie said Weird Canada inspired her to get involved with Debaser and helped her build it into the organization it is today.  The excitement she felt for the music industry, the community, and for interacting with people is what McQuarrie said pushed her to be involved music. Continue reading