As the artistic associate for Wavelength’s monthly music series, Daniel Monkman hopes to inspire with creative musical pairings.
November 20, 2022: Ringing out through the dramatically vaulted ceiling of 918 Bathurst St., Charles Spearin performs his most sprawling and ambitious show yet. Backed by a powerhouse gang of singers, instrumentalists, a tap dancer, and gorgeous projections, Spearin makes the most of his hour-and-a-half set. However, Spearin doesn’t pull out all the stops like this every time he takes the stage.
“I don’t do a lot of shows,” says Spearin. Although he occasionally performs as part of Do Make Say Think or with Broken Social Scene, performing under his own name is not usual for him. It takes something — or someone — extraordinary to coax him into the spotlight.
That person is Daniel Monkman.
On October 26th, Wavelength announced Monkman’s appointment as Artistic Associate, responsible for curating the Monthly Music Series for the next twelve months. This series kicked off with Charles Spearin and ambient composer Sunnsetter. It’s a pairing Monkman describes as an experiment in bringing together an up-and-coming artist and someone who has influenced their work. A sort of “passing of the torch,” as they put it. These experiments, as well as giving valuable stage time to underappreciated artists, are central to Monkman’s approach to curation.
“I grew up putting out music between 2005 and 2010 in Manitoba, and a big part of the reason I stopped playing music and stopped performing was I just didn’t feel like there were a lot of spaces available for me at the time.”
They point to Sunnsetter, aka Andrew McLeod, as a key example. Though a key collaborator with Monkman on their projects Zoon and OMBIIGIZI, Sunnsetter is an example of a well-respected artist in their own right who is flying under the radar and would benefit from the exposure Wavelength provides.
“The last time I saw Andrew play was in 2019 or maybe 2018, and I was completely blown away by it. I was like, ‘Wow, you have to do that all the time,’” says Monkman of Sunnsetter, “And then the pandemic happened, so it was always a mystery what Andrew was going to do. I was happy to help in any way that might bring them more confidence in doing more shows, spark new joy and appreciation of getting a set together, performing it and receiving validation.”
For Spearin, it’s a perfect union. One which drew him to come out and perform.
“When [Monkman] asked if I wanted to be a part of the Wavelength series, it was a no-brainer. First of all, I’m a big fan of Wavelength. I was thrilled to find out Daniel was involved. The combination of Daniel Monkman and Wavelength was an instant yes for me.”
When asked to sum up what we can look forward to with the rest of the shows, Monkman boils it down to three words: experimental, inclusive, and Inspiring.
“Every show, people will come to it and be inspired. I think the first show did that.”
Daniel Monkman’s curation of the Wavelength Monthly Music Series continues on December 1st, 2022, with Thus Owls and Shirley Hurt. Visit wavelengthmusic.ca for tickets.
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