This weekend I witnessed a true marriage between narrative and song – The Peptides‘ CD Release of reVenGe of tHe viNyL caFe. The Peptide’s CD provides ‘theme songs’ for each story in Stuart McLean’s book, Revenge of the Vinyl Cafe. The show at The Black Sheep Inn in Wakefield, Quebec was amazingly entertaining and energetic. The special guest star (Stuart McLean himself!) introduced each song on the album with a shortened version of each story. Although I had heard many of the stories on CBC previously, hearing them again and then listening to a song that evoked the humour, sadness, and/or action of the story was like watching musical theatre one sound bite at a time. The book and CD really should be sold as a boxed set!
Stuart McLean’s Vinyl Cafe CBC Radio show is a staple in our family; we introduced our adolescent girls to it during our long car rides across Europe last year and they couldn’t get enough of Dave’s antics. I started reading and listening to these stories about four or five years ago. Between The Vinyl Cafe and The Rick Mercer Report, I understand the real culture of Canada better than reading any immigration manual.
I have always loved reading aloud to my daughters and I think that’s why I love The Vinyl Cafe so much – it’s like having stories read aloud to me so they come alive in my imagination. And I especially love having a story interpreted in different ways – Wicked’s twist on The Wizard of Oz both in book and stage form is one of my favourites. So when I heard about the theme songs for the Revenge book I was intrigued. Not only because my sister-in-law is one of the many talented members of The Peptides (which is how I found about all this in the first place), but I love seeing stories expressed in songs and songs that tell a story.
So all four of us take the train to Ottawa and drive up to Wakefield last Saturday afternoon for the first matinee show in The Peptides history. My girls at ten and twelve were by no means the youngest in the crowd milling about waiting for the show to start; there were kids as small as four I think, towed along by their parents, sitting on stools and looking at the stage full of old couches and floor lamps with slight curiosity. After settling our girls in the front row (their Aunt was in the band after all), we took seats in the back since they were the only ones left an hour before showtime. But it was a happy accident because from the back I could not only see how the whole band worked together to put on a cabaret-like musical show, I was able to dance around a bit myself!
As we head back home on the train today, I am still smiling about it all – hearing the stories and the songs, meeting The Peptides and Stuart McLean (he autographed my book and shook both my girls’ hands!), and seeing one of the most creative groups of people perform. I can’t wait to start reading these stories at bedtime tonight!