How is music connected to culture? Where exactly does it fit? Apparently not on a tiny island, as Michael B. MacDonald, professor, ethnomusicologist and filmmaker, discovered when documenting the struggles of a rock band.
“Filmmaking provides a way for audiences to have an experience with an artist that they likely wouldn’t otherwise be exposed to,” says Michael, an associate professor in MacEwan’s Department of Music. “I think it's an important part of being an academic today to find ways to better understand each other.”
Michael’s most recent documentary, WE’RE TOO LOUD, explores the life of artists on Hornby Island, B.C. Premiering in Edmonton on Tuesday, Oct. 2 at the Metro Cinema, the film follows musician Breagan Smith, who returned to his roots on the island, where he and a group of local musicians put on a rock show – only to have their future concerts cancelled due to complaints of noise and alcohol use. The film follows the musicians’ struggle to maintain their way of life on Hornby as the island is quickly transformed by gentrification.
The premiere will open with a live music performance at 6:30 p.m. by blues artist and MacEwan faculty member Kat Danser, followed by a Q&A after the screening. “It’s an exciting opportunity to have a discussion about the role of music in Canadian society – an important conversation that doesn't happen enough,” says Michael.
It’s a conversation that also makes its way into Michael’s classrooms at MacEwan.
“Being an active ethnographic filmmaker allows me to teach classes from the perspective of what's going on in the world of ethnomusicology, but also in the music industry.”
MacEwan students can show their student ID to receive a special $8 admission to the premiere of WE’RE TOO LOUD.
We acknowledge that the land on which we gather in Treaty Six Territory is the traditional gathering place for many Indigenous people. We honour and respect the history, languages, ceremonies and culture of the First Nations, Métis and Inuit who call this territory home.