Tim Readman, whom I work with, is also a wonderful musician. Lately he’s been involved in a project on behalf of the Portland Hotel Society at The Irish Heather.
The project, a benefit concert and CD is called In the Heather.
The Irish Heather lies in the heart of the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, which is one of the poorest urban neighbourhoods in Canada. The daily struggle of the residents of the downtown eastside in the face of poverty, homelessness, drug addiction, mental illness and HIV/AIDS is well known. Less well known perhaps is the tremendous community spirit that exists in that neighbourhood, a spirit that has given birth to and nurtured organizations like the Portland Hotel Society. Since 1993, the Portland Hotel Society has provided housing for people considered “hardest of the hard to house”. They also provide a full range of support services to their tenants, both in the traditional social services, as well as art and poetry evenings, communal suppers and other cultural and community events. When the Irish Heather regulars were looking for a way to give back to the community, the Portland made a natural partner. In the spring of 2001 they approached Derek Bird, veteran sound engineer with the CBC, with the idea of putting together a benefit CD. He immediately adopted the project and donated his time, expertise and energy to making the recording. The Irish Heather regulars entered a studio in the basement of CBC Vancouver and held a live session. Seven hours later, they emerged with one of the finest recordings of traditional music ever to come out of Vancouver’s vibrant scene.
Please support this great project if you can. As an added bonus, I can attest to the greatness of the CD.