Public Salon, May 4 (Global Civic Policy Society)

Sam Sullivan and his partner Lynn Zanatta continue to hold these public salons quarterly, and every time, they manage to find a new set of interesting British Columbians to feature.

The program for the May 4, 2016 one is listed here.

As I entered the auditorium, I was immediately drawn to the fusion music of Zimbabwean musician Kurai Blessing Mubaiwan and an Indian musician from the Bhangra Performers. The salons are always preceded by local musicians before the formal evening begins. It was an amazing combination of African and Indian music that worked terrifically well together.

Sam Sullivan introduced the program as always, pointing out that he does not ever set out to project a theme. But often themes emerge. He also mentioned his ongoing cause, revitalizing the trade language Chinook Jargon (also known as Chinook Wawa). British Columbia is a place with incredible linguistic diversity, but many Aboriginal languages face extinction. This is not just a BC problem, of course, as globalization is aimed straight at indigenous cultures. Write to chinookwawa@globalcivic.org to find out more. It’s always a pleasure to hear Sam talk about this linguistic passion–he truly cares about BC heritage and culture.

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PHOTO CREDIT JOHN GURCHARAN NIJJAR

Among the talks I particularly enjoyed was one by Jocelyn Morlock, an increasingly well-known composer. In Western music, we are taught to think in terms of octaves and the chromatic scale. But with the lumiphone, there are 32 tones to an octave. This is a concept well-known in Indian music (here’s the serendipitous theme emerging). The lumiphone is a beautiful instrument, and I enjoyed the performance by Brian Nesselroad and Colin Van de Reep, playing a composition by Benton Roark.

Mo Dhaliwal combines an accomplished career as a tech entrepreneur with a sideline in performing bhangra. He promotes culture and opposes homogeneity. The striking colors, rhythm, and music of bhangra are inspiring.

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PHOTO CREDIT JOHN GURCHARAN NIJJAR

Former nun Chris Morrissey left her religious vocation when she felt she could no longer deny her sexual orientation. But she has not given up her desire to serve others, as she has formed the Rainbow Refugee Committee to assist people who are living in oppressive environments who want the freedom to build a life with their same-gender partners, or who are simply suffering oppression due to their sexual orientation, their HIV status, or their gender identity.

As always at a Global Policy Civic Society salon, topics veered from humanitarian to cultural to scientific. Let’s hope Sam Sullivan and Lynn Zanatta continue this dinner party tradition writ large for a long time to come.