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Original Music Season II
Season I

The “Weekend Explorer” series uses original music that is made, whenever possible, by musicians from the featured destination. I have found time and time again that musicians are influenced by their surroundings, whether they know it or not. The same exact traditional Celtic piece played by a musician in the Eastern Sierras will sound very different from that same piece played by a musician in Southern Utah. In the music you can almost hear a mountain brook in the Eastern Sierras babbling in the background, or wagon wheels turning in the music from Utah. Below is an explanation of our different episodes with the musicians and the music that adds so much flavor and texture to each “Weekend Explorer” experience.

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Enjoy a music sample by Weekend Explorer artist Mario Olivares.

Santa Fe, New Mexico Episode– Mario Olivares and Latin Spice
Having first used their debut CD to reflect the Spanish Missions of California in the San Diego episode, their sophomore CD followed to express the excitement of exploring Carlsbad, New Mexico, we were happy to find that their third CD was a perfect fit for the sublime holiness of Santa Fe.

Laughlin, Nevada Episode– by Ed Drury
Finding appropriate music by a local artist can be a challenge, especially in an area as small as Laughlin, Nevada. So, I searched the internet for Laughlin and Las Vegas. Interestingly, Ed Drury’s name came up. His music based on the didgerido, a wind instrument created by the aboriginals of the deserts of Australia, was a great connection in my mind to this desert community. Ed even used to play at a yearly festival in Laughlin, even though he actually lives in wet and cool Portland, Oregon.

Santa Monica, California Episode– by The Knights
For all of the original music that we had for the different destinations in California, we thought that we’d have something that would work with Santa Monica. We were wrong. Santa Monica has its own distinct feel, so I set off looking for some surf music. I first considered Dick Dale, King of the Surf Guitar. He is well known in Southern California and many people recognize his music from the film “Pulp Fiction.” His music was a little hard core for us, and it did not reflect the lighter side of enjoying the beach. We then found “The Knights,” also a well known surf guitar band that has been around forever. The music was exactly what the doctor ordered.

Whitefish, Montana Episode– by The Drum Brothers
This was by far the easiest music to find to date. I was rummaging through a local independent music store in Whitefish. After listening to half a dozen local artists, I selected “The Drum Brothers.” After talking with Matthew Marsolek, the leader of the group, he was excited yet concerned about the music working. He was of the firm belief that his music was pure African based music. We have heard this so many times from our musicians. I have come to firmly believe that musicians are greatly affected by their surroundings. I do think it was a bit of a leap of faith even for us to match an “African” inspired music with the lush green moist environment of Whitefish and Glacier National Park. My lingering concerns were quelled when the head of the Whitefish Chamber of Commerce called us up on seeing the completed the show saying, “Great show, and I love the music!”

Hong Kong, China Episodes– by Jia Peng Fang
The music for our Hong Kong episodes was by far in a way the most difficult. I literally listened to over a hundred CDs and bought about 25. None of them fit. Either they were relaxation music, which doesn’t express the vibrant city that is Hong Kong, or they were electronic not the acoustic music that we insist on. After months of looking, and great frustration, I happened on White Swan Music that distributes a number of Asian artists including Jia Peng Fang from China.

Conwy, Wales Episode– by Male Voice Choir and Scott Williams
The Welsh are known for their choirs, and I detailed their history in this episode. Idwal, our Welsh guide, sings in the Penrhyn Male Voice Choir. So, we knew we were going to use some of this music. But, it was not upbeat enough for the whole episode. I have worked with dozens of Celtic bands and have numerous CDs. I was sure that one of these would work, yet none of them seemed to fit quite right. Literally the night before we were supposed complete this episode my editor voiced what I was already thinking. Instead of the relaxing evening I had planned, I stayed at work. I had met Scott Williams at a Renaissance faire and I bought two of his CDs. He plays traditional Celtic and original music on the dulcimer. I hadn’t heard these CDs for 8 months or more, but I put them on for a listen. They were exactly what I was looking for, even though Scott heralds from my hometown of San Diego and not Wales.

Windermere, England Episode– by Grandson of Morris On
In our first night in Windermere, before catching the premier with my crew of the latest Harry Potter film in the most crowded, hottest, local movie theater I’d ever been in, I found my way to the local music shop. After describing what I was looking for, the music shop owner said that he had only one suggestion. He handed me a Grandson of Morris On CD with the musicians on the cover dressed up like they were straight out of “Monty Python’s Flying Circus.” I knew right away just from the cover that this would be the perfect lighthearted and often times tongue-in-cheek music to reflect the English. We threw it on for a listen, and I left contented that I’d gotten off easy on a sometime trying aspect of my job.

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