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Original Music Season I
Season II


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. The music from the Eastern Sierras you can almost hear a mountain brook babbling in the background, while you can almost hear 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.


"Weekend Explorer Theme Music"
Ron Florentine, Peggy Lebo

The theme music to the "Weekend Explorer" was developed by Ron Florentine and his wife Peggy Lebo. When we first started this project, I sat down with Ron and played him a bunch of music samples that I thought embodied the "Weekend Explorer" spirit. With that input, Ron set about creating in his words, "a theme that was distinctive and exciting and that would call people to come and join the adventure".

La Jolla, CA Episode- "Jamaica Cool"
by Ron Florentine, Peggy Lebo

Often times a television series will use their theme every time a piece of music is called for. This gets very old as far as I'm concerned, and it has a tendency to limit the series to one feel. Each "Weekend Explorer" episode has a range of feelings from "hold on to your pants" exciting to deeply reflective. With this in mind, I challenged Ron and Peggy to write music that exudes the excitement and relaxation of paragliding off the cliffs at Torrey Pines.

Catalina Island, CA Episode- "Catalina Cruise"
by Wayne Duncan

By our second episode, music was already becoming an important aspect of each episode. Wayne, a musician friend of mine, wanted to try his hand at writing the music for this episode. He succeeded in writing a number of excellent pieces including this one that for me captures the essence off-roading on Catalina Island.

Catalina Island, CA Episode- "Crystal Blue Sea"
by Wayne Duncan

Wayne created a variety of different musical moods to reflect our many adventures on Catalina including this piece for the segment on kayaking to Frog Rock.

San Diego, CA Episode- "Latin Spice"
by Mario Olivares

While shooting a corporate video to pay the bills, I met Mario Olivares. We were in the middle of producing our San Diego episode, and I was looking for music that reflected the California Mission era that continues to dominate Southern California culture. After hearing his music, I asked him to use it in this episode. He graciously agreed.

Eureka, CA Episode - Odis and Isley
While editing this episode together on the land of the giant redwoods, I realized that the music that we'd written for the episodes in sunny Southern California just didn't reflect the green majesty of misty Northern California. Jan Kraeplin of the Eureka PBS affiliate, KEET, introduced me to this music. I was introduced to this music by Jan Kraeplin of the Eureka PBS affiliate, KEET. This music was perfect for this episode, and it suddenly became obvious that music was as important as the landmarks and the culture in defining a destination's identity.

Mammoth Lakes, CA Episode- "A Night on Thunder Ridge"
by Big Gerry

The music for this episode was the easiest to find. My friend Marlene Clark, who came along as co-host, lives in Mammoth Lakes. She not only knows the name of every mountain, river and lake in the area, but also all the people including Big Gerry. His music fit perfectly with the alpine forests of this town nestled in the Sierra Nevada mountain range, and this piece was inspired by a lightning storm on Tioga Pass. Celtic music like Big Gerry's first came to the Sierras over one hundred years ago with the gold miners that settled Mammoth.

Eastern Sierras, CA Episode- "The Congress Reel"
by Nicolas Buckmelter

It was the middle of winter and I was relaxing with a cup of hot chocolate in a café in Mammoth, after a day of cross country skiing in June Lake. The café was playing a mix of tracks from around the world, when some music came on that I just had to have. After two days of sleuthing, I was surprised to find that Nicolas was a local and he was close a close friend of a girl who was acting in Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night" with me (I played the Duke Orsino and she was the court jester). I met Nicolas when he came to see the play, and his music was a natural for this episode. It turns out that Nicolas and Big Gerry frequently collaborate.

Kanab, UT Episode- "June Apple Kitchen Girl"
by Ellis and Franklin

The music had now become a critical element of each episode. Southern Utah is one of the remotest and least populated places in the contiguous United States. I searched while shooting in Kanab, and then for an additional two solid weeks upon our return. The work paid off, when I found Traveler. When I approached these musicians, they told me their music was "just Celtic". They didn't think it reflected the spirit of Southern Utah per se, but I hear echoes of the wagon wheels from long ago and see in my mind's eye the twirling of a young Mormon settler girl in a calico dress. If you doubt the regional influence compare it to the previous two pieces that are also "just Celtic", but from the Sierras.

Ruidoso, NM Episode- "Black Mountain Rag"
by the Flying J Wranglers

This was the first time music was discovered in the process of shooting an episode. We visited the family run Flying J Ranch with its mock gunfight, followed by dinner, and some genuine Old West entertainment. When listening to this music, I imagine chickens running around after corn feed. A perfect match with us scrambling up the rocks in Billy the Kid Country.

Seward & Homer, AK Episodes- "Augustine"
by McLeod

This was the most difficult music to find in the entire series. I was at wits end, when I found through an Aleut Indian Museum through a DJ at an Anchorage radio station that has a weekly show featuring local artists this great music. Somewhere deep in the music flows the strong spirit that you feel when visiting Alaska.

Elk Meadows, UT Episode- "Are Ye Sleeping Maggie"
by Kirkmount

I was introduced to this music through my association with Traveller, since they are both Celtic bands from Utah. Bryce Canyon in snow is one of the most beautiful sites I've ever seen. The Paiute Indians believed that Bryce Canyon was haunted, and this piece of music is as haunting as they come.

Carlsbad, NM Episode- "Yaquista"
by Mario Olivares and Latin Spice
My friend Mario was very excited about some music he was working on. He described it as a mixture of "Latin jazz, boleros from Mexico, a touch of flamenco with a slight twist of Spanish classical guitar." This sounded perfect for this episode on New Mexico, the American cross roads of cultures throughout history. And, it is! I cannot listen to this piece without smiling and remembering a relaxing swim in the Pecos River with the friendly citizens of Carlsbad.

"Weekend Explorer Theme End"
by Ron Florentine (0:40)
The circle of life never ends, but there are starts and finishes to the many strands in the web. This single drumbeat which I first beat out on a tabletop for Ron reflected the end of the strand that each episode represents for me. It is the time in each episode where we slow down for a moment to just enjoy the incredible scenery of each destination we visit.

Thank you for coming along on this musical Odyssey with me, and I hope you'll join me as we search for adventure on the "Weekend Explorer" television series.

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