West Coast woods are tinder dry by the end of the summer, and composer Rudolf Komorous, whose house is surrounded by statuesque Douglas firs and cedars, knows it wouldn’t take much to ignite them. Yet many of the pieces he has written over the course of an extremely productive life are physically present in only one place: his home. He has packed his scores and manuscripts into suitcases – ready to roll them out the door if that fire materializes – but it’s like keeping one’s savings under the mattress. They’re close at hand, but they’re not really safe. Komorous turned 80 last year, however: “And I am thinking about my legacy,” he says.

Komorous came to Canada in 1969 from his native Czechoslovakia, where he was associated with the avant-garde Smidra group and its “aesthetic of the wonderful.” His oeuvre includes orchestral, solo, chamber and vocal music and two operas; he wrote his most recent composition, Minx, for Vancouver’s Turning Point Ensemble in 2010.

Having taught at both the University of Victoria and Simon Fraser University, a huge part of his legacy is alive in the minds and music of the many composers who studied with him. But Komorous’ music will speak directly to future generations only if they know about it. Happily, a great deal more of that extraordinary music will soon be accessible to performers across the country for the first time.
Komorous hoped to consolidate all his scores at the Canadian Music Centre, which lacked at least three dozen works. He’s submitting both newer works and older, handwritten manuscripts, which will be cleaned up and scanned or typeset before digitizing. He has met a few detours, though, ranging from locating lost scores to re-translating titles and double-checking revised scores. Of at least one piece he’s confessed, “I think that the first version may be better than the last!”

Copyright laws prohibit the Centre from holding those pieces that were published commercially, so the CMC collection will still be incomplete. As Bob Baker, CMC’s regional director for British Columbia points out, “a publishing company’s priority is to make money, not promote a composer’s legacy. Fortunately, as a library, the CMC has a different mandate.” (Partly for this reason, the CMC has revamped its publishing activities, and performers can now purchase CMC scores, which are typeset and specially bound.)

In addition to the scores, Komorous has sketches, letters and assorted papers, which he originally intended to donate to the University of Victoria Library. But since the CMC will digitize these, too – storing originals safely in its archives in Toronto – it makes sense to have everything in one place.
And so the suitcases are getting lighter, even (at press time) as the first fall rains arrive.

Seven years ago, Sébastien Lacombe erupted onto the scene with an authentic and warm folk-rock debut album titled Comme au cinéma. He launched his sophomore effort, Impressions humaines, in 2008, an album where his writing was still as delicate and endearing, but his compositions were definitely more pop and slick. His third, Territoires comes in the wake of a year-long trip to Senegal. A destabilizing, yet necessary exile.

“To me, if I don’t meet someone when I stop somewhere during a trip, it’s was not a good stop”

“It was a major life change for my wife and kids, and myself. We wanted to completely uproot ourselves and leave for two years. I left the comforts of city life for many reasons, the first of which was that I wanted to live a human-scale adventure. I craved exile, living elsewhere for a while. Plus, on an artistic level, my inspiration was gone. I’d totally run out of fuel. I was wondering what else I could contribute to the world of music. I was totally questioning the trade I chose. I needed new points of reference. And through the life experience a new project emerged: a new album.”

By adding touches of World Music (“Adouna”) and Electro arrangements (“D’où je viens”) to his rich folk palette, this third album is a proper portrait of his wanderlust (“Mr. Taximan”). It is the unadulterated product of Man’s two main sources of inspiration: travels and the people we meet in the process. “I love unexpected encounters. In Montréal, I was a creature of habit, a homebody. When you travel, your thirst for something new is reborn. That’s when you become more open-minded and seek human contact. It’s a kind of perpetual instability. It’s not hotel life, you meet everyday people. Your create a new bubble for yourself. I weakened myself by going to Senegal. I had no phon number, no friends. I had to talk to people to stay alive. No other choice. To me, if I don’t meet someone when I stop somewhere during a trip, it’s was not a good stop,” says the 40-year-old songwriter who won the Ma Première Place des Arts contest in 2003.
Now that this solid album is done, the tireless traveller is looking forward to working on his next stage show. One can clearly hear how excited he is about it. “The stage is increasingly important in our artistic lives. It cannot be ignored. That’s why my next peregrination will be a creative one. I came back from Senegal and other trips filled with images and I’d like to integrate them to my next show, which I intend to develop along three main axes: the French fact, travels and opening oneself to the world. I want to create a documentary/stage show and ask questions about where French fits in our modern world and in the music world. There will no doubt be an educational aspect to it all, even though I intend to remain in the realm of poetry,” says the creator.
This globe-trotting admirer of Félix Leclerc, Alain Bashung and Didier Awadi (leader of Senegalese Rap group Positive Black Soul) has a very down-to-earth—vision of what it means to be an artist in 2012. His only hope is to keep forging ahead in the realm of “la chanson francophone” while remaining open to any possibility. “My approach is dead simple: I’ll go where I’m invited. You shouldn’t overthink it. I’d love to export my music, but Québec remains my priority,” he says decisively.

Despite the fragility of a constantly evolving music business, Sébastien Lacombe does not intend to give up. Ever a hard worker, he remains lucid and knows he hasn’t said has last word yet. “It’s a fact that Québec artists work incredibly hard for very little revenue. We sometimes forget about it or simply don’t give a shit, but it’s still the truth of the matter. At the end of my African trip, I did ask myself why I should go on being a musician, and this is what I concluded: I haven’t yet reached the end of my adventure. As long as I have something to say, a message I need to share, and that it will be heard and appreciated—and that I will not hear that voice inside telling me to move on—I will carry on. Standing tall.”

Undoubtedly, Tebey Ottoh is best known as a songwriter. He’s written for artists as diverse as Canadian pop star Shawn Desman, U.K. R&B/soul songstress Pixie Lott, and country artists including Tara Oram, Doc Walker and superstars Big and Rich.

He remains a prolific and diverse songwriter and has recently written multiple songs for Emerson Drive’s 2012 release, Roll, Smash Mouth’s comeback single, “Magic,” and provided two cuts for worldwide pop sensation One Direction’s sophomore effort, Take Me Home.

Tebey’s first love, however, is performance, a passion he’s nurtured since first taking the stage at the Burlington, Ont., church he attended as a child. Ever since, the now Nashville-based singer-songwriter has wanted to release a record of his own, a dream he finally realized in November 2012 with his debut album, The Wait.

“Writing and recording this record was a matter of learning to go with my heart, and record the songs I love.”

Aptly titled, The Wait isn’t so much a transition for Tebey as a return to his roots as a recording artist and performer in his own right. “I’ve always written different genres of music because I don’t think music should be put into a box,” he says. ‘I grew up listening to everything, and I take those influences into my songwriting sessions, but when it comes to my artist career, it’s definitely country.”
Tebey’s career as a performer began early on. At age 16 he signed with Nashville-based MCA Records and moved to Tennessee with his father to hone his craft. A publishing deal with Warner Chappell Music and a singles deal with RCA Nashville followed.

While his 2002 single “We Shook Hands (Man to Man)” garnered Tebey a Canadian Radio Music Award nomination for Best New Male Country Artist, broke the Top 40 U.S. Billboard Country Singles Chart and hit No. 3 in Canada, ultimately, RCA decided to shelve his album.

Tebey returned to Canada and focused on songwriting, but didn’t give up on his dream of writing a record expressly for his own voice; a collection of songs that, although definitely country, were also informed by his love of R&B/Soul and rock.

“When I write for myself it’s harder because it’s easier to second-guess things,” he says. “Writing and recording this record was a matter of learning to go with my heart, and record the songs I love that, hopefully, other people will love too.”

Track Record
• “All About Tonight,” performed by Pixie Lott, was nominated for a 2012 Brit Award for British Single of the Year, and became Tebey’s first No. 1 U.K. single.
• “Somewhere In The Country,” Tebey’s latest single, was released Sept, 28, 2012.
• Tebey recorded his unreleased 2002 album with iconic producer Bob Rock.