[if I were to have my own, self-produced radio show... ]
Good afternoon, this is Radio Zaakistan. I'm your host, Zaak Robichaud. To open this series I'm going to steer you through my early childhood in music and if you listen long enough you'll hear how Joni Mitchell got me bit by a guard dog and why I decided to play the French Horn. As the father of two young children, I marvel at their fascination with music and in particular I wonder what songs they will associate with their childhood when they are adults. As babies, they each had their own goodnight song, but they have all but outgrown those. My son identifies my favourite bands, Arcade Fire and U2, as his favourite bands too. And then he tells us he likes electronic dance music like Katy Perry or LMFAO when it comes on the radio. I'm a little alarmed.
Not unlike my children, I first heard the music my parents listened to. There are two songs that I associate with my earliest preschool years deep in the woods of New Brunswick. From Seals and Crofts in 1975, this is
Like a lot of people in the 1970s, my parents were hippies. There was a lot of leftist politics, drugs, talk about spirituality and religion and it carried over into popular music. One of the musicians that got a lot of play as my parents newly explored Christianity was Canadian legend Bruce Cockburn. I remember asking my father what a star field was after hearing this song and listening to his explanation. This is
Being rather isolated, not just in the woods, but in our faith, our location in the province, in our political views, I was often shocked that we had anything in common with the outside world. As a six-year-old, I went on an errand with my father one late afternoon to Richibucto to look for a used car part at Vautour's Auto Used Parts. My father asked me if I wanted to come in, I declined in favour of listening to the radio. After 15 minutes a song came on that I recognized. Amazed, I wanted to tell papa that a song we knew was on the radio so I left the car and tried to enter the business the way my father had. It was locked. I decided to walk around the building as I knew that all the car carcasses were back there. As I approached the rear of the building I saw two men look up as they released a german shepherd guard dog on a line. The german shepherd saw me too and immediately ran towards me. Unknowingly, as I ran away, I was following the line the dog was tied to and so I was an easy target. He nipped my but and mangled my elbow pretty decently by the time the mechanics got to me to pull the dog off of me. It could have been a lot worse and I still think of it every time I hear Joni Mitchell sing
The Ecstasy of the MartyrI regularly visited the Lacombe Public Library with my family. The image of the stacks of vinyl records remains with me today and I remember browsing through them and taking so many of them home. Keeping with family tradition, I would dub many of them onto cassette using our Emerson record and cassette player. One album got heavy play in my bedroom. It was Brass in Berlin with the Canadian Brass playing baroque classics with a brass quintet from Berlin. I was learning to play the french horn in grade 6 hearing some of these songs for the first time brought tears to my eyes. Half of the album comes from J.S. Bach and I was in love. I ultimately bought the album on CD once it was released when I was in high school. The opening track on the album with soaring horns is