The Province from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada on August 10, 1984 · 40
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The Province from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada · 40

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Issue Date:
Friday, August 10, 1984
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40 The Province Friday, Aug. lO, 1 984 IIIHIIIMIMIIItllllllllllllMIIIII Kill I tllllllUlllllllltlllllllHMIIIIIIIIIIIIIMMIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII Illlllltlt I till IIIIIIIKIIIIIII llllliriHDIIIIIIIDIMtlltMIIIII Iirllllllltiril IIIIIMMIIIIIMIIIHIIIIIIIIIIHMMIHHMIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIHIIMIItf 1 D n "M U I W I BSE W w Sjj 0 K I P 1 i I : - v : : ' , , ' - . 7- ' ' - - - . i By TOM HARRISON Music Critic nice Cockburn peered into the heart of darkness 18 months ago and saw hope as well as horror. The songwriter's fact-finding journey to Nicaraguan and Guatemalan refugee camps is old news, as far as his current Canadian tour is concerned. Yet, images of a people rebuilding their nation in the aftermath of the Sandinista takeover of the Nicaraguan government, and the helpless rage that overtook him as he learned of atrocities committed by Guatemalan soldiers, still haunt Cockburn and dominate his album, Stealing Fire. Stealing Fire is a record of resolution (as opposed to revolution) for which Bruce took risks, breaking up his band, bringing in a new producer after 10 years with Gene Martynec, assimilating African and Latin sounds into an already extensive musical repertoire. But these are career moves, steps taken for the development of his recording art. "Time and circumstance,'' is how Cockburn sums up the changes. "I've always found that you can't do things for too long without making a change. The main thing was to get a new sound. "It's a way for me to keep interested when I write and record. Those little color changes matter as just that color changes. They insure that the next album is a little different from the last one." The bigger risk has been a tendency toward blunt social criticism, which has 4 V Comes the resolution : 1 alarmed fans of Cockburn's more reflective and abstract writing, and which has culminated on Stealing Fire with If I Had A Rocket Launcher. On the surface, it is a song about murderous revenge, which at first seems to be cheap and, considering the writer, uncharacteristic sensationalism. But the key word is 'if; the song is expressing Cockburn's (and the Nicaraguans') helpless rage in the face of U.S. military might, Communist intervention, Guatemalan army brutality. "We're all used to getting angry at things and there are certain levels of anger that you permit yourself," Bruce explains. "Unless you're psycho there are also brakes moral or social that will stop your rage from going any further. "The act of killing the crew of a helicopter seemed perfectly justified at that moment which inspired If I Had A Rocket Launcher. It was rage that had no brakes on it. It's not a feeling I like." The counters to If I Had A Rocket Launcher are many: Oust And Deisel, the song Nicaragua, the gospel-like To Raise The Morning Star and Making Contact and the single, Lovers In A Dangerous Time. These variously are more journalistic, inspirational, warily optimistic . . . and resolute. "That's fair," Bruce agrees. "I think you have to have hope. It's easy for anyone, if you are at all sensitive, to bury yourself in your private concerns. "There have to be certain ingredients in life to make living bearable and one of those is hope." If Cockburn's songs continue to manifest themselves in ever-changing ways, the impetus remains the same. "I'm always concerned for how people will perceive the song, more than any consideration for how they will perceive me. But one thing I learned over the years is that you can't really fight people's perceived image, so I just go ahead and write." Cockburn appears tomorrow night at the Queen Elizabeth at 8 p.m. IHIimiHHIIIHIIIIIIIIIIIIIHIIIHiniHIIIIIHMIHHHinMHIIIIMIIIIIIHIHHIIHIMIIIIIIIIIIH - , . - ; i - ! . - ' ' 'A N Y i Photo by Art Perry Scan the horizon, and wait for Jane Si-berry to wave. : , . , i , , t One-ori-osie blaze of taSeof By ART PERRY Art Critic TORONTO Every once in a while, a talent comes along that is so far ahead of the grey mass of adequates and rehashers that it strikes like lightening. You stand back and wonder in awe at the sudden and unexpected brilliance; such a talent is Toronto recording artist Jane Siberry. In a small, dark restaurant which is serving up Creole corn bread near Siberry's studio, Duke Street Records, she talks softly about her first major album, No Borders Here. The album is perhaps the best recording by a Canadian artist in a decade and just now the effect of her talents are bringing attention and large contracts to this mild and personable star. Borders is an album with all the intelligence and humor found in the work of Laurie Anderson. Yet Siberry, though indebted to Anderson, is less of a performing artist (computerized with a visual warehouse of images) and more of a singer. Si-berry's voice is clear and warm as it drifts through her unexpected, often-moving lyrics. On record, her voice is that of a friend, talking, giving advice, telling her personal feelings and approaching the listener on a one-to-one basis. - - Siberry does not come across as a rock star pumping up her audience with a pulse of sexually oriented songs on how to be free and eager. She is much more tender and searching in her music. There is no need to prove anything. She is complete and wonderful as she chats to her listeners: "I like to take a dancing class each yearit helps myself to keep in touch with meand the girls I meet are differentthan the ones I meet at workand there's always at least one sensitive guy." The vulnerable openness of Siberry's lyrics and often hypnotic music makes the entry into her world an effortless guide toward a thinker of great understanding. Of all Sibery's songs, Mimi on the Beach shows the true depth of her simplicity. . , . With clever but never obtuse poetry, Si- berry charts the plight of Mimi as " . . a girl out on the sea floating on a pink surfboard with a picnic lunch and parasolsitting there like a typical girl." The song is more than seven minutes long and contains a startling talking bridge between the verses where a friend convinces Mimi to lift herself up and stand there and see as far as she can see. Meanwhile, in a passage of totally original phrasing, Siberry talks to the distant image far out on the sea: "I scan the horizon for you, MimiI scan for the both of usI scan the horizon for you, MimiI stand and scan on the strand of sand 'stand and scan on the strand of sand." Jane Siberry is a 28-year-old artist of amazinging abilities who will, within a short while, be Canada's most talked about and admired recording artist. After the lunch we walk back to her recording studio where her dog, Wolfgang, waits by a door. She tossles the dog's head affectionately. There is something beyond the warmth of her quiet demeanor and her nervous, humble manner of writing and speech. Jane Siberry is about to lift herself up and stand there. Scan the horizon. You'll see her wave coming in, and the splash it makes .wUl be tremendous. i'iV iY l'j i i iiii-ii-'ifi- Ait-it 1 1 t ' Mil! I, J t 4 .

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