- Amarjit Singh Jejishergill
- EverySeeker Rajee Paña Jejishergill and her mom
OBEY Convention is more than just a weekend of seeing wicked, life-changing bands. For its ninth and most robust year, OBEY has prepared its very first music lecture series, the EverySeeker Symposium, running in tandem with the rest of the festival. Organized by former Halifax musician and current music theory student Dave Ewenson, who is working on a masters in ethnomusicology at Memorial University, OBEY will present five unique events of seven presentations that promise to be both educational and incredibly engaging.
“EverySeeker Symposium is pretty important to us,” explains OBEY’s program manager Andrew Patterson. “The educational element has always been on our minds, and this is the first year we’ve been able to realize it, thanks to the wonderful folks at the Fountain School of Performing Arts.” In a joint venture between OBEY and Dalhousie’s musicology department, “we’re now able to tap into that academic world, which is, in a way, separate from what we’re doing,” says Patterson. “We want to grow our audience and also make things as inclusive as possible, and that extends not just to minorities or outsiders, but people in academia, as well. We want to get people interested in what they’re doing, too.” The Symposium shows how music is deeply integrated with all parts of culture.
“The subject matter of EverySeekers is really diverse,” Ewenson says. For the Symposium, he’ll present his own research on the African drum economy.
“I spent a few months documenting the work of a family of blacksmiths in Tamale, Ghana,” he explains. “They make these amazing sets of trap drums and congas out of repurposed scrap metal, and then I followed the drums as they moved around the community.”
The program also features talks by musicology professor Steven Baur and Sobey Art Award nominee William Robinson, a sonic walking tour with drummer Lindsay Dobbin, instrumentalist Robert Drisdelle’s contributions to Weird Canada’s Drone Day, benefits of music therapy by Danielle Jakubiak and the release of mom and her music by Indo-Filipino artist Rajee Paña Jeji Shergill. “She’ll be showing the experimental film about her mother’s music,” explains Ewenson of singer and songwriter Rose Paña Jejishergill. “Rajee is also releasing a tape of her mother’s music at EverySeeker.”
EverySeeker Symposium feels like a natural extension of OBEY and, like the festival, it has the potential to grow every year. “Darcy Spidle has always worked to put together lineups that are thought-provoking and inspiring, and I hope that the EverySeeker Symposium can help in that goal,” says Ewenson. “Music is a huge part of our lives, there’s a lot to talk about.”