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CBC Radio 2: The Signal

Program delights in treating listeners to an eclectic mix of music

By Kevin Spurgaitis

Daily 10 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Hosted by Laurie Brown (Monday to Thursday) and Pat Carrabré (Friday to Sunday)

During the late-night hours, hosts Laurie Brown and Pat Carrabré bring recorded and live contemporary music to CBC Radio 2 listeners, placing a special emphasis on homegrown Canadian performers. From new classical to electronica, from world to improvised, the songs on the program are as wide-ranging as they are unusual.

Brown really sets the tone for The Signal with her knowlege and passion for all kinds of music. A former Much-Music VJ and longtime CBC television personality, she has extensively covered music, theatre, dance, film and books. The seasoned broadcaster has also served as an advocate for the arts and artists in Canada.

On the weekends, Winnipeg-based composer Carrabré takes the helm, pushing contemporary music even closer to the edge with an eclectic mix from across the country. Carrabré joined the show after completing six years as a composer-in-residence with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. There, he co-curated the city’s successful New Music Festival and introduced the symphony and its audience to hip-hop, as well as new music from South America and the Pacific Rim.

On The Signal, both Brown and Carrabré delight in treating listeners to off-kilter songs by artists such as Montreal’s Jean Derome et les Dangereux Zhoms; post-rock sounds from bands such as Vancouver’s Inhabitants; and even the harder-edged musical explorations of U.K.-based Radiohead. Occasionally, audiences are entertained by astonishing — albeit unclassifiable — sounds, too, like that of French artists Didier Petit and André Minvielle, who craftily weave the noise of locomotives into melodies.

Because of the program’s mix of sounds, you never really know what’s up next: an orchestral piece or a recording from a recent indie music festival. This cultural infusion may not be to everyone’s liking, but in today’s Canada, where nearly half the population is made up of visible minorities, perhaps the time is ripe to explore new, less Eurocentric offerings.

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