Oliver Sudden Productions
Oliver-Sudden Productions is a new World Music label focussing on traditional music from all parts of the world. Highlights of the company's current catalog includes the album Vietnamese Traditional Music by recording artist Pham Duc Thanh, which is the newest release on the label. Other titles include an assortment of Chinese and Flamenco releases.
I talked to Oliver-Sudden founder Paul Etch about his label, his goals, and what he is trying to achieve in the area of World Music.
Paula: How and when did Oliver Sudden get started, and what is your involvement
with the company?
Paul: Oliver Sudden Productions started out as a recording studio in 1985. The
studio recorded recorded radio jingles, music for film and production of all
styles of music released on differentlabels. My involvement was mostly sound
engineer with a bit of creative input on various projects. Oliver Sudden
Productions the world music label started in 1993 when I met a Chinese
busker in downtown Montreal. His name was Lei Qiang and he played an erhu
(two-stringed Chinese fiddle). Lei Qiang had just moved here from Xian,
China. I offered to record a cassette for him in my studio. The first
cassette called Erhu Music was just erhu solo. Seeing that that cassette was
selling well. We decided to call the University of Xian where the Shaanxi
Provincial Song and Dance Troupe (the offical traditional troupe of Shaanxi)
was based. Lei Qiang had performed with that troupe for 11 years and toured
with them across China, Japan and Hong Kong. We asked the several arrangers
of the troupe to do a recording of specific pieces for the erhu. Their
recording featured arrangements of Di-Zi, Pipa, Yang Qin, Zheng, Double
Bass, Chen, Cello, percussion plus Erhus 2,3,4. We recieved that master in
Montreal and recorded Lei Qiang's erhu as the main solo instrument mixed it
and pressed it in Montreal.
Chinese Traditional Music Vol. 1 by Lei Qiang was released in 1995 and
distributed by Festival Distribution across Canada. Liu Fang (pipa player
from Kunming, China) had just moved to Montreal from Germany. She called me
and asked me if I would like record the pipa. Chinese Traditional Pipa Music
by Liu Fang was released in 1997. Chinese Traditional Erhu Music 2 by Lei
Qiang was also released in 1997. Lei Qiang can also be heard on Cirque du
Soleil, Quidam and the new one O (BMG). Lei Qiang is currently performing in
Las Vegas with the Cirque du Soleil in the new show called O. Liu Fang is
touring across Canada this summer and in the fall she will be playing in
Berlin Germany and Bogota, Colombia.
Paula: What is the mission of Oliver Sudden?
Paul: The mission of Oliver Sudden is to produce and promote traditional music of
the world. Sticking to the roots and never, never use synths and drum
machines or mixing a Scotish bagpipe with an African Cora and a Tibetan Gong
in the same musical piece. I know there is a trend in world music called
worldbeat like Afro Celt Sound System that mixes all kinds of world
instruments to create a global sound. Though this style is very popular,
personnally I think it just doesn't work and it seems to me a little tacky.
Oliver Sudden wishes to preserve music in it's traditional form. A great
deal of historical research on the music is done before we release anything.
We believe in providing with the CD a fair bit of liner notes in French,
English and the language of the featured artist. So some CDs have Chinese or
Spanish or Vietnamese or Hindi but they are always in French and English the
offical languages of Canada.
Paula: What particular kinds of World Music does the label specialize in
Paul: We have released 3 Chinese Traditional CDs,
Lei Qiang's, Chinese Traditional Erhu Music K10-007CD, 1995
Liu Fang's, Chinese Traditional Pipa Music K10-009CD, 1997
Lei Qiang's, Chinese Traditional Erhu Music Vol. 2 K10-010CD, 1997
1 Flamenco guitar CD by Juan Josť Carranza from Costa Rica,
Juan Josť Carranza's, Flamenco de la Costa K10-11CD, 1998
1 Traditional Paraguayan Harp CD by Eralio Gill from Paraguay
Eralio Gill's The Art of the Paraguayan Harp K10-12CD
and 1 Vietnamese Traditional CD by Pham Duc Thanh from Northern Vietnam
Pham Duc Thanh's Vietnamese Traditional Music K10-14CD
We will release music from anywhere in the world as long as it is deeply
rooted in tradition. The artists must be of excellent caliber. We have
released 6 CDs so far we have only begun to scratch the surface of the
Paula: What releases/projects are going on now that have you
Paul: We will be releasing a new CD in July, 99: Aditya Verma's, Sarod,
Traditional Music from India K10-15CD. This one is truely amazing. Aditya
Verma trained under Pandit Ravi Shankar, Ustad Aashish Khan and Ustad Ali
Akbar Khan. Verma is accompanied by Vineet Vyas (tabla) who studied under
the celebrated tabla master Pandit Kishan Maharaj. The CD has liner notes in
French, English and Hindi. The CD features 2 wonderful Ragas. Instruments
are Sarod, Tabla and Tanpura. Adiya Verma starts his Canadian tour at the
Winnipeg Folk Festival July 10th. He will be in Edmonton on August 8 & 9.
Paula: What does the future hold for Oliver Sudden?
Paul: Many more recordings in the winter. This summer is mostly touring the
artists and promotion. In October I will be promoting my label in Berlin,
Germany at WOMEX 99 (world music expo) and then to meet my German
distributor in Hamburg. In November I will be in Colombia touring and
promoting The Chinese Traditional Ensemble for the second year in a row.
Then from December to May I will be locked away in the studio recording more
music. Then in the summer of 2000 will be tours and more promotion.
Paul adds that Oliver Sudden Productions always welcomes demos of traditional world
artists. They will listen to anything as long as it is traditional. Mail demos
Oliver Sudden Productions
P.O. Box 1332
Graphics courtesy of Oliver Sudden Productions.