Salt Spring Island a place that can fit in the palm of your hand but so vast with interesting characters that have a good thing going and live life on their terms. People intertwined with nature on their island home and not only aware of the possibilities the universe has to offer but tuning in making the world around them a better place.
Here are but a few of SSI’s bright and shining. In this article I will give you but a bite in a pie that is growing everyday as people flock here from all over the world. From street people generous enough to give us free beer just because we talked to them for a few minutes, to legends that just came here to slow down or retire.
David Stone, a hair dresser who writes movie scripts living on his boat, has been here for seven years only intending to be on SSI for two. He fell in love with the place and decided that he would postpone his departure but as you will see in this article it is a normal story here on SSI.
Julia Ducharme Nuffer moved from Quebec a few years ago because her whole family moved to SSI. Coming from a background in music, circus, performance arts and a fire spinner, Julia can often be found at various parks on SSI singing, playing various instruments or spinning fire, always trying to perfect her art. She also makes jewelry and sells it at the famous SSI Saturday Market. Always surrounding herself with creative people trying to make a difference in some way, shape or form.
Which brings me to her partner Randy Lavigne, political activist and a man trying to wrap his head around making things move instead of just discussions around a table. He has spoken against the system and lead people to take action against their government and make a difference. His fight has brought him up against the Quebec, Alberta and now BC is going to hear about this young man.
Daryl Chonka from Brandon Manitoba, a musician internationally known for his original blend of world and folk music, not to mention the albums being recorded in his studio overlooking the ocean here on SSI including Oona McOuat, Lane 31, Stephanie Rhodes. He has worked with the likes of Valdy, Bill Henderson and renown Tibetan multi-instrumentalist Tenzing Tsewang who also lived on SSI until Aug 13th 2006 where he moved on from this life. (R.I.P)
A few of Daryl’s productions have been recorded at his studio Old Growth Music and have been mastered at The Barn, Randy Bachman’s studio. From what is spread through the grapevine here whether you are working with him or just hanging out Daryl is just a real easy going good guy.
What list of SSI Talent would be complete without mentioning Randy Bachman and his recording studio called The Barn. Randy Bachman, the man behind The Guess Who, Bachman Turner Overdrive and countless other credits moved to SSI and opened The Barn.
With top notch gear and a collection of over 400 guitars, there are great sounds coming out of The Barn but with Randy would you expect it any other way? A multi award winner, Randy Bachman, now officer of the order of Canada, the highest civilian award given in Canada, has gold records and a track record a mile long. If you don’t know Randy Bachman you are probably not North American, because everybody and their grandmothers know “Taking Care Of Business”
Robert Bateman, born in Toronto, world reputed artist and conservationist that has worked on countless books, films and of course paintings, lives on SSI which would explain his love for painting birds and wildlife. As on SSI, there are over 90 species of birds not to mention seeing wildlife on a daily basis his keen eye and steady hand have produced many fine pieces of art. With paintings in the collections of royalty along with honorary memberships and awards that are too numerous to count, inspiration runs high on SSI as you are beginning to see.
Harry Warner well known Irish folk musician, performance artist, political activist and farmer, also came here looking for the right environment and now is known as one that helps the less fortunate traveler and rents to them make shift cabins which are much appreciated thanks to their low price. Harry is a legend in these parts known as the anarchist musical farmer that helps and votes most often for the underdog.
Everywhere here there are souls who strive for more but more not in a sense having more material items but more in a sense of living their art and politics at a more local level, defining their own definitions of success and living their own dreams in a happy place. Don’t get me wrong, there are multimillion dollar homes in the North end and retreats being built for Japanese business men, the Island is growing in population and is growing with millionaires and big money.
They say that the artistic community lives in the South end of the island with the farmers and most of the artists grow their own food anyway, as the North grows the south creates. These are but a few of the characters you will meet in the following months by reading SSI Artist & Activist Adventures! Some of the people you just read about will be featured with interview excerpts not to mention more of the unique characters here that have been drawn by the call of Salt Spring Island.
From the West coast Mundafar bids you farewell and says, “Come on down if you need some inspiration”