Local talent rocks foreign gig

Ian Murdoch
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“I went over to experience what a real touring musician would do and knowing that I can do that now is amazing.”

The College of the North Atlantic band from the Music Industry and Performance Program at their Stephenville campus recently returned from a rock performance at a cultural festival in Doha, Qatar in the Middle East. Bass player Steve Andrews, who grew up in St. Anthony, said it was an experience of a lifetime. The CNA band from left are:  Samantha Burke, Taylor Roberts, Steve Andrews, Chris Reid, Shannell Lewis and Brad LeRiche.

Steve Andrews can now say he is a world-touring musician.

The St. Anthony native recently returned from a College of the North Atlantic (CNA) performance at an international cultural festival in Doha, Qatar that took place on March 20.

“It’s a coming together of different countries from around the world and they showcase a little bit about their country,” said Mr. Andrews.

“So each country has a booth set up around the entertainment stage with food samples.”

The festival, called 2012 Global Village, included 19 other countries and every country had a time slot on stage to perform in the cultural showcase.

Mr. Andrews was part of a nine-member Canadian team assembled from students at the CNA’s Music Industry and Performance program in Stephenville.

The Canadian contingent was the only rock band that performed, belting out tunes by Canadian legends such as the Trews, Sam Roberts, the Tragically Hip, Nickelback, Rush and Neil Young.

Appropriately, the Canadian booth served Tim Horton’s and had a hockey net and gear set up.

This was the first appearance by a Canadian group of students at the festival.

They were originally slated to perform March 18-19 but a sandstorm delayed the set, extending the trip by a couple of days.

CNA covered most of the costs and even provided a stipend.

The CNA program the students are in runs for two years and prepares musicians and music industry hopefuls for everything from business aspects to recording to touring.

“I guess I went over there to be as professional as I could and that’s pretty much why we went over – to get some experience under our belts,” said Mr. Andrews.

“Being over there, we did realize how far along we are in the industry and what we learn here is useful. People look at this program and they don’t actually know what goes on here but we work hard – it’s hard to explain.

But Mr. Andrews is certain he got the most out of the overseas tour.

 “I went over to experience what a real touring musician would do and knowing that I can do that now is amazing.”

He said he had travelled around Canada previously but it was the first time he had been overseas and he had nothing but praise for the hospitality and friendliness of their Middle Eastern hosts.

“It was unreal. It was very surprising. They were the most friendly people that I’ve ever met – anybody would do anything for you. It was a very nice place – a well kept up country.”

Mr. Andrews said the locals pay only 18 cents-per-litre for gas and it’s not uncommon to see Ferraris cruising around the clean streets.

He just completed his final exam at CNA and he said he feels he is now ready to begin his career in the music industry.

“Right now I’m moving to St. John’s – gonna take a stab at that scene out there. But my top goal is to be in the entertainment business on a cruise line. It’s gonna take a while to get there but you’ve got to start somewhere.”

Two of his favourite bands are the Kings of Leon and the Black Keys, both American rock bands that are known for their Southern rock style and catchy riffs.

Although he likely won’t be going on the around-the-world tours his idols regularly take part in any time soon, he is looking for a start in the right direction.

 “I’m gonna try to be a weekend warrior I guess. I’m gonna try and get a job in the industry and if I’m lucky enough I’ll find work out there somewhere.”

To watch highlights of the 2012 Global Village, visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZX54eFqX4OA&feature=relmfu



Organizations: CNA, Tragically Hip

Geographic location: Global Village, St. Anthony, Doha Qatar Canada Leon

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