Flotsam & Jetsam, created by Ross Desprez and Tobin Stokes premieres Tuesday (Jan. 31) at Malaspina Theatre.

Flotsam & Jetsam, created by Ross Desprez and Tobin Stokes premieres Tuesday (Jan. 31) at Malaspina Theatre.

Folk music tells West Coast history

NANAIMO – Flotsam and Jetsam takes the stage at Malaspina Theatre.

Flotsam & Jetsam: Life on the West Coast is a tale about West Coast culture and history told through folk music.

The musical revue was created by Ross Desprez and Tobin Stokes, founders of The Other Guys Theatre Company. The duo is also responsible for creating Good Timber – Songs and Stories of the Western Logger.

The title for the musical revue was chosen because it represents the random bits of history that have washed up on the shore, said Desprez.

“Some of these have been lost and some are pieces people have thrown away,” he said. “It says ocean. It says variety.”

Flotsam is defined as wreckage found floating in the sea. Jetsam is unwanted material thrown overboard from a ship that washes ashore.

Desprez said the show is being called a musical revue because the story is told through folk songs.

“Folk music was kind of the way to tell the news and to spread the news and it was a way to create folk legends and lore,” said Desprez. “Our goal is to try to take historical elements from British Columbia and turn them into folk lore through folk music.”

He said as soon as a story was turned into a folk song it just started becoming bigger than life.

“We like the idea, the old style, where people hear a song and adapt it and pass it on to somebody else,” said Desprez, adding that many songs were taken and then adapted to the region.

Desprez said the team tried to come up with a West Coast sound, taking inspiration from West Coast bands such as The Pied Pumpkin and its dulcimer playing, as well as an opera song that has been modified, now called Herring Song, which features Coast Salish languages.

“Were mixing cultures. We’re using different cultural influences with a very acoustic sound and are trying to make it very West Coast and trying to create a folk lore for the West Coast of Canada,” said Desprez.

Flotsam & Jetsam: Life on the West Coast shows at Malaspina Theatre Tuesday to Saturday (Jan. 31-Feb. 4), 7:30 p.m., with a 2 p.m. matinee Feb. 4. Tickets are $29 for adults or $15 for students available at www.theatreone.org.

Nanaimo News Bulletin

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