Artist Highlight: Rowan Lipkovits

I had the good fortune to meet Rowan online during the Friendster years (roughly 2003). Then we met in real life at the truly memorable Interdependence Day Picnic in Vancouver. We sat and chatted spiritedly, I recall, on a hill overlooking the pedal-powered sound system, scrabble players and revelers.

Reflecting back now, I can see that Rowan has a rare quality that makes you feel extra interesting and creative when you are around him – he's a creative catalyst. While it is certainly true that Rowan is a multi-talented (and unusually humble) musician, composer, performer, and writer, there's something else that he does in equally extraordinary fashion – somehow, he regularly manages to bring together odd and interesting combinations of creative people for unusual musical and theatrical ends, and then anything can happen (aka art).

The strangest things can happen! Perchance you might find yourself playing a Russian folk song in a canoe out on a lake in the midst of a breezy summer night festival. Or perhaps dressing up like a carpenter to perform for an outdoor children's performance of Alice and Wonderland !? . . . Yes it might all feel like an odd dream from another lifetime . . . but you will never regret stepping out of your comfort zone into this strange realm.

His secret: "...simply being genuinely curious and encouraging about people's creative practice without assuming that I have any privileged insider insight into it."

Among other things, he helps facilitate a Co-op Radio program called Accordion Noir, a Squeezebox circle and an Accordion Festival. Here's a quick YouTube glimpse involving bangos, raucus singing, skype and of course good fun.