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Half-Way Through - Zulu Panda's One-Fifty Project

After about a month of travelling, I've returned to Vancouver. For those who weren't aware, I'm over half-way through my plan to perform and record in every province and territory in Canada in 2017. On my own dime, I've committed to learning more about this country and to sharing my music with a wider audience.

In completing this project, I will be releasing an album of thirteen original songs - one track recorded in each province and territory - as well as an online video series discussing my travels, experiences and thoughts about Canada.

So far I’ve hit up the Yukon, Nunavut, Manitoba, Ontario, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia. If you’re trying to do the math at home, I’m going to Quebec and the Northwest Territories in August, Newfoundland in September, as well as Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick in October.

I’m really grateful to everyone who’s supported me so far. The people I have met have been so kind to me as a traveller and enthusiastic about my music. It’s really easy to become jaded and pessimistic about creative ventures and the people I’ve met have sustained me more that I could have imagine. I’m super happy to be doing this project and some of the preliminary recording mixes I’ve received so far have been blowing my mind.

July 1st is right around the corner, tomorrow in fact. I always have conflicted feelings around Canada Day. I love and I am grateful for the rights and opportunities afforded to me as a citizen. The people of this country are lovely and diverse, and worth being proud of. Hell, I’m just happy to live in a place where I can sit safely on my porch in the shade with a beer and my dog, openly able to talk to friends about religion and politics without fear of reprisal. That said, this is NOT THE CASE for all Canadians. We are quick to forget our indigenous peoples, our exploited ‘minority' populations, as well as those who struggle with mental health issues and homelessness.

The government of Canada might have stood for 150 years now, but the history and legacy of this land itself is much older than that. It is important that we as a society not forget where we have come from and what people have been through, regardless of how it tastes going down. Throw around as much money as you want in the name of #Canada150, but we must remember how our country was impacted by things such as the brutality of the Indian residential school system, the exploitation of Chinese-Canadian railway workers and the internment of Japanese-Canadians during World War Two, for instance.

I come from a family of immigrants, emigrating from Europe in the 1950’s. I am considered a 'first generation Canadian' because of this. According to my folks, my mother’s parents "experienced untold horrors in post-war Europe and [after moving] had the disadvantage of being German-speaking emigrants in a country which had been at war with them only 10 years before.” My father’s side, "although English speaking and members of the victorious side, left a country which offered little opportunity and a rigid class structure. They came to Canada believing they would never again see the family and friends they left behind."

I am proud of both sides of family - their ambition and work ethic, coming over to Canada with nothing and building a life for themselves. New families are doing this every year in this country and deserve the same rights and opportunities that are afforded - or at least should be afforded - to all other Canadians. My hope for Canada in the future is that we push forward with initiatives towards improving the quality of life for every citizen, regardless of race, gender, orientation or geographic location.

I’ve got some great things to celebrate. It's the half-way point of the Zulu Panda One-Fifty Recording Project. The band is tighter than ever, working on lots of new music. My sister’s informed me recently that I’m going to be an uncle soon. My mum is being awarded the Order of Canada for her excellence in nursing. Life is good and I’m feeling fine. - ZP


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