On Dec. 19, Commander Chris Hadfield will blast off into space to head up a mission at the International Space Station. But Hadfield will have a second project on the go while he's up there. He and Ed Robertson of Barenaked Ladies are collaborating on the first song that will ever premiere in space.
The song is called "I.S.S. (Is Somebody Singing)," and you can watch the two try out some ideas for it in the video below.
The song will premiere in early February, but check back at CBC Music for updates from Hadfield and Robertson on how the collaboration is going and for a behind-the-scenes look at trying to work while one person is in a studio in Toronto and the other is orbiting on the I.S.S.
You can see even more tonight when CBC News’s science correspondent and host of CBC Radio One’s Quirks and Quarks, Bob McDonald, gets up close with Hadfield before he heads to space.
In the meantime, Hadfield, Roberston and even McDonald have shared playlists of music that inspires them. It gives you an idea of the musical tastes of the people involved in the project. It will be interesting to see how the seeds of these inspirations germinate in zero gravity.
Chris Hadfield's playlist
1. Stan Rogers, "Take it From Day to Day."
"Stan was, to me, the greatest Canadian folk singer-songwriter. This tune was never properly produced/released, but it tells a story of exploration and isolation that has strong parallels to space flight. I've been playing it (in a more driving version) for many years, but most notably, I played it while in my pressure suit in the Kennedy Space Center suit-up room, just before heading to Shuttle Endeavour for launch on STS-100. I hope to do the same again prior to the Soyuz launch."
2. Leonard Cohen, "Hallelujah."
"Poetry emotion, a classic that so many people have recorded, one that our band has loved and sung with harmonies and soaring leads for years. I played it in Star City, Russia, inside the new wooden Orthodox cathedral while it was under construction, with guitar and flute accompaniment."
3. Blue Rodeo, "What Am I Doing Here."
"A very catchy tune and image-building words that may well bear repeating after a month or three orbiting the Earth."
4. Dave Hadfield, "Big Smoke."
"We're allowed to bring a few personal items to space with us, and my brother Dave asked if I could take a song for him. He wrote this for my Shuttle Atlantis launch to Mir in 1995, and it has since been played and sung onboard Mir, on Morningside with Peter Gzowski, with the Houston Symphony, and is currently part of the CSA Living in Space travelling exhibit across Canada."
5. "I Vow to Thee My Country," a poem by Cecil Spring-Rice, set to music by Gustav Holst.
"I first sang this when I was in the choir at CFB Moose Jaw, while learning to fly jets there in 1982. The only two male voices were the pastor and myself, but we did our limited best to bring the deep power that gives the song its resonance. My great-grandfather moved to Moose Jaw from England in 1908, part of my British heritage, and this song is a British classic. Even more applicably, though, the melody is from Holst's orchestral suite, The Planets."
6. Barenaked Ladies, "If I Had a Million Dollars."
"This song, even now, makes me smile every time I hear it. The originality and whimsy that set BNL apart are perpetually evident, from this early tune, through to The Big Bang Theory theme song."
7. Trent Severn, "Trusscot."
"Emm Gryner is a superb musician and good friend from my hometown. She toured with David Bowie, introduced me to the McGarrigles, and we have performed together many times. Her new band is an all-Canadian female trio called Trent Severn, and I love their old harmonies and new ideas, especially in this tune. I really look forward to seeing them live when I get back from orbit."
asdfIt's worth nothing that Gryner has spoken of Hadfield upstaging her with the following song.
8. Chris Hadfield, "Canadian Tire."
"It's narcissistic to include on the list, but I wrote this song after living across Canada with the air force and then being posted out of country. It always gets a big, fun reaction when our band plays it in concert, with people sometimes throwing Canadian Tire money at us; there is even a devoted group of Canadian Tire fans in South Texas (where our band plays) who have never actually been to the store."
9. Nickelback, "Rockstar."
"This self-deprecating song is very reminiscent of 'Cover of the Rolling Stone' (which I've played for fun for many years), and provides a great self-mock for this hugely successful band that so many people claim to hate. We even learned it in the Max Q all-astronaut rock band, though not too well. I find it doubly fun for a peripheral musician like myself."
10. Rush, "Fly By Night."
"They were the first real rock band that I knew; simply guitar, bass, drums and vocals, but so much more. So original and unafraid, and from my part of the world. Listening to this tune while floating over the dark side of Earth sends a 'rush' up my back."
Ed Robertson's playlist
1. Chris Thile and Michael Daves.
"Old school-sounding bluegrass from two modern masters of the form."
2. Willie Nelson and Daniel Lanois, "The Maker."
"Willie's beautiful and haunting voice makes Lanois' song soar. The entire Teatro record is a must have."
3. A Tribe Called Quest, "Scenario."
"The definitive party time hip-hop classic. Busta changed everything on this track."
4. Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, "Gone Gone Gone."
"Led Zep frontman goes rootsy with the queen of bluegrass. So great."
5. Rush and Max Webster, "Battlescar."
"My older brother would kill me if I didn't include this. Canrock history was made on this track. It's still exciting."
6. Weakerthans and Jim Bryson.
"My favourite Canadian band finally got me to listen to the singer-songwriter I've been hearing about for years. The Falcon Lake Incident is a great listen."
7. Gnarls Barkley, "Crazy."
"Killer collaboration by Cee Lo Green and Danger Mouse. Also check out Shawn Colvin's amazing cover."
Bob McDonald's playlist
McDonald is a man who likes to play some music himself. In fact, he's jammed with Hadfield in Houston on several occasions.
"The last time, while playing in a pub in Houston, we got into a competition with a back-and-forth medley," he says. "It began with 'Stray Cat Strut' then went on to '16 Tons,' 'Hit the Road Jack' and so on for about 15 minutes. He can continue that list in space."
1. Stray Cats, "Stray Cat Strut."
2. Tennessee Ernie Ford, "16 Tons."
3. Ray Charles, "Hit the Road, Jack."
4. Van Morrison, "Moondance."
"Beyond those picks of songs that are fun to play with an astronaut, some thematic picks are in order. What better than 'Moondance' for appreciating the proximity of satellites?"
5.Dave Brubeck, "Take Five."
"And for anybody, some smooth jazz is great for unwinding. Dave Brubeck's intellectual jazz is the perfect pick."
6. Astrud Gilberto and Stan Getz, "Girl from Ipanema."
"And let's not get too far from the wonders of the planet left behind. Smooth and sultry, this song fits the bill."
on Dec 15, 2012