In just over two weeks, Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield and the Barenaked Ladies’ Ed Robertson will premiere what we’re guessing has to be the most long-distance music collaboration in history. With Hadfield orbiting somewhere above Earth on the International Space Station, and Robertson in Toronto’s CBC studios, they will perform “ISS (Is Somebody Singing),” a new song they’ve co-wrote.
In partnership with CBC Music and the Canadian Space Agency, the song was written for Music Monday, an annual event that brings together thousands of students and musicians across the country to celebrate in song on the same day at the same time.
The song will be unveiled Feb. 8, so in anticipation, and in true countdown form, here are 10 things you need to know in order to prepare.
Check back every day leading up to the premiere for updates from both Hadfield and Robertson.
10 things you need to know pre-song launch
10. Music Monday was started in 2005 as a means to “show the important links between school music programs, their communities and the cultural vitality of this country,” according to its website. Last year, more than 600,000 people participated coast to coast. It takes place the first Monday of May each year.
9. On top of being an accomplished cosmonaut, Hadfield has also proven his mettle as a musician. Just check out another recording he made from the space station, aptly titled “Jewel in the Night.”
8. Not only an avid musician, Hadfield has also been collecting sound samples from his time aboard the ISS and uploading them to his SoundCloud account. For example, below is what a toilet in space sounds like. Go ahead and click play, we know you want to.
7. Hadfield studied aviation systems, receiving a master’s degree from the University of Tennessee Space Institute. As such, he’s flown more than 70 different kinds of aircraft, although we’re not sure if that includes a wooden bicycle.
6. The name of the song that Hadfield and Robertson will be performing together shares the same initials as the International Space Station. Coincidence? Conspiracy? We’ll never know! (It was 100 per cent intentional.)
5. Hadfield has been blasted into space twice before, the first time being in 1995. As of March 14, he will also be the first Canadian commander of the International Space Station, and is currently on a five-month mission that started on Dec. 19.
4. He was also the first Canadian to float freely in space, spending a total of 14 hours and 54 minutes outside, circumnavigating the world 10 times.
3. Robertson, as far as we know, has not circled the world from space, but as part of the Barenaked Ladies, he’s performed all over it. BNL also initiated Barenaked Planet, an effort to make their tours more environmentally conscious.
2. In 2010, Hadfield was also commander of NEEMO 14, a NASA mission in an underwater facility off the Florida coast. According to the Canadian Space Agency, the mission “used the ocean floor to simulate exploration missions to the surface of asteroids, moons and Mars in order to gain a better understanding of how astronaut crews interact with equipment, including advanced spacesuits, a lander, a rover and robotic arms.”
1. Hadfield has a decent singing voice. Check out him and Robertson practising the new song here on Earth. Maybe if the whole astronaut thing doesn't work out, BNL could find a spot for him?
If you haven't already, you might want to follow Hadfield on Twitter (@Cmdr_Hadfield). With well over 200,000 followers, Hadfield is shaping up to be one of this year's biggest social media celebrities. His stream is part I can see your house from here, part philosophy and completely entertaining. Plus, maybe if you ask nicely, he'll take a picture of your house from space.
Chris Hadfield, Ed Robertson and Bob McDonald share playlists to prep for space
Listen to Chris Hadfield perform a Christmas carol about space, from space
Learn more about Music Monday
on Jan 24, 2013