Friday, April 19, 2013

"Stone and Silt" - the owl call scene

In one scene in "Stone and Silt," Nikaia's father tells a story from his days as a trapper in the Stein Valley near Lytton. Papa's ability to make an owl call comes into play in the story.

What's an owl call?

Well, when I grew up in Lytton we called them "loon calls." It's a sound you can make by cupping your hands together into an airtight bowl, then parting your thumbs to form an aperture. You blow across the aperture, just like you might with a beer bottle, and - with some practice - a reedy or hooty sound will result.

The cool thing is, while you're making the call you can flutter your fingers to vary the pitch, producing a sound similar to the call of a loon. You can even play out a melody.

(The video below has my attempt at playing a song from Les Miserables, accompanied by my younger daughters on violin. I don't know why we all look so serious! We were cracking up in between takes.) 

This is one of the very useful skills that I learned from my older sister Lyn. (Nose-cracking was another one.) My daughters were about the age of Klima - Nikaia's younger sister in the book - when I showed them how to do the loon call. They practiced diligently until they got it - and now they can produce a piercing owl hoot or a haunting loon call at will. That's my girls!

Just thought I'd pass on this bit of trivia. There are reasons owls are important in the story... but I'll save that for another time.

Stone and Silt is scheduled for release in Fall 2013.

1 comment:

  1. It's great to pass on Canadian culture to the next generation