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Doug Koyama

Posted on 1 April 2011

I’m on the board of the Coldsnap Music Festival. When our festival ended this year, we had an afterparty with various musicians playing for all the volunteers. Partway through the night, a guy with grey dreadlocks set up some equipment and began singing. Through technological trickery, he then started harmonizing with himself, adding beats and melodies along the way. It was unlike anything I’d ever heard.

His name is Doug Koyama. He lives in Quesnel and has been making music since the 70s, mostly in the world of musical theatre. A few years ago, he embarked on what he calls a “voyage of discovery into Improvised A Capella with a Loop Pedal.”

Doug Koyama at Coldsnap Afterparty

This week, I got to speak to Doug in advance of his national tour. It was research for an interview on Daybreak North, which I’ve posted below. The funny thing with musicians is that sometimes there’s very little to talk about, and sometimes there’s more than you can possibly fit into a five-minute interview. Doug falls into the latter category. Carolina did a good job of getting in as much as she could, and I wouldn’t have done things any differently, but I thought I would share a few things I found out that couldn’t be included in the interview. In case you don’t want to keep reading, I should tell you that Doug is performing tonight at Cafe Voltaire at Books and Company, and tomorrow night at the ArtSpace (above Books and Company). You should definitely go if you have the chance. If you are in a city other than Prince George, check his tour dates at

Here’s the interview with my notes are below.


On knowing what works:

On making mistakes:

On blending in:

On the journey:

“One woman in the audience Saturday said she “visited” a beautiful Caribbean island. For me, the music took me back to the Punjab, India when, on my first morning, I awoke at 5 a.m. to the sounds of chanting in the courtyard. Koyama’s music can be many things. Waves of the ocean lapping on shore or seagulls flying in the air above. The sound of wind on a mountain top. It has a soaring sensation and you wonder what heights it will reach before it ends. You hope it never does.”

On being in the moment:

Again, you can find Doug and his work at He plays at Cafe Voltaire at Books and Company tonight, and the ArtSpace tomorrow. He then heads across Canada. Details are on his website.

Trois by Doug Koyama

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