It is with pleasure that I present this issue of 'abovegroundtesting' to you.  If you have ever had one of those experiences of 'kismet', you may understand how things happened.  One day I opened my mail and read a message about Patricia O'Callaghan's website.  She had to have a new one because of some cybersquatting.  This got me thinking, no not about cybersquatting, but about whether she would ever be interested in being featured in this ezine.  So I wrote back to the person who sent me the notice.  The person suggested I write directly to Ms. O'Callaghan and ask her.  So I did and she agreed.  Let me tell you it was an exciting day at 'abovegroundtesting' world headquarters when THAT email came in. 
    I also discovered she had produced a new CD which I promptly downloaded from Puretracks so it was all legal.  It is an amazing CD and you'll read my review of it later on in the issue.   I will be honest I am a fan of Patricia O'Callaghan, she is one of those talents that restores your faith in the music industry.  When all you're surrounded with is a bunch of poseurs, gangstas, wannabes and no talents dependent on the magic of computers rather then their own voice, Patricia is a breath of fresh air.  Her voice is magical and her interpretation of songs, be they classic cabaret to modern compositions will bring joy to your heart.  As you can read, she describes herself as a 'magical mysterious character' and that's probably true.  She is a talent you can enjoy and so take the time to read the interview, my review and yes some great poetry.

    Patricia O'Callaghan was born and raised in Northern Ontario, living in small communities such as Dryden, Sioux Lookout and Iroquios Falls.  If she had one constant it was music and it was at an early age her talent was noticed.  It was during the year she lived in Mexico as an exchange student she decided to make singer her life career and her choice of music was opera.  This led to her later attending the University of Toronto where she studied and gained her degree in musical performance.  It was during these years she immersed herself in the unique music scene that is Toronto.  She also began to perform in her own avant-garde music group, which gained an award at a music competition in Dusseldorf Germany. 
    However it wasn't until 1999 when she won a Chalmer grant that she was able to stop waitressing and concentrate full-time in developing her musical career.  She has released four CD "Youkali', "Slow Fox", "Real Emotional Girl" and this year's "Naked Beauty".  Now, her talent has been extended onto the stage and television, in the case of the latter she has appeared in the television series "Foolish Heart", and "Youkali Hotel".  On the stage she took the role 'Penny" in 'Three Penny Opera" and this year toured Europe in "Constantinople".
    When not doing all this, she resides in Toronto. 

1) First of all, who is Patricia O'Callaghan

a magical mysterious character

2) So how does a young girl from Northern Ontario become the toast of two continents? Where did the road take you and what were
 some of the stops along the way.

Favorite memories are being snowed in in Newfoundland in December, making a movie (Youkali Hotel) in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan in a run
 down hotel with no heat in 54 below weather, going to a gig in St. Catherine's, Ontario, where noone showed up only
to find out the next day
my agent had given us the wrong venue, doing a gig in my hometown of Iroquois Falls, Ontario, and
sleeping in my childhood bedroom that night
 (our house is now a small hotel for mill employees), singing with baritone Bryn
Terfel at Roy Thompson Hall, touring with Don Byron throught
the States and finding out jazz players are on a whole different
time schedule (our gig started at eight and we hadn't left the hotel yet), singing at the Brooklyn Academy
 of Music for Kurt
Weill's 100th birthday, opening for the crazy Tiger Lillies throughout Germany, you know what, it goes on and on, so I may as well stop

3) You are considered, among other things, a cabaret singer, how do you define that style of music and is there an audience for it in the 21st Century?

 I think there' an audience for anything that's really good.  Cabaret, coming from the social and economic repression in France and Germany at the turn of the last century created enourmously eclectic evenings.  Anything went.  Political criticism and irony and humour abounded.  I do a little of all these things

4)  Your CD's have mixed  classical cabaret music such as Kurt Weill with other individuals such as Leonard Cohen and Randy Newman?  Randy Newman??  Why him.  I realize he is perhap better know for "Short People" but you have his other works  including the first track of your new CD.

Randy is very much in the cabaret tradition, huge irony, humour,and a fantastic songwriter

5) I truly enjoyed your interpretation of "Hallelujah" by Leonard Cohen, what was your interpretation of the song, because whatever it was, it's wonderful.

It was the end of a big love relationship

6) Your new CD features some collaborative work with Steve Page of "Barenaked Ladies", again some one most people wouldn't consider, how did that collaboration start and how did you feel about the songs produced.

I found out he liked my stuff and our managers got us in touch.  He is also very "cabaret" in his songwriting, not to mention a fantastic guy.

7) You're going beyond being a recording artist, how did your performance go with "ThreePenny Opera" in Vancouver?

It was another highlight for me.  I loved it deeply

8) You're also involved with the musical "Constantinople", how did you get involved with this project and what is required of you.  Could you also tell me about it.

Versatility and solid tecnique is riquired as well as an open mind and stage experience and poise.  It's about religion, culture, east meeting  west, truth, beauty, and it's great.

9) Your latest CD, "Naked Beauty", I noticed you have a number of styles going through the different tracks, how would you describe the CD?  Also I noticed in one review you mentioned the title as being provocatve, while this comes from a song, why did you choose this title?

My boyfriend who hung out on the couch most of the time during the recording inplanted the idea of the title in all out brains very subtly and persistantly.  I think he liked it cause it sounds naughty.  I like it because it implies it's all about the song, the pure beauty of the song, as opposed to production and stuff.

10) Besides music, do you have any other artistic abilities and skills you want to share with the world?

none at this time

11) With both recording and live stage, which direction do you see your career going?

both, I don't want to exclude either.  I'll just have to be careful about my choices I suppose.

12) And what does the future hold for Patricia O'Callaghan?

lots of exciting adventures

    If you read past issues of this ezine, you know I have reviewed other material by Patricia O'lCallaghan.  To sum up my past opinion, I enjoyed "Slow Fox" and was dissappointed with "Real Emotional Girl".  I suppose my disappointment in the latter was due to the repeat of previously released material and I personally am not too fond of some of the artists she chose to interpret.  Okay, so I'm not a huge Eddie Vedder fan.  Now "Naked Beauty", what can I say.  Three words, Buy. It. Now.  That's it, buy it, play it, buy more to give as gifts, she needs to become the next great talent, because that's what she truly is.  As I listened to this CD I was impressed with the variety of styles she interpreted.  This is a lounge CD, it's a cabaret CD, it's an Alternative CD, its a pop CD.  What  unifies  it all is the sound of Patricia's voice.   It is wonderful.  As mentioned in  one of the questions, she collaborates with  Stephen Page of  the BNL, and let me say it is a collaboration that works, and works well.  They perform two duets and she share the writing duties of one song.  One of my favourites songs is "Tonight We Fly", it's a fast paced song that draws you inot her flight.
    You may wonder how can so many different styles exist on one CD and have it work?  It works because the unifying factor is the Voice of Patricia O'Callaghan.  She is in great  control and never do you feel its forced.  It flows and she adds depths of interpretation to each song.  Her control exists in the  way she interprets each song,  she's sing  "Dayton , Ohio" with the right level of easiness that makes it as inviting to listen to as  sharing 'tea with the missus and me'. which is part of the lyrics of the song.   She does continue her interpretation of cabaret and gives a bow to Leonard Cohen.  The instrumentalist provide the appropriate interpretation for her music and enhance her voice.She is also willing to experiment; two of her songs are sung in the Ladino  language. 
     One review commented that  Patricia has a determination  to refuse musical limitation;  it is aptly demonostrated in this CD and it makes it a gem.


    CW Hawes brings us more of the unique interpretive style:

A cloudy, dreary day --
so like the one when you
packed your things and left without saying



The woods
Near the river...
Our passion is driven
Like that bright red leaf being swept


this cold morning
my breath forms little clouds
vaporous bits
of my soul rejoining
the universe’s heaving breast


I kiss your sweet lips
and take joy at the union
of our hearts and souls
you’re my reason for living
until I wake from my dream


a stolid stoic
she ignores the laughter
and pointing fingers
until safe in her room
and then the tears come

Taylor Graham brings us her fascinating study of life:


For decades, the iron hen
atop the church-tower has pointed east,
facing the rising sun, wings tucked
neatly, tail tilted against
the west wind strong at her back.
    But that was before this new
riffling of the Sunday morning air
that brings some lost soul’s litter –
tatters of bright magazines
from far-away cities, slick shreds
with a faint whiff of tobacco,
or watered bourbon sliding
down a glass.

This morning the townsfolk
look at their neighbors aslant;
they stare; each one knowing
he alone stands righteous
as a compass. A whisper could be
blasphemy or prayer.


Imagine a rolling California blackout
while we’re sitting in the upstairs
of a refurbished Gold Rush water-hole
dug into ancient hillside rock,
with just the single fire-code compliant
scaffold for escape.
Ghosts are nothing but old legend.

We believe in music. Upstage
under spotlights a band’s been tinkering
with its sound machines. And then.
The power fades, a snitch of sunset sneaks
through velvet-curtained windows.
And then dark.

The guy with a guitar has nothing
to plug in to.

Come, sing me a poem with your own
acoustic voice, the one
that wooed me, how many years
of borrowed and half-forgotten songs ago.


For the Winter Pageant,
Mrs. Schwartz’s 6th grade class
is dancing on a desert island
with a single date palm

which hides the keyhole
through which peers Mrs. Schwartz
(a ruthless lot
who thinks of make-believe
as boot camp for a generation
raised on Reality TV).

But the little girl
in the salmon-colored tutu
and dingy saffron hair

just twirls herself dizzy
for this fantastical night
above footlights.


How do they stand it?
That tiny old couple leaning together
in a quiet smile in the midst

of the Friday night jam session,
perhaps it’s their great-great-
grandson on stage, yelling over a plugged-
in guitar with untaught voice.

The two of them so gently
poised, they don’t even cover
their ears, the fragile

drums, they’ve stood
so much already.

Richard Williams brings us television haikus


Bill Cosby writes books,
makes recordings and films, stars
in his TV show.

Steve Allen hosted
original Tonight Show,
authored twenty books.

Amos and Andy
white vaudevillians, wrote and
acted their own show.

Jay Leno---The Chin!
Took over The Tonight Show
from Johnny Carson

Jackie Gleason worked
in nightclubs, radio, TV,
films, and Broadway stage.

Red Skelton---actor
and comedian; starred in
The Red Skelton Show.

Johnny Carson was
the best paid TV talent
in America.

Sid Caesar came up
with zany, comic, sketches
for Your Show of Shows.


George Burns---in vaudeville,
movies, TV, radio. He
was a singer, too!

Lucille Ball---actress,
producer; star of TVs
hit, I Love Lucy.

Ed Sullivan---sports
reporter, television

Conan O'Brian
will be host of The Tonight
Show five years from now.

Lawrence Welk was  a
band leader; had TV show;
played "Champagne Music."

Jack Benny---radio
and TV performer; was
hit comedian.

Red Foxx was a great
comic; starred in TVs hit
show, Stanford and Son.

Arthur Godfrey was
radio and television
ad lib performer.

The Late, Late Show's Craig
Kilborn---a very young man---
recently retired.

Milton Berle---he starred
in Texaco Star Theater,
and in the movies.

David Letterman---
the gap-toothed one--- is bumping
heads with Jay Leno.

Hear "Imus in the
Morning"---shock-jock radio
with biting humor.

Fred Allen displayed
his laconic style, dry wit,
and flawless timing.

Stan Freberg---rock and
roll radio satirist;
parodied hit songs

Rush Limbaugh, titan
talk radio host, is now
hooked on pain killers

The End

richard h williams

Dina brings us this fare from Russia

The Prayer - the letter

Devoted to the friend - to Aurora Antonovic

I do not know where you are now
But I am with you in my ideas,
With my heart and my soul.
I see you so well,
As if you are near me -
You are the same Fine Princess
With hot black eyes
And with magnificent waves of hair.
I hear your voice -
It is voice of your poetry,
Which sings about beauty, about love.
Sometimes your voice is crying, sometimes is angry,
But it always is a voice of sincere poetry!
I don't know now, where you and how you?..
But I ask God to help you,
To protect you from illnesses and troubles.
I ask God to return you
To the joyful world of your friends,
of your relatives and your poetry.
Yes, it will be so!
Farewell to Autumn
Again the Autumn leaves us.
What for to shout: " the Trouble! Misfortune! "
We shall not accuse a wind,
Which has torn off all leaves.
Autumn go away imperceptibly,
As the wife who any more does not like:
She only, will nod affably,
And from a rain, as from vine
We are already drunk.
Leaves fly from trees, as birds.
We want to sing and love,
And to take a shawl from a laughing blizzard,
That To put on it on the frozen linden.

Poems for my Sweden friend Kerstin

There is the little red house
Somewhere,  in the mysterious Sweden
There is the little red house
And field around it.
There are kind horses.
That look sorrowfully
At their Kerstin -
At my far, familiar/unfamiliar friend,
Who lives in this little red house
Somewhere, in the mysterious Sweden...

2. It is the song of  a road

My train is singing
The song of roads.
I am looking through a window: 
Yellow and  red trees
Are seeing me off
With  sorrowful, mysterious eyes. 
Wet with rain, the bushes,
The grass, and October's flavours,
Are telling me:
Maybe we  shall never
Meet again.
I am looking through the window,
There are many old, little houses
Under the ramshackle, black roofs
In lonely, poor villages.
They are looking at that train,
And at me, in the window;
There aren't many people in these villages,
And almost never childish laughs are heard,
But I am thinking, somewhere,
Two adult persons – a man and a woman,
Are watching the TY - program for  Sweden,
And after that they are traveling;
In their thoughts and dreams,
In that country,
But they Know nothing about
Two Swedish persons:Kerstin and Olle,
And their little red house,
And horses, and the fields nearby.
My train is singing
The song of  roads.

My love

My love is tired of me.
She has been so for a long time
by support for me
And by help for me the Fastest.
I spilled too many tears ,
I fell down too often,
I was only a pain, unlucky,
had a lot of questions.
But she desired rest and joy -
To sit untroubled near a cheerful fire,
And watch TV in the evening
… My love is tired of me,
And the grief of centuries
Has squeezed at once my shoulders.
( Has squeezed down on my shoulders.)

Dina Televitskaya

    It's the  season of change, the fall colours are almost expired ending up as piles of leaves to be raked and disposed of.  The weather has gone from wet to dry, warm to chilly.  It is the time for fires to be lit and people to gather to feel the warmth and drying of the flame.  Another couple of weeks, the first snow of the season will appear and our thoughts will turn to the season of light, Christmas and other festivals of lights.  We are almost celtic in our attiude, seeking the glow of friendly flames and the company of family and friends.
    Next month is the annual Christmas issue, let's consider it the celebration of Lights.  The peace of the open flame and warm hearth that we share.  I'll work on some work to share the theme.  In January, the theme is will tea.  I had a coffee issue and now let's go to the other warm caffeinated drink, tea.  Who knows perhaps a special issue dedicated to cola drinks is still to come.

    If you want to submit some work, the address is .  You can write, send your poetry, your short stories, art work or photographs.  All are welcomed.  If you have any news, a new book being published, I'll include that as well.  If you just want to write and say 'hi', I'll answer back, that's a promise.