How Do You Do Kitsilano: Grant McDonagh of Zulu Records

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Michael Millard has started a web project called How Do You Do that profiles passionate people in Vancouver about whatever is important to them.

The purpose is two-fold: to introduce Vancouver to some of the interesting individuals who might just live around the corner and to raise funds for imagine1day.org – a Kitsilano-based charity whose mission is to have every child in Ethiopia gain access to quality education.

One of How Do You Do’s first profiles is Kitsilano’s Zulu Records.

Zulu Records is one of the top record stores in Canada, and its continued success in this age of light sculptures made of old (lo-fi)CDs and earbuds full of (even lower-fi) mp3s, is largely due to the controversial contention of its owner, Grant McDonagh, that every era produces good music (including locally), and that music is something worth sharing with your friends.

Grant founded Zulu at West 4th & Maple in 1981, in the void created by the shuttered Quintessence Records, with the intention of continuing that store’s mission to promote the alt-sounds coming out of New York & London (punk, new-wave). Also, then as now, the store became committed to supporting local acts and even producing a few of their records.

Just last month, Grant & his staff acted as musical curators for the Khatsalano Art & Music Festival, which saw 29 bands play over 6 stages spread across a car-free 4th Ave, many of them local, all of them excellent and eclectically selected. As the city and neighborhood around it have changed owners, functions, and skins over the years, Zulu has maintained an enviable consistency & appeal, growing into its role as elder statesman while remaining the coolest kid on the block.

Last modified: August 22, 2011

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