Canadaland’s Aliya Pabani visits Abbotsford to host new podcast

Music, Off The Vine

What do feminism, art, and Chad Kroeger have in common?

What’s the bridge between Canadian art and Nickelback frontman Chad Kroeger? Apparently, Abbotsford. On March 18 Aliyah Pabani, host of Canadaland’s new Wednesday podcast, The Imposter, took the stage at UFV’s main lecture hall for the show.

The event featured a mix of pre-recorded material, live interviews, comedy by Fatima Dhowre, and an eclectic performance by Vancouver band Mourning Coup. It then turned toward the ridiculous, when, in a series of recorded phone calls, Pabani tries to reach the person responsible for Kroeger’s mansion in Abbotsford — she wants a tour. Perhaps not the craziest request, since the property is up for sale. Eventually, the string of calls reaches Kroeger’s publisher.

Pabani’s excitement was clear despite the fuzz of the recording.

“Oh my god — do you know how to get in there?” He did not; the most Pabani got from the phone call was an indication of the mansion’s size: “It’s not as big as the one Michael Buble’s building right now.”

Pabani’s interest in Kroeger’s mansion proved unsuccessful but not fruitless. As seemingly out-of-left-field as the topic was, the event was well-received by local attendees.

To the uninitiated listener, The Imposter casts a wide net: covering everything from performance art to literature and, as their live show proved, humour. The show’s scattered nature goes right back to its inception, when the results of a nationwide host search went awry.

“The first host [Canadaland] had chosen before me ended up leaving at the last minute,” says Pabani. “On the launch [date], they had a show, they had sold tickets—everything had been announced. And at the very last minute she decided to take another job.”

As a result, The Imposter’s first episode was as new to its creators as it was to the audience. Its half-entertainment, half-commentary make-up was informed by Pabani’s convictions.

“I’m of the mind that most, if not all, art is political,” she says. “It’s part of my make-up.”

While she agrees there’s more to art than feminist interpretation, Pabani doesn’t shy away from the feminist label.

“I wouldn’t say everything is about feminism and politics, but I think there’s so little of that critical discourse happening that if you speak about those things, you’re The Feminist. Talking through those broader social or political interests is a way to engage with any form of art.”

While Pabani acknowledges the gap between her podcast’s focus and Kroeger’s real estate, she still saw some value in the goose chase.

“I just thought, if we were going to do something so incredibly low-brow in the show, it had to be this,” she said.