Popular Articles

Dubbed the “Movie Music King”, Ben Mink continues to influence Vancouver music scene

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email
Share on print

Click an icon above to share, email, or save this article

As a composer, performer and producer, Ben Mink has made award-winning music for 50 years. (Photo: Supplied)

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email
Share on print

Click an icon above to share, email, or save this article

Canadian songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and music producer Ben Mink is probably best identified as K.D.Lang’s long-time collaborator, but over the years he’s worked with a wide range of musicians: Susan Aglukark, Barenaked Ladies, Elton John, Feist, Geddy Lee and Rush, Heart, James Hetfield, The Klezmatics, Alison Krauss, Daniel Lanois, Anne Murray,  Roy Orbison, Wynona Judd, among others. 

So how did the son of Polish Jewish Holocaust survivors who grew up in Toronto assemble this impressive CV?  Living in Vancouver, BC, Mink said, “My formative years were steeped in Jewish music as well as popular folk-country, blues and rock.  My father, who was raised in a strict Ger Chassidic (dynasty) household, had a wonderful voice and took every opportunity to use it, until his final days.  My mother was brought up in a less religious but very cultured Warsaw family.” 

Early in his career, Ben joined Mary-Lou Horner in January 1969, “the rock/country house band at Toronto’s landmark club, The Rock Pile, at the old Masonic temple in downtown Toronto. We opened for many great bands at the time including Led Zeppelin,” he said.  He soon joined Blazing Zulus, FM, Murray McLauchlan’s Silver Tractors and Stringband.

Mink played electric violin on Rush’s 1982 album Signals. In 2000 he co-wrote, produced and played guitar on Geddy Lee’s record My Favourite Headache. He recorded with Rush again on the 2007 album Snakes & Arrows.

While he was playing with the French Canadian band CANO during the World Science Fair in 1985 in Tsukuba, Japan, Mink connected with Lang which in turn led to several other engagements in the Orient. Lang received a Juno Award in 1986 for Most Promising Female Vocalist wearing a wedding dress on stage. Thus began a nearly 20-year collaboration where he performed, co-wrote and produced several of her albums.

He also played violin, guitar and mandolin with Lang’s band The Reclines. TV.com reported “a performance for the Grammy nominated album Ingenue was recorded as part of the MTV Unplugged series at the Ed Sullivan Theatre” in December 1992, airing in 1993. Lang and Mink remain close friends, “sharing lots of mutual respect and history.”

Get thej.ca a Pro Israel Voice by Email. Never miss a top story that effects you, your family & your community

Their body of work is expansive: Angel With A Lariat (2 self-composed and one co-written); Absolute Torch And Twang (8 co-written songs and co-produced the album including Luck In My Eyes, Grammy nominated album which won for Best Country Record); Red Hot And Blue (produced and performed on So In Love); Ingenue (8 co-written songs including Constant Craving; co-produced the record which won a Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal); Even Cowgirls Get The Blues (soundtrack album for Gus Van Sant film – 13 songs co-written and album production); All You Can Eat (10 songs co-written and co-produced); Invincible Summer (2 songs co-written); Watershed (2 songs co-written); Hymns Of The 49th Parallel; Reincarnation (co-wrote 8 songs, remixed and produced the album).

Heeeere’s Johnny! with Ben Mink, k.d. lang and the rest of the band members at a 1988 performance on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. (Photo: Supplied)

Mink also worked with Willie P. Bennett, Bruce Cockburn, Dan Hill, Mendelson Joe, Ian and Sarah McLachlan, Methodman, Prairie Oyster, Raffi, Jane Siberry, Ian and Sylvia Tyson, and Valdy.

The Victoria Times-Colonist’s Glen Schaefer wrote, “Ben Mink Is Movie Music King,” after­ he provided the soundtrack to Fifty Dead Men Walking, for which he won a Leo Award for Best Musical Score for a Feature Length Drama and a 2010 Genie Award nomination for Best Achievement in Music – Original Score. Mink garnered numerous awards for TV soundtracks, including a 2007 Gemini for Best Biography Documentary Program, a story about British-Canadian engineer William Sampson.

In 2011, Mink’s composition Constant Craving from Ingenue was used in the seventh episode of the third season for its closing number. It was performed by Chris Colfer, Idina Menzel and Naya Rivera, noted Babette Babich in The Halleluja Effect: Philosophical Reflections on Music, Performance Practice and Technology.

Ben Mink is in his element whenever he performs with Geddy Lee and Rush in concert. (Photo: Supplied)

Reflecting back on his Jewish upbringing, Mink added, “That old world sensibility has informed every project I’ve ever worked on, including Ingenue, which in no small way owes a debt to Klezmer and Yiddish cabaret. It’s the paradigm by which I process most everything.”

Mink has produced a number of klezmer recordings as well: for The Black Sea Station, a North American klezmer super group’s debut record, Transylvania Avenue, Chava Alberstein with The Klezmatics, Finjan, and others.

He confirmed that he is one of a few artists who has ever shared a songwriting credit with Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. 

He and lang received songwriting co-credited for the Rolling Stones single, Anybody Seen My Baby, in 1997, because Jagger and Richards believed the chorus was so similar to Constant Craving, co-written by Mink and Lang in 1992.

Perhaps as a result of a full career as a collaborator, Ben Mink has released only one recording under his name, Foreign Exchange (1980 on Passport Records).

Mink has taught at the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University and Western Washington University. He delivered the introductory speech for k.d. lang’s Governor General’s Performing Arts Award induction at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa.

Since 2018, Mink has “mentored up and coming performers and (done) community service, and currently serves on the Board of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and the VSO School of Music.” In 2019 he was a solo guest on Songbird North and guest violin soloist and string arranger on Ann Wilson’s album Immortal

Over the past 12 months, during the pandemic, Mink told me he has “been experimenting with ambient electronic soundscapes, writing nautical fiddle tunes and curating my parent’s personal musical archives.” 

David Eisenstadt is Founding Partner of tcgpr.com, the Canadian Partner of IPREX Global Communication.  He is a graduate of Carleton University’s School of Journalism and the University of Calgary

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email
Share on print

Click an icon above to share, email, or save this article

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email
Share on print

Click an icon above to share, email, or save this article

Read More

Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

Happy reading!

Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

Happy reading!

cOMING SOON…….

Breaking News

Recent

Features

News

Current Events

Opinions

Politics

Religion

Culture

Memoriam and Obituaries

PodcastS

Terms and Conditions

Privacy Policy

About Us

Advertise with us

contact 

Subscribe Now

Receive the latest in community & international Jewish news direct to your inbox

© 2020 THEJ.CA, All Rights Reserved

Terms and Conditions

Privacy Policy

About Us

Advertise with us

contact 

Subscribe Now

Receive the latest in community & international Jewish news direct to your inbox

© 2020 THEJ.CA, All Rights Reserved

Subscribe Now

Receive the latest in community & international Jewish news direct to your inbox

Terms and Conditions

Privacy Policy

About Us

Advertise with us

contact 

© 2020 THEJ.CA, All Rights Reserved

Previous
Next