Kits Beach Soundwalk

Hildegard Westerkamp / Hildegard Westerkamp

Kits Beach Soundwalk

About ten years ago I produced and hosted a radio program on Vancouver Co-operative Radio called Soundwalking, in which I took the listener to different locations in and around the city and explored them acoustically. Kits Beach Soundwalk is a compositional extension of this original idea.

Kitsilano Beach — colloquially called “Kits Beach” and originally in native indigenous language “Khahtsahlano” — is located in the heart of Vancouver. In the summer it is crowded with a display of “meat salad” and ghetto blasters, indeed light years away from the silence experienced here not so long ago by the native Indians.

The original recording on which this piece is based was made on a calm winter morning, when the quiet lapping of the water and the tiny sounds of barnacles feeding were audible before an acoustic backdrop of the throbbing city. In this soundwalk composition we leave the city behind eventually and explore instead the tiny acoustic realm of barnacles, the world of high frequencies, inner space and dreams.

Kits Beach Soundwalk was realized in 1989 in my own studio Inside the Soundscape and premiered in March, 1989 at the Vancouver Art Gallery.


  • March 1989, Hildegard Westerkamp, voice • Concert, Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver (British Columbia, Canada)