my friends m and m and I joke about what if canada’s national anthem was spelled “oh canada!” instead of “o canada.” as in, “oh canada, i didn’t see you there, when did you get here.” “oh canada, i didn’t see you pass me on your snow board.” or “oh canada, how nice of your to host the olympics.” i watched the opening ceremonies last night and felt a twinge of national pride. let me be clear, i didn’t feel national pride during the nelly furtado bryan adams duet. that was a hot mess. especially the horrible lip-syncing. but i did feel proud when k.d. lang stepped up and killed that leonard cohen song (although what was up with the david byrne suit?).
i’ve had some other nice reuniting feelings about canada lately. i was driving around winnipeg today, listening to CBC, and something felt so right about spending this year getting to know this place again. and it is really nice that part of that involves getting to know the music and arts of this country again. try as i did to not let that stuff drift away when i moved to the states, it inevitably did. mamasquared and r did a little gig in winnipeg this week. a haiti relief show. and besides mama and r being lovely on stage, i got to see a couple of other awesome native winnipeg musicians (check them out – john k samson of the weakenthans and daniel ROA). seeing live music is just one of the best things.
i’ve been taking a class on music management. canada has some great government funding for the arts (even despite having a conservative government right now.) thanks to some of this funding, there is an awesome local non-profit called Manitoba Music that supports and nurtures musicians. they have a new program to support artist managers. it’s just five classes, but i am learning a ton. i am particularly excited about the marketing aspect of the work and can’t wait to experiment with the band. all this is to say that canada is pretty awesome in many ways. don’t get me wrong, we still got issues (like bryan adams and nelly furtado duets), but there are some things that we do pretty well.
i’ve been booking flights, hotels, van rentals, pricing tour buses, talking to venues, and folding band t-shirts. only six days until we hit the road and so much to do still. i can hear the band in the basement practicing – some bass, a little tambourine, accordion, harmonica, and some sweet-sounding voices. oh canada, i could drink a case of you.
i opened yahoo this morning and saw a news story about the earthquake in Haiti. i thought something must be wrong with yahoo’s site because the headline made it seem like the earthquake just happened today. alas, i read on only to discover that they had a horrible aftershock today and i thought, ‘can’t these people catch a break?’ i’ve been hesitant to write anything about Haiti. truth be told, i’ve been hesitant to think that much about Haiti. so much sadness is difficult to comprehend and feel. i keep searching for some pearl of wisdom, some insight that will help it make sense or at least provide some clarity. i come up with nothing. it is just horribly horribly sad.
another Canadian singer-songwriter passed away this week – kate mcgarrigle. she was best know for the music she created with her sister, anna mcgarrigle. she was also the mother to the awesome rufus and martha wainwright. i saw the mcgarrigle sisters perform once in 1996 or 1997 at the Southgate House in Newport, Kentucky. i went with my dear friend Julie. hi jules! i had been living in the States for about two years and was struggling to find ways to stay connected to Canada. i remember that it was pouring rain that night and all throughout the show, you could hear the rain hitting the roof. that evening, the mcgarrigle sisters helped me feel a little more connected to Canada and home.
i was on youtube this morning watching clips of the mcgarrigle-wainwright family and found the following clip. it seemed like an appropriate way to tie together the two topics of this post. i hope that everyone who is reading this is safe, appreciating the comforts of their surroundings, and holding their loved ones close. be well.
i’m back in winnipeg. this place is cold. seriously. friends who live south of the border…you don’t know cold. ok, maybe you milwaukee peeps and maybe you chicago peeps, but those of you in d.c. or even new york, you really don’t know cold. it is minus 11 right now as i write this. and the interwebs tell me that “it feels like” minus 37. and that’s farenheit people. the other night papasquared and i discussed how people must have settled here in the spring or summer. thinking it was nice, lots of space, moderate climate, rivers, farming land, they stayed. and then winter came. and there was no escaping. it was too cold to go anywhere and nothing close enough to escape to. thus, came winnipeg. yet, people have stayed. miraculously. and the population slowly continues to grow.
the job part of this adventure has kicked into overdrive. lots to do and learn before the touring starts next month. the babies seem to be doing really well. napping, eating, playing all like regular happy babies. it will be interesting to see how they adjust to life on the road. i’ve gained a new appreciation for all the detail involved in the band work. i’ve already started about three different checklists/spreadsheets in an effort to organize everything that feels so new to my brain.
sadly, an awesome mexican-american-canadian singer passed away last week. lhasa de sela. i first heard her at the winnipeg folk festival sometime around 1998. i was mesmerized and made sure to catch all her performances that weekend. i even remember being backstage with mamasquared and catching a glimpse of lhasa and swooning. we were the same age and she died of breast cancer. such a talent. such a loss. check out the clip above.