Gord Downie. Land and Sea. Poetry and Music.

Canadians possess a fierce pride of identity. One vital thread of our complex cultural history is so young that we can reach back and be within a generation or two of touching those pioneers who, along with the First Nations strong voices before them, helped forge our identity. And from those markers we can draw a direct line to each generations’ cultural benchmarks. Our sense of self as Canadians is etched on the landscape where we first identified with these distinctly Canadian heroes. The Canadian Shield, the Rockies, the Great Lakes, three Oceans and the Hudson’s Bay.  From which birthed the Group of Seven and their compatriots who painted what we felt, to poet Al Purdy considered by some the quintessential voice of Canada , giving words to those same feelings. Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell, and on to the Tragically Hip. Their music echoes the rough wildness of the land, laced with the most sophisticated and graceful turns of phrase. Land and sea. The poetry and the music. The Hip sound like our Canada. Just as Emily Carr’s and Tom Thomson’s paintings look like our Canada. gd

Like Purdy, Gord Downie’s poetry and lyrics do not shy away from the stark, the harsh, the vulnerable, the real. Without pretense. On a cold February night in 2013, a friend and I sat in Koerner Hall, Toronto, for a fundraiser supporting the preservation of Al Purdy’s A Frame cabin. Al Purdy’s home at the edge of Roblin Lake in Prince Edward County Ontario had always welcomed artists and would continue to be an education resource and home of cultural discovery. A place of legacy and cultivation. Gord Downie performed.

“I am drinking yellow flowers

in underground sunlight

and you can see that I am a sensitive man.”

You could be forgiven if you attributed this line to a Hip lyric. It is from Al Purdy’s “At the Quinte Hotel”. The thread from Purdy to Downie re-stitched. I marveled and also reveled that for Canadians, a poet’s home was worthy of preservation. That our cultural stars believe in the importance of place – identity, legacy, cultivation.

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Gord Downie reading ‘At The Quinte Hotel’

Flashback to early summer 2000. I am spending the better part of a week recording soprano Barbara Dunn-Prosser and pianist Brian Jackson at The Bathouse, the recording studio created by The Tragically Hip. Dunn-Prosser’s ‘Till We Meet Again’ was the first classical recording we were told, to be recorded at the studio. I opted to stay on-site, immersing in the space that had an extraordinary Canadian pedigree, trying to absorb as much as I could to  in some intangible way, infuse it back into the recording. The state of the art studios, driveway basketball hoop, wild rhubarb patch through the path out the back door, Lake Ontario at its front doorstep and the warm Bathouse Team. Creating the capacity for Canadian musicians to fulfill their artistic visions. A place of legacy and cultivation.

I’ve never met Gord Downie but he has had a tremendous influence on my creative career. It’s very Canadian to feel a familiarity with our cultural stars.  Lyrics and poetry resonate because they are drawn from our collective landscapes. Our stories are intertwined. Yet we are also determined to etch out our own destinies and this is what Gord Downie continues to inspire. Brilliantly. His path and that of the Tragically Hip, have been uniquely theirs. We can’t help but say, uniquely Canadian. This final summer tour solidifying our collective identity, securing their legacy as they write their own history.  Gord Downie continues to be the author of his own story. And in doing so, he has become the hero of ours.

(You can see Gord Downie read ‘At The Quinte Hotel’ in a wonderful short film shot in 2002, here: https://youtu.be/vPKeczB3wrg )

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Al Purdy’s A Frame Cabin

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The Bathouse Recording Studio

Feeling the Love in South Carolina!

On one of May’s enviously sunny day’s shortly after following her heart to South Carolina, a certain Willow  – or was it Poppy – strolled into a warm, funky, artist inspired shoe salon. And the rest, as they say, is history!

Talloni, a Shoe Salon, is a cornerstone of Greer South Carolina’s downtown – and now it carries our line of jewelry! new collection version 2The first shop to do so. Owned by the ‘beautiful inside and out’ Kristi, this is more than just a place to find fabulous footwear. She has created a welcoming atmosphere that encourages lingering, chatting, trying on shoes after boots after shoes, and then trying on some more. No rush, no pressure, just the promise of a friendly smile with the highest quality footwear ‘to boot!’ (as they say in Canada!).

 

And speaking of Canada, the other half of the Willow and PoppyClutch Grouping duo who is responsible for the gorgeous one of a kind clutches that appeared in our ETSY shop this fall, has been invited to show and sell these hand crafted pieces at ‘Crafted’. This unique artisan Christmas show will be held in London Ontario the first two weeks of December. If you live in Southwestern Ontario, there is your chance to pick one up! These are limited one of a kind…

 

 

Back to South Carolina. Our jewelry has found another supporter in downtown Spartanburg at the delightful clothing and accessories shop ‘Two Doors Down‘! The lovely owner Kelly has created a bright, cheerful space full of gorgeous clothing and funky accessories. Truly something for everyone.

 New Collection

It is amazing how a simple nod of acknowledgement can give you just the nudge of encouragement needed. For our Southern States followers, dropby Talloni’s and Two Doors Down to ‘feel the love’! And if you are in the London Ontario area definitely check out The Arts Project.

We’re Bach!

As Founding & Executive Producer for this fabulous Canadian summer music festival, I am pleased to share this latest release from the Bach Music Festival of Canada!

We’re Bach!
2013 Season Announcement!

As promised at the end of our 2011 sell-out season when we announced ‘We’ll be Bach….!’indeed the Festival has returned!

The Bach Music Festival of Canada is excited to announce its stellar line-up of artists, concerts, and master classes, for the 2013 Summer Season! Back after its sold-out inaugural season in 2011, the Festival continues to build on its relationships with Canada’s most renowned and respected artists while cultivating roots in the heart of Huron County, Ontario.

The Sunday July 14th Gala Opening concert features Juno award nominated instrumentalist Susan Hoeppner, (Flute) in concert with the incomparable percussionist Beverley Johnston. In having Ms Hoeppner launch the 2013 season, Artistic Director Gerald Fagan states “We met Ms Hoeppner at the 2012 JUNO awards and were struck not only by her extraordinary artistry but the warmth and intelligence she brings to her performance. Truly a Canadian star on the International stage!”

Other Guest Artists include the JUNO nominated Jazz performer Fern Lindzon; Baroque specialists Capella Intima; the fantastic Project Aria (featuring Guy Few (Trumpet), Leslie Fagan (Soprano), Stephanie Mara(Piano); the much loved Bach Youth Choir (Brenda Zadorsky, Conductor), and the newly formed Bach Festival Chamber Choir & Orchestra under the direction of Artistic Director Gerald Fagan.

The Saturday July 20th Closing Gala presentation of the great Bach work the St John Passion, features soloists, orchestra and a mass choir equaling over 150 performers in total with Artistic Director Gerald Fagan conducting. This final gala concert will take place at the extraordinary Huron Tractor Showroom! Truly, music in the heart of the community!

Bach Music Festival of Canada
July 14 – 20 2013
Exeter Ontario Canada
An Inspiring Season of Music!

Full details about the Bach Music Festival of Canada are found on our website http://www.bachfestival.ca. And you can always join us on Face book.

Photos, Interviews and Quotes available by contacting the Festival at 519 235-2565 ext 223; or by email at bachmusicfestival@bellnet.caBach Music Festival of Canada