Jeff Giles and I have been making music together for a long time - we did our first tour together, 'The Winged Things', back in 2009, before either of us had ever recorded anything. It was a pleasure and an honour to be invited to sing harmonies on the newest release.
The Jellyfish Project School Presentation program is a unique and powerful assembly focused on generating awareness among youth about ocean sustainability, climate change, and environmental stewardship. Through the power of music and live performance, students are engaged into issues about environmental justice and are empowered to become active participants in the movement.
It's an honour and a privilege to be a part of the team of artists that presents on behalf of the JFP. I'll be spending a week and a half of mornings & afternoons in January across southern Ontario & Quebec, engaging young people in their schools about the environment through music. How dreamy is my life.
Mapstone Music is coming all the way from the east coast of Australia to share their music with the west coast of BC. Chris Mapstone has been making amazing roots music for over 10 years; when we met, we were working together for the world's largest environmental organization, and he was writing and singing for the Canadian band 'Root System'. Now based out of Byron Bay, New South Wales, and front-lining 'Mapstone', Chris brings his folk style and training and experience in cultural instrumentation from around the world to his music, including traditional flutes and the didgeridoo, and his lyrics reflect his passion and understanding for equality, freedom of speech, self-reflection, and the environment. He believes that music is a very potent and strong spiritual practice, and his danceable shows radiate with intention and healing - you leave feeling lighter.
Together with his partner Jemma Gawned they make Sacred Sonics, working together to create transformative experiences through the coupling of cacao ceremony and music.
I had the pleasure of joining Mapstone and Sacred Sonics for their new years' eve set this winter at the Woodford Festival in Queensland, Australia, and I'm so stoked to have been invited to join them again as their opening act for the 'Sacred Life' tour!
Aug 15 - Ganges Yoga, Salt Spring Island
Aug 16 - Ganges Yoga, Salt Spring Is
Aug 17 - Spinning Ninny Arts, Duncan
Aug 18 - Copper Owl, Victoria
Aug 20 - Coastal Bliss Yoga, Tofino
Aug 21 - Roberts Creek Legion, Roberts Creek
Aug 22 - Blessed Coast Festival, Squamish
Aug 24 - Crystal Lounge, Whistler
Aug 30 - Backstage Lounge, Vancouver
It continues to amaze me the ways that music and change work so beautifully together. Over 25 organizations and community groups came together to put on an incredible party to protect the land and the water, including Pull Together, David Suzuki Foundation, Tankerfree BC, Georgia Strait Alliance, ForestEthics Advocacy, 350Vancouver, Dogwood initiative, Join the Circle, Living Oceans, GenWhyMedia, Check Your head, The Starfish Kids for Climate Action, , Our Horizon, RAVENtrust, Tar Sands Solutions Network , Wilderness Committee, The Ocean Legacy Foundation , Rising Tide 604, Sierra Club BC, Pacific Wild Alliance, CPAWS BC, UBC350, We Love This Coast, and The Jellyfish Project.
The medicine in this, for me, was the opportunity for us to come together, as change-makers, as those who officially give-a-shit, whether we call ourselves artists or activists, or organizers, or administrators, or anything in between, it was a chance for us to be together and be witnessed by the inlet, the mountains, for us to take time to be together in the sunshine, be together by the water, be together to celebrate the beauty of what we have. It makes the moments when I forget why we do it so much easier. I got to share the stage with Giraffe Aftermath, Viper Central, Sandy Scofield, Monica Lee Band, Ta’Kaiya Blaney & Kalilah Rampenen, MANIK and Bearodactyl, Oh, ya, and Jane Fonda was there, too.
The Red Jam Slam Society hosts events, celebrations,and annual festivals that feature emerging and seasoned aboriginal artists and performers. The grassroots Society encourages inclusive strategies that honour all Aboriginal voices and encourage all to participate with continued growth, presence, and expression within all media.
I was so honoured to have been invited as an ally performer as part of the lineup for the last day of the annual Red Jam Slam Radio Festival broadcast at the Bill Reid Gallery, which was broadcast live across the country. I had the privilege of sharing the mic with artists, musicians, carvers and storytellers like Ta'Kaiya Blaney, Audrey Seigle, Guanrgie O'Sullivan, Bev Sellars, Corey Bulpitt, Gwaii Edenshaw, OsTwelve, and Beau Dick.The sample below includes a few songs, some Haida Language lessons, and storytelling by carver Gwaii Edenshaw.
You can also click here to watch a fan video from the festival, from Ta'Kaiya Blaney's as-always powerful performance.
It's been a year since I stepped fully into the unknown of making music, and after handfuls of humbling requests, I'm so lit up that we're taking 'Say Yes' on the road. Starting in Toronto, ON, and traveling all the way across the country to Vancouver, BC, we'll be playing everything from concerts and festivals, to high schools and classrooms, to house shows and cafe's and yoga studios.
help us share our music.
If you see your city or town on the list, send us a message and let us know. We want to share our music with as many ears as possible, and we need your help to get the word out. Share a poster or event page on facebook, or even call a friend and let them know, old-school styles. Our shows are always sliding-scale donation based, and no-one will be turned away for lack of funds - music is for everyone.
This week, I was humbled to be invited to this interview for the Women, Peace and Security Network, a coalition of over 60 Canadian organizations and individuals committed to providing a forum for exchange and action on issues related to women, peace and security.
The Government of Canada has agreed to implement and create a National Action Plan for the Implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolutions on Women, Peace and Security (NAP). The WPSN-C does the important and challenging work of engaging with civil society and the Government of Canada to ensure that those commitments are honoured and that the resolutions and NAP are supported, monitored, and fulfilled.
The WPSN-C also supports The International Campaign to Stop Rape and Gender Violence in Conflict. The International Campaign brings together Nobel Peace Laureates, civil society organizations and individuals around the world in a powerful, coordinated effort for change. It demands political leadership to prevent rape in conflict, to protect civilians and rape survivors, and to prosecute those responsible.
They're an incredible organization, and once you read the article, I encourage you to take a look at some of the amazing work they are doing, and to share something that resonates with you.
I have put off making t-shirts for a long time - I'm pretty principled about bringing new stuff into the world that we don't need, and I work not to buy new clothes myself. But I keep hearing from you how much you love the music, the message, and the hand-lettered magic I make, and am encouraged and uplifted by how much you want to support what I am doing by wearing it on your bodies, and so I've created a way to make something in alignment with my values.
Right now, I've been thinking a lot about how women face physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual violence on a daily basis. Indigenous women, especially, continue to go missing or be murdered with minimal to no action to address the systemic nature of their loss - 35% of women who disappear are indigenous, despite making up only 2% of the population.
So I made something beautiful to show how I feel. These shirts are amazing for a pile of reasons. The company prides itself on support the local economy; the shirts themselves are 100% made in Canada - knitting, non-toxic dyeing, and the cutting & sewing department recycles their textile waste. Bamboo does not require fertilizers or pesticides for cultivation and it grows rapidly and profusely without depleting the soil. Bamboo also has a lower environmental impact than pesticide-laden conventional cotton and petroleum-derived nylon and polyester fabrics, and It's also inherently moisture wicking and anti-bacterial.
Most importantly, proceeds from these shirts will be shared with the annual DTES Women's Memorial March, held every year on Valentines Day. The March addresses the systemic nature of gendered violence and to honours the lives of women, especially the thousands of missing and murdered indigenous women who disproportionately continue to disappear every year without acknowledgement or action. I live in the DTES and am proud to create something beautiful in service of shining light on this critically important issue.
Visit lovelettersforeverybody.ca to order one for you, or for someone you love. The more shirts that are out there, the more we can contribute together. How better to tell someone you love them by letting them know the gift on the way supports hope and healing.
The seed that I've planted about wanting to share my music in conscious, connected community spaces is definitely growing strong. In Melbourne, I played a sunset show at Testing Grounds as part of their grand summer re-opening. An urban community arts and green space that's nestled amongst the urbanity of the Melbourne CBD in traditional Wurundjeri Country, Testing Ground is a breath of fresh air in a busy city landscape, featuring community gardens, a workshop & art studio, an outdoor cafe & bar, gallery space, and a recycled shipping container stage (complete with twinkly lights and a rooftop edible garden).
This co-operatively owned space who's operation is equally shared between the city and the community is host to construction projects, art installations in progress, beekeeping, textile, metal and woodworking workshops, permaculture, organic & delicious food, support for locally made wine and microbreweries, and an incredible, welcoming vibe. My time in Melbourne overlapped with the Asian Cup Tournament, and I happily & humbly shared the stage & the space with 'Kick a Goal for Palestine', a event held in solidarity with Palestinians, other nations that are participating in the tournament like Brazil and Peru, and Aboriginal Australians in honour and in commemoration of the first Palestinian team to play in the tournament in history. The occasion rides on the coat-tails of Palestine being given international recognition through acknowledged statehood, and a host of speakers before & during the show, as well as a projected film screening of the independent film 'Goal Dreams' afterwards, highlights the profound challenges that comes with putting together an internationally-ranking football team in an occupied war zone. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to the team, the organizers, and to the Testing Grounds for hosting such an incredible event.
Music is medicine for me. I am always open to exploring new collaborations and connections when discovering the ways that music can heal. I had the opportunity to join Sacred Sonics in the Blue Lotus tent at the Woodford Festival in Queensland, Australia, on New Years Eve, for a Cacao ceremony and a live roots show. Chris & I have been working and playing together for years, starting with our time together speaking up for the planet at Greenpeace, and we have since both stepped fully into making the music we love so deeply in service to the world we love so much. Playing together was a beautiful way for us to set intentions for the new year.
This video was captured at our first jam rehearsal, as we were learning some of the songs for the first time.
I had the chance to step up on stage & make some magic with not one, but two brilliant local musicians at the New Paradigm Festival at Paradise One, an Eco-Retreat in the Byron Bay Hinterland that's committed to sustainability - they grow most of their fresh produce, they harvest their own water, and most of their energy usage comes from solar power. The 1.2km of frontage on Wilson's Creek has teaching permaculture gardens, an organic restaurant, several stages, workshop & treatment space with artists and practitioners on site, and a gorgeous view. Every summer, they host a gift economy fueled currency-free festival where admission is determined by what you bring to gift, offer and share.
Mapstone invited me to join them for their set on the Island Stage - I can't get my hands on that footage just yet, but here's a sample from their set at IslandVibe just a few weeks before.
I also got the chance to meet & make music with epic artist Murray Kyle. We got to truly play, weaving in and out of each other's songs. Here he is singing a Ben Harper cover in the sunset in Byron Bay.
At the Uplift Festival in Byron Bay, NSW, on Traditional Bundjalung Territory, I had the pleasure and honour of joining musicians Trevor Hall and Natalie Rize of 'Blue King Brown', poets Carlos Andrés Gómez and Luka Lesson, and bentley blockade youth voice Holly Somerville Knott, for a panel discussion called 'Creative Uprising - Inspiring Social Change through the Arts'. We talked about the place we make our art from, how we stay motivated, and the sometimes dark places we are required to wade through in order to continue to create in service of a better world. It was a moving experience for everyone - the honesty that surfaced surprised us all, I think, and a sense of support and solidarity was cultivated between artists who are dedicated to making music and art with a conscious message. In humble gratitude to all of you, for your words and your warmth and your wisdom and your welcome.
Some of the biggest names in the Australian entertainment industry came together to support rural communities uniting to protect their farmlands from fracking and unconventional gas mining. The venue was Sydney’s iconic music venue, The Enmore Theatre, and the event was so huge it expanded into a vibrant street party along the Enmore Rd precinct with five other halls, plus cafes and businesses, all supporting Rock The Gate.
On the bill was Australia’s popular singer-songwriter Pete Murray, iconic hip hop act The Herd, blues guitar award winner Ash Grunwald, rock legends Tex Perkins, queen of the Australian roots scene Natalie Pa’apa’a from Blue King Brown, US roots stars Nahko and Trevor Hall and indigenous dub act Diesel n’ Dub, along with comedians, dancers and slam poets. Most importantly, the event also held space to hear from community members who have been affected by the fracking industry, along with speakers from Lock the Gate alliance. The event was live webcast to rural communities and people across Australia and the world.
It feels pretty incredible to be on the opposite side of the globe and still be coming together with artists and musicians who care deeply about the impacts of extraction, and the human rights violations against indigenous people. SO many voices came together to really communicate some important and lesser-known information about fracking to local Australians, while creating a spirited vibe of action and celebration in our unity. Plus, the music was completely awesome.
That's all of us onstage for the finale singing 'Beds are Burning' by Midnight Oil, which, in addition to being a pretty sweet karaoke song, is also is a powerful protest song about giving native Australian lands back to the Pintupi, who were among the very last people to come in from the Gibson Desert to settlements and missions in the 1930s. More were forcibly moved during the 1950s and 1960s to thePapunya settlement. In 1981, they left to return to their own country and established the Kintore community, which is one of the lyrics in the song.
Music moves the world. This statement is true for me every moment, as my own music carries me through my life, but something really special happens when musicians come together to sing and speak for a common cause.
I was graciously invited by Ta'Kaiya Blaney to join her in support of her music and her message, and I had the humble pleasure and honour of sharing the stage at the Orpheum Theatre with some of my most loved and respected artists who have moved me over the years, musicians like Neil Young, Chantal Kreviazuk, Hey Ocean, The Barenaked Ladies, and Feist (who, as a bonus, I had a joyful reunion with after having a great time participating in a handful of music videos with - see if you can spot me!). Neil Young, especially, has been and continues to be deeply impactful for me as an emerging musician, reflecting that my voice as an artist and my voice as a global citizen are one and the same.
"It takes a million different people committed to a single, beautiful ideal, over a long period of time to make real change happen. As I’ve said before, things are only impossible until we decide that they’re not anymore. Canadians from every corner of our country have stood up and decided to take action."
- David Suzuki
The end of the Blue Dot Tour is just the beginning of the campaign. The Blue Dot Tour is calling upon all of us to stay connected & active to help reach it's goal: an environment that is healthy, today and for future generations.
Seeded dropcards are here! I'm really excited about these. Buy a card, visit the website, enter the unique code printed on the back, and then PLANT IT IN YOUR GARDEN. The cards are seeded with wildflowers. Now when you decide: "hey, this music feels amazing, I'd like to hear it all the time", you can also help the bees at the same time.
These make beautiful, sustainable gifts, and are only available at shows!
I'm stoked to announce that I'm an artist on the roster of "The Jellyfish Project: a coalition of musicians for our environment and our future." We as artist acknowledge the power of our music to inspire action, and our responsibility to use our influence to shine light on the amazing work happening in movements to create a more just & sustainable world. The JFP is a non-profit that helps artists to come together & partner with some of the most prominent environmental organizations in North America (including the David Suzuki Foundation, 350.org and Mission Blue) to create a platform for like-minded musicians and bands to engage in the environmental movement in an organized and impactful way.
What does this actually look like? I keep talking about standing up for people & the planet at my shows, and through solidarity and support, other musicians feel empowered to talk about what matters to them, too. We understand that artists have influence, and we're helping to amplify a culture of compassion & courage into the hearts and minds of the people we make music for.
The Everyday Music channel is Rod Matheson's exploration of all the music that he can find/hear/know over 1000 days. Every kind of music/artist/instrument is included, and he posts a new song by a new artist, every single day for 1000 days straight.
He talks about being constantly surrounded by music in my everyday life, but it was only recently he realized just how important it was to him. He believes music is food for the soul! music is medicine! When words fail, music speaks!
Rod and I spent a sweet late summer afternoon in Lost Lagoon talking about music, magic, food, our city, our families, and taking time to appreciate the little moments in between. This song is a little slice of the afternoon, and video #921 in his thousand-step journey to showcase the value of independent music.
Emily was literally the first human I met when I landed in Vancouver, and we've been staying up all night playing music together ever since. Her voice is powerful and her songs are gorgeous, and after all these years, I still get blissed out listening to her make music.
I was so lit up to join her in the studio this summer to track her long-awaited first album, 'Brave', releasing this fall. Stay tuned folks - we've all been waiting a long time for this, and you don't want to miss it once it's out.
I had the privilege and the pleasure of joining Leah Barley in the studio this spring on her EP, 'Close Your Eyes'. Leah was one of the first humans I met when I transitioned to Vancouver, and we've been traveling alongside each other on this musical journey ever since. 'Close Your 'Eyes' is available now on Bandcamp, Soundcloud, and anywhere she brings her bright beautiful spirit to share her music live.
Here's the track I let my voice (and my long-lost jingly-bells) to.