I’ve been to concerts at Silence and have appreciated it as a listening room. The performers don’t need to compete with conversations, espresso machines or cash registers and the audience can relax and take it in.
Morning music at Silence takes the listening to a whole other level. At 9:30 am people arrive and without any formal introduction or signal, at some point start making sound with a wide array of instruments. The soundscape meanders, at times soft and contemplative, humorous, or wild and energetic.
Today’s collaboration included: stand-up bass, trombones, trumpet/flugel horn, Chapman stick, lap steel guitar, violin, acoustic and electric guitars, flute, piano, an electronic sound gizmo, and a variety of percussion ranging from Djembe and cajon to bells and kitchen implements. Gary Diggins described it as an exercise in deep listening and invited me to respond with sound or silence.
Since there is no score, no predictable structure, no chord progression to practice, the part of me that likes to be prepared was a little apprehensive about taking part. As it turns out, I thoroughly enjoyed it; not knowing what comes next, listening closely, and responding to the moment. It was a meditative experience in an active, expressive way, continually calling me to be present and not let my mind wander anywhere else. This is a great place to loosen your creative muscles and let them play.
[Morning Music; Mondays at 9:30 am; Silence 46 Essex Street, Guelph; $5 cover, breakfast contributions welcome]
Some events make it worthwhile to stay up past my bedtime. The Amsterdam Bicycle Club’s Monday night open mic has been going strong for almost five years and seems to attract not only a high caliber of music but a great diversity of styles. Rap, electronica, folk, originals, covers, solo and full band numbers all graced the stage. According to Justin, a regular at the ABC, it is also a community of musicians who are very supportive of each other.
The internet led me to believe that sign-up started at 9:30, music at 10:00, three songs/15 minutes per performer was the drill. It is such a popular spot that, in an attempt to get everyone on stage, sign-up actually started at 9:00, music at 9:30 and two songs per performer.
Special thanks to Justin, Michel & Laura, Kunle, and India for taking a moment to chat and making the night even more memorable!
[Amsterdam Bicycle Club 54 The Esplanade, Toronto; Mondays 9:30 pm (sign up at 9:00); no cover]
I took advantage of a Monday trip to Toronto to return to the Free Times Café, one of the longest running open mics in Ontario. Although there were no familiar faces the Free Times Café never seems to change. Our host, David (subbing in for Miranda Signe?), kept things running smoothly despite multiple stage configurations. Everything from heartfelt original tunes and beautiful finger style guitar to solo tambourine and well known covers. Everyone is welcome.
[Free Times Café, 320 College Street, Toronto; Mondays 7:30pm (sign-up at 7:00); no cover]
“Water for Life not Profit” is the rallying cry of Waterstock 2017. Music, food, art and protest come together on June 11th to raise awareness around corporate control and exploitation of this most precious resource. A musical line-up that includes Jim Cuddy, Bry Webb, Harrow Fair and Reuben Bullock will join over 40 chefs from across Ontario at the Erin Fairground.
Tickets are only $10 – bring your own plate, cutlery and festival beer mug to make this a minimal waste event. And don’t forget to wear blue!
In case you can’t make it on the 11th – or if you want to lend your support to the “Say no to Nestle” campaign – water shares can be purchased on-line.
There has been a music-shaped empty space in Guelph for a while now. Once filled by the Magnolia Café and then by the Joint, the Red Brick Café took its turn last week hosting musicians on a Tuesday evening.
There was a very enthusiastic turnout, both performers and listeners. Original songwriting, old standards, spoken word all had their time at the mic. I know I am not alone in hoping that they invite the acoustic open mic folks back again – maybe once a month? It is a lovely venue for music (the Café presents many live music events), the snacks are good, the service is friendly. And the people who came out to play… a fine group of people!
[Red Brick Café, 8 Douglas Street, Guelph; licensed – stay tuned for further Tuesday night developments…]