Month: October 2015

Venue: Open Mic @Ram in the Rye, Toronto

IMG_7789In many ways this event has a very familiar format: an evening at the pub, 2-3 songs each, lots of variety. But there are some things that make this jam unique. Hosted by the award-winning student group Musicians at Ryerson (M@R), house instruments (guitar, ukulele, keyboard, bass, djembe) are provided to allow you to take part even if you don’t have an instrument. Despite having to compete with the background pub noise, there is a core group that is there to listen and especially to encourage any reticent or first-time participants.

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In addition to the open mic, the M@R team has hosted free guitar and ukulele workshops , open outdoor jams, a darkness concert, battle of the bands and campus concerts. There is a directory to help students find musical collaborators. When a musician leaves home for university, they may be leaving behind their choir, their band or their friends they can count on for a jam. Affectionately called “Ryerson’s unofficial music program”, M@R has created a musical home away from home where people can connect through music.

Thank you to the M@R crew for sharing their talent and for making me feel so welcome!


[Ram in the Rye, 63 Gould Street, Wednesdays 8-11pm, no cover, licensed – Check  FB page for updates]


Venue: The Joint Café, Guelph

IMG_7779After Guelph’s Magnolia Café closed – and along with it, the Magnolia open mic – I was wondering if another event might spring up that would welcome the Tuesday night regulars. In addition to the charming Ian Reid hosting and the wonderful Arvi & staff supplying delicious food, the group itself had grown into a community and the Tuesday night gatherings were sorely missed.

Enter the Joint Café  – a new venue with a new vibe – but full of folks from the Magnolia Tuesday night crowd along with some new faces. The Joint Café provides treats for your eyes as well as your ears and palate. The art displayed changes about every 6 weeks (and is for sale).

Hosted by Andy Hughes, this open mic has a familiar format: sign up as you arrive, 3 songs per performer but, if the roster is a full one, as the evening goes on the songs may be down to two or even one song per performer to allow more people to play. The sound system was acting up the night I visited so everyone played acoustic sets. This meant the performers stepped forward a little and the listeners gathered closer – worked out just fine.

As it is a new event, check the café’s FB page to confirm that it’s a go for music on a given night.

Thanks Andy and the Joint Café for creating a space for shared music!

[The Joint Café, 43 Cork Street, Guelph; Tuesday 7-10pm; no cover; licensed]