Wednesday, 11 November 2015

A Summer/Fall Update!

The summer has been busy. A new project. Two new little family members. An amazing family wedding. And now, finally after much waiting and creating... A new tour bus!!

After leaving Asia last spring, I landed at the Banff Center in the Rocky Mountains for one of the most intense musical experiences of my life (and that is saying something!). It was a three week residency in Persian and Eastern music with my teacher from Mumbai, Dhruba Ghosh, as well as Yogesh Samsi, Kiya and Zia Tabassian, Didem Basar, and Charbel Rouhana. I learned so much in a short time and I would have loved a year off to process!  But there was more to come...

Immediately after I left Banff, Ken Shorley and Heidi Kalyani met me in Victoria where we started a tour of the beautiful West Coast with Blue Lotus Trio. We played in the loveliest of spaces, yoga studios, halls, homes and community centers. It was a magical experience touring around the islands of BC and meeting such wonderful people!

Then I was joined by my long time friend, Daunt Lee. We used to hang and play music and build guitars together in Newfoundland when we were just starting out. Now after both of us have spent many years in Asia, (he lived in Japan) we are back in Canada and playing music together! And what a Joy! We toured across Canada, reconnecting with dear friends both old and new, playing in wonderful venues and creating a new show together.

On coming home to Nova Scotia, I taught a course on World Music at Acadia University with Ken Shorley. What a joy to be able to share all of these cultures of music that I have lived and worked in. Indian, Chinese, Persian, Celtic, Latin American. We listened, found connections, learned about culture through music. Another intense three weeks!

Then summer happened, my niece and nephew were born. My sister got married. I swam and jammed and spent time putting a new show together with Daunt as well as launching our new small business; Sahara Jane Collections. This is a line of Jewellery, scarves and shawls that Ji Myeng Kang and I started in India through designing and purchasing beautiful quality pieces made by our friends and communities there. Now Daunt has joined the project to help create colourful elegant pop up stores and markets around the East Coast. Every sale helps to support children in need in Varanasi though a project called DARE.

So as winter approaches, we are preparing for some upcoming tours in Asia and we will be heading out to Christmas Markets to sell these beautiful pieces that I brought from India.

Our tour bus is going to be a pop up shop for the fall, his name in Benji. I think he deserves his own post! Well, everything that has happened could have had it’s own post, but I was just way too busy to write. Soon I will introduce the lovely sweet bus.. when I have finished painting the interior!! 

Wow. Life is full and wonderful. It is a treat to be in Nova Scotia for so long. We will be back in Asia this winter and back in Canada next summer. I hope to see you all along the way! 

Friday, 15 May 2015

Cross Canada Tour

Canada is unbelievably beautiful. We just left Lillooet where every time we would exit a building, or even close our eyes and open them again, we were amazed again at the natural beauty around us. What a magical place. In fact it has been like that everywhere we have been so far on this tour!

Here are the dates for the rest of the tour which will take Daunt Lee and myself from Vancouver to Halifax and many places in between...

Friday May 15 - Nelson BC  at Cafe Momento, concert starting at 7:30

Saturday, May 16 - Nelson BC at Cottonwood Farmers market, the first of the year!  10am-12pm

Sunday, May 17th - Winlaw BC at Mama Sita's - we will play an evening of Indian and fusion music while they prepare a special Indian menu!

Thursday, May 21 - Kaslo BC at Blue Belle Bistro 7:30-9:30 - for an evening of original music!

Friday, May 22 - Driftwood Concert House - Kimberly BC - 7:30 - A special and intimate venue, we are so looking forward to this magical show.

Saturday, May 23 - Lethbridge, Alberta - Owl Acoustic Lounge - 9:30 pm

Sunday, May 24 - Alberta - House concert - email for details

Tuesday, May 26th - Calgary Alberta - House Concert - email for details

Thursday, May 28th - Saskatoon, SK - House Concert - email for details

Sunday, May 31st - Kenora, ON - The Bijou Steakhouse - 152 Main St. S. - 8:00pm

Tuesday June 2 - Ear Falls, ON - House Concert - email for details

Thursday June 4th - Thunder Bay, ON - Red Lion Smokehouse with Outside the Lines!! 8:30 pm

Sunday June 7th - Toronto, ON - 8:00pm at Majlis Art Garden, a beautiful venue with roses in bloom!

Tuesday, June 9th - Ottawa, ON - at Avant Garde with Tea and Bread ( Kyla Tilley and Ed Hudson) this will be a happy hour newfoundland reunion!  Can't wait! 5:30-7:30

Wednesday, June 10th - Montreal, QC - at Cabigi - with Tea and Bread again, and another bunch of East Coasters no doubt.

Monday, 13 April 2015


 Ken and I at the Victoria Folk Music Society!

This April I am touring with my world fusion ensemble Blue Lotus Trio on Canada's West Coast!!  In May I will be joined by multi-instrumentalist Daunt Lee from Newfoundland to tour our world folk sound back across Canada!



Concert in Victoria | 7:30 pm

Concert on Salt Spring Island | 8pm
Please join us on Salt Spring Island at The Art Barn, Golden Tree Farm, 150 Suffolk Road.
$15 (suggested donation)

Concert in Vancouver with NAAD | 7:30 pm (doors 7:00)
Blue Lotus Trio is excited to be sharing the stage with the Vancouver-based group Naad for an evening of world music "sonic journeys". For tickets and details:

Concert in Steveston | 7:30 pm
I'll be playing at the Steveston Folk Guild with Ken Shorley!

Concert on Hornby Island | 8pm
Blue Lotus Trio is playing on Hornby Island at Sun Door Yoga, 8120 Central Rd. Hornby Island.
$15 (suggested donation)

Yoga Class with Live Music on Hornby Island | 10 - 11:30am
Blue Lotus Trio is pleased to be collaborating with Sun Door Yoga for a special yoga class (taught by Eila). Renew and nourish your spirit with a beautiful, uplifting morning of yoga with Indian- and Middle Eastern-inspired music! Sun Door Yoga, 8120 Central Rd. Hornby Island. $20.

Frame Drumming Workshop in Courtenay | 6:30pm - 8pm
This hands-on workshop will focus on exploring the beautiful resonance of the frame drum. Participants will learn basic hand and finger techniques, along with a selection of traditional, sacred and dance rhythms from the Middle East. $25 (includes evening concert). Creekside Commons, 2202 Lambert Dr, Courtenay. Produced in collaboration with Monica Hofer.

Mini Concert in Courtenay | 8:30 - 9:30pm
Please join us for an intimate studio concert! $10 (suggested donation). Creekside Commons, 2202 Lambert Dr, Courtenay.

Concert at Hensbury House in Victoria 
1218 Fairfield Rd. 7:00pm
Email me at for more details

House Concert in Duncan
House concert!  Email me at for details

Concert on Cortes Island | 8pm
Join Blue Lotus Trio if you can on beautiful Cortes Island for a lovely evening of eastern inspired music. The Gorge Community Hall. $15 (suggested donation)

Drumming Workshop on Cortes Island | 2 - 4pm
Learn traditional Turkish and Arab rhythms, as well as popular belly dance grooves! $25 (includes drum and dance jam following workshop). The Gorge Community Hall, Cortes Island. Bring a darbuka, frame drum, tambourine, small djembe or another fave!

Saturday, 7 February 2015

The Music Lesson

Learning music teaches us to listen, to feel, to understand the connections between things. It goes far beyond studying a method, an instrument or learning to perform. These are the tools we have to try to get to that place. The place we know but find it hard to talk about. A place without constraints of time or purpose, a place of freedom, peace, beauty and expression.

Early morning in Mumbai. The air is almost cool. The birds, the traffic, the people are all just beginning to fill the day with sound and movement. I watch as the air turns thick and warm, listen as sounds grow into a constant drone to accompany my practice. I am back in the first city that I came to in India. Somehow all this bustle, shocking, beautiful, dirty, relaxed, dangerous, calm, fills me with a familiarity. I can not help but feel that my heart rests in this city. It is here that I am greatly challenged, and here that I grow so much.

I have come back for more. To listen to amazing musicians. To learn from a great and inspiring teacher. To be still in the midst of all this chaos and find that centred place where music and joy come from.

I came here to study music. I have been playing music for as long as I can remember, and sure, I have been performing since I was very young, but I have never stopped feeling like there is so much to learn. It was after a few years on the road playing folk music that I went to University to complete a fine arts degree. In a way that was like starting over. I had to break down my sense of self in order to do that. And it was hard, but well worth it. I graduated as a different person. More engaged in the world, and less concerned with who I was. And that study opened the door to Indian music. The door I had been pressing my ear against since I was a child. But oh, it was another painful process to realize that though I felt I knew music, I knew nothing about this completely different form and aesthetic. I had to start again as a child, learning beside children. From that broken down ego, came a new joy and confidence. And a flood of creativity. And now, more years have passed, and I find myself at another beginning. This time I won't fight it. Again it is hard, but this time I know what is coming.

As a young musician, I was taught the form, though at the time I did not see it as form. I played and created my own sound. In university, I discovered how to study, and how to work hard. As a cross cultural student, I learned how to let go of myself and to surrender in order to understand a new form. Now there is something else. I am learning to feel each note on a deeper level. I am learning how to listen, not only to the subtle nuances of the music, but to my own inner filters. To see how my mind has interpreted what I hear. It is an incredibly awakening experience to become conscious of the way our minds affect what is. To more deeply understand how two perspectives can see the same thing completely differently, how two people can hear the same sound and perceive it with totally different meanings. And how even beneath that, when I try to be completely open, and to repeat what I hear precisely as it is, there is still my own accent, built from years of listening and repeating, almost imperceptible to me.. until it is pointed out. And then I see.. wow.  I am made up of layers and layers of influences, judgements, thoughts, practice, repetitions..

And underneath all that? An incredible joy. Wonderment. Huge appreciation for this amazing way of expressing that we call music. We are so blessed. And I am honoured and humbled to be able to be here. 

Monday, 29 September 2014

India, China, Canada and back again...

An amazing summer in Nova Scotia, Canada wraps up a year of musical adventures with my bands and my solo show. I feel blessed to have been able to tour in India and China with Ask Your Sister, to have reconnected with Blue Lotus Trio for shows and workshops in Canada and to have shared the stage with so many great musicians from all over the world, including Daunt Lee (Japan/Newfoundland) who will be joining me on tour next spring!

Playing with Blue Lotus Trio always busts our hearts open. This summer, we recorded 3 new tracks, preparing for our tour in British Columbia next April and our upcoming album. 

Ask Your Sister recorded a new CD this past spring which is getting lots of play on CBC radio and we are looking forward to reuniting for festivals and to share music together again next summer.  As always, when we are apart, I am missing my sisters!

This past year I have had the incredible fortune to be touring the world, playing great stages with my loved ones. This fall, I am back in Asia for some intensive study of Indian music and to spend some time composing. I look forward to reuniting with the Canadian folk circuit next spring as I tour my own show across Canada with support from Blue Lotus and Daunt Lee!

Saturday, 29 March 2014

The Music Business - The World

Some people say that to "make it" in the business of music, you have choose one path and stick to it, perfect it, and eventually your time will come. Others say you must diversify and be able to play whatever is asked and go where ever the work is. It is funny that this conversation follows me everywhere I go, though I'm quite sure I don't bring it up. I suppose my very presence brings it up. And I appreciate that people who know me want me to do well and take an interest. Lately I am getting constant emails from CD Baby, and Radio Airplay and other online music platforms that are giving endless advice about how to get more fans, write a hit song, promote and become a mega success. This feels rather less sincere, but still sometimes can be helpful. Usually though, this discussion is the air that I breathe and the water I swim in, it is probably the same for any business. I am polite, I read the occasional article in my inbox, I agree with pretty much everyone. And still my life feels like the great unknown. We can all say after the fact what worked or didn't as far as making a living or having an effect, but business and art are always pushing and pulling each other. This is a good thing. It means that no one really knows. As soon as you know, the game changes, and advice becomes dim. The only things we can try to know as musicians, are ourselves in the midst of pressure to become otherwise, and those who really listen to the music.

So my life in music is not a plan for the future, it is embracing the moment. Every day asks something particular, and every day I try to respond fully. Today I am loving Beijing. I must practice a song in Chinese for a show with Ask Your Sister. Today I am missing my home in India. Today I am looking forward to being back at home in Canada, where soon I will have the chance to perform with Blue Lotus, my world fusion band. And always, I am writing and keeping the joys and heartbreaks with me in song form. They make the show. Today I feel both terribly diverse and completely focussed. Perhaps that is what everyone has been trying to tell me. Perhaps that is what it takes to make it. In anything.