Yes is is early April, but I have only now found I have the brainpower to contemplate updating my blog. with so much going on in the early part of the year, Sundays became a coveted pocket of time to barely catch up on sleep and regular life stuff. However, here I am, back at the page!
You may notice every other blog entry is backdated from previous blogs when I had my Liroy name. I unveiled the new 0Stella name in my final show of 2018 in The Aviary in Edmonton with some exceptional support acts: Meagan Loves and Amanda Penner. Amanda is only 16 and has been invited to perform at Canmore Folk Festival this summer. Superb news for her! The Aviary was a special night for me as I got to perform my music outside of music school recitals from some of my younger students. If you know of an all ages venue in your town, make sure to support it, they are so essential. My younger brother used to spend his Saturday afternoons going to shows in The Temple Bar Music Centre (now the Button Factory) in Dublin. Mosh pits and rocking out, I absorbed a lot of those bands from his exposure to them. Those were also the days of pirate radio in Ireland, so we found a huge wealth of underground music to devour. Podcasts and blogs have taken the role of pirate radio stations today. If you have a favourite one, I'd love you to drop me a ling on the Contact page and let me know what to check out :)
2018 ended with magnificent news. 0Stella was awarded the Cultural Diversity Grant from Edmonton Arts Council to record my EP with Brad Simons and Randor Lim at Brad's studio in Edmonton; Velveteen Audio. On top of that, I found out I was accepted to Canada's Music Incubator in Toronto from March to April. Alas it would mean an early resignation from the music studios I worked at. Furious writing began along with an online concert for all the people in Canada and U.K who commissioned works from me last summer.
The first month of 2019 was preproduction and rehearsing the band and by February we were in the studio laying down tracks. I have never felt so at home in a recording studio as I did at Velveteen. Day one began with exquisite playing from Joel and Aretha and by day two we had a great flow. J's effortless guitar playing and John's ripping fiddle runs just has us all on a high by the end of the week. Hours of hard, hard belly laughing with tears running down my face and the incredible feeling of watching these songs develop into fully formed pieced of art. My endless thanks to my band and crew at Velveteen for such good times.
There are 4 tracks on the debut 0Stella EP, Little Yes, Little Know. Each song addresses some sort fo struggle. Wide Awake grapples with the environment and how we are running out of time to change things, yet we are still stymied by flaccid excuses from politicians and muzzled by those with greatest power of all. Linen explores the issues of socially accepted slave labour. Specifically referring to the true story of one of the last survivors of the Magdalene Laundries, the last of which closed its doors in Ireland in 1997. The laundries we re run by the Catholic church and used as a way of subjugating women in the community by imprisoning them in workhouses, stripping them of their names, often shaving their hair, imposing long hours of monastic silence, and frequently subjecting them to starvation and physical and/or mental abuse. Driving to school with my Dad one morning, we heard the interview with one of the final survivors of the laundries on national radio. Her story struck me and stayed with me ever since. Her mother had her out of wedlock, so the community banished her mother to the laundries and the daughter was raised as an orphan in the town. She went on to have a best friend, a boy. When they were about twelve years old, the town decided to act "in her best interests" and put her into the laundries too, just like her mother, lest her friendship with her boy friend become something more. Suddenly one day a little boy lost his best friend. Ironically he then got a job delivering the fresh linens from that laundry to the businesses in the town, never knowing his best friend was on the other side of those walls. My heart broke for them both and in writing Linen, I gave them more time together than they'd had in real life that I so desperately wanted for them. Fire and Pandora are yours to make of what you will.
With recording complete, it was time to plan my secret location Toronto Fundraiser House Show and invite Calgary darklings, The Conversation Killers to join in the fun. Beach Towels closed the show for us and everyone was incredibly generous. I thank you all so much! <3 <3