After a childhood of classical flute experience and a few years of studying latin conga playing, I became inspired by the mighty Rachel Melas to pick up the bass guitar in 1988.
Since then I have played in numerous bands in Toronto ranging from funk and rock to jazzy folk, reggae and hiphop.
Humorously, I cut my teeth by learning a few dozen Nancy Sinatra tunes by ear for a gimmicky band named in her honour. The Nancy Sinatras drew quite a loyal following and carried on with several other bassists when the time came that I hungered for an original band experience and split to form The Matriphiles in 1991. That experience remains a highlight for me because of the wonderful creative chemistry among its four members and the anything-goes stylistic forum which managed to combine very diverse influences.
When The Matriphiles folded in 1993, I had already begun my brief stint as rocker chick in The Snowdogs. After a cross-Canada tour in a windowless panel van cranking out well-crafted Ramones-esque rock songs, I needed to give my punished eardrums a break! Soon I was engaged in an American tour with Meryn Cadell.
I enjoyed a stint as bassist for songwriter Gloria Shreve and soon after created Dropdeadbeats in 1995. DDB brought me back to my favoured collective style of writing and along with Isabelle Noel, Debbie Augustt-Moffat and Jamie Browning produced a sizeable repertoire of mostly funky songs, with one landing a winning spot on the 1997 CFNY Toronto New Rock Search CD.
After a fortuitous gig sharing the bill with The Roach Motel, I got a call from one of their members saying they needed a new bassist and thus began a fun ride with that funk/hiphop band which carried on for a couple years after the breakup of Dropdeadbeats. We had a blast playing clubs and colleges from coast to coast, igniting the dancefloors with our very groovy, positive vibe. Our video for the song "What's Going On?" from the album "Spend the Night" enjoyed frequent rotation on Muchmusic for quite some time.
During this time Isabelle, from DDB, and I enjoyed a few opportunities to indulge our more experimental tastes with The Kitchen Sink Project. Our most memorable gigs were those with installation artists Tempermettle for whom we created live ambient soundscapes both in Toronto and in New York City. I also had the opportuniy at this time to play with singer Tamara Williamson, stepping out tentatively with the fretless for the first time.
And then the time came to take a break from the band thang to head to the woodshed and focus on learning a few new things: digital audio recording/editing, scoring for video and film, taking up the cello, and writing music for dance and multimedia. Oh ya, and learning to build a website!
I occasionally support spoken-word artist/singer-songwriter Evalyn Parry with fretless bass and sometimes bohdran, djembe, flute, congas and vocal harmonies. I played on the wonderfully eerie "War Dream" which is the first track on Ev's album "Small Theatres".
I played bass with Kelly Clipperton's, Kelly and the Kellygirls from May 2003 to the fall of 2006. A fun pop/rock with fabulous, high-energy performers, we put out two albums, numerous videos and toured Canada and parts of the US a couple times.
After three years of gigging around Toronto, Brazen Crush disolved in the fall of 2007. This was a collaborative pop-jazz-funk fusion group with Steve Sauvé on keys, Cheryl Reid on drums and Stacy Ricker singing and playing electric guitar. With this project, I began to regularly include cello in the performance of our original music. I was honoured to be invited in 2007 to write and record cello parts for albums put out by Amer Diab. I have since added parts to Amer's second album.
In the spring of 2006, I agreed to step out with the cello supporting Tucker Finn, a singer-songwriter who used to co-front The Jane Waynes.
Other members of my musical family have included Morgan Doctor (tablas & other percussion) and Jayme Stone (banjo). I had the great pleasure of playing my African kamale n'goni with these top-notch musicians in an instrumental trio called Yala. The Ontario Arts Council validated this project with a composition in 2005.
As of fall 2006, I have been accompanying my dear friend, the talented singer-songwriter Peter J Slack on fretless bass and cello. We enjoyed participating in the Winterfolk Festival in February 2007 and 2008.
January 2007 saw the debut of an improvisational cello-didgeridoo duo called Dreamfire with William Pipher. A unique combo to be sure! We became regular performers at Kathleen Rea's Contact Dance Jams. I also began playing cello and bass with fiddler Eric Nagler and pianist Matt Segriff. This has become a great opportunity to hone my celtic cello chops.
Having been friends for almost twenty years, I began playing bass in
S Lynn Phillips' ska band Random Order on New Year's Eve 2007.
I enjoyed touring BC, the Yukon and Northwest Territories with this great party band in the summers of 2007, 2008 and 2009.
As of February 2008 new doors opened for me toward the delight of playing from the heart and not the chart. I was thrilled to have been invited by Gary Diggins and Yuri Gorbachow to join a trio called Triune. We create improvised soundscapes for an interesting variety of events including The Big Beat Solstice and Equinox celebrations, Nia classes and the Tribal Dance Community. I play bass, cello, n'goni, flute, percussion and sing.
The fall of 2008 brought good times as bassist and cellist with The Bhadra Collective, a 9-piece band getting your groove on with chant-based music, world-beat grooves, mulitple vocals and exotic instruments. I continue to play cello and, my newest instrument, didjeridoo with band leader Dennis Gaumond in a duo called Bhadra Blue.
The Nancy Sinatras
What's Goin' On?
Kelly & the Kellygirls
w/ Peter J Slack
Island River Heart
Puzzle Piece (cello)