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Montréal? Oui, Merci!

It’s winter time. To no surprise, Toronto has been providing its usual juxtaposition of dreary, gloomy, cold that seems to penetrate the bones and temporarily inhabit the soul, followed by beautiful days of sunshine that glistens off the freshly fallen snow and makes for a perfect walk in the park. Winter weather so often mirrors winter existence. . our moods, and the challenges life seems to throw at us at this time of year. Just bracing through it one day, and finding enjoyment and light the next. But regardless the day, the weather, the mood, I find it no more perfect a time than to leave Toronto and move on to experience these effects in a new city for a little while.

Our countdown to Montreal is 4 days to departure. We will pack up some instruments, some clothes, and some ideas, and head to a city of new inspirations to work on capturing the songs and sounds we’ve been developing over the past year. Jace Lasek (of the Besnard Lakes) will be taking the reigns for this project, and we’re so excited about that. We’ve heard only amazing things about him and his studio “Breakglass”.

A few weeks ago we returned from our fourth venture to our beloved rental cabin in Dyer’s Bay. We spent the week writing a few new songs, wrapping up some musical loose ends, petting goats and jamming with our pals in the community. Oh yeah, and trying to push our van out of a messy situation. Us city slickers have managed to get the van stuck once per visit to Dyer’s Bay (that’s 4 out of 4). Piling up against the back of a van while heaving, pushing, and getting sprayed by snow or mud, has become a bit of a ritual for us.

To see pictures from our Dyer’s Bay retreat, as well as to get updates from us over the course of our recording process, drop by these here links:

http://ohbijouband.tumblr.com/
http://twitter.com/ohbijou

Also, if you are in the mood for some beautiful music this week, please go to the Music Gallery this Thursday night. Ryan’s project Kite Hill will be performing as part of Wavelength’s 11th anniversary series. Here are the details!

Thursday, February 17 @ The Music Gallery, 197 John St.
KITE HILL (Friends in Bellwoods – beautiful, spacious folk-pop)
EIYN SOF (Bluefog Recordings – introspective country electronica)
GORDON GRDINA’S EAST VAN STRINGS (Vancouver – Drip Audio – creative jazz string quartet)
NOT THE WIND, NOT THE FLAG (Barnyard Records – global improvisations)
8pm • $11
I’ve managed to preview some of the tracks that are soon to be released on Kite Hill’s record, and boy, are they gorgeous. Might I suggest that you keep an ear out for this release in the spring time!

Keep warm now!
Heather

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it’s the haulidaze

Christmas is in two days! I’ve realized these past few months have waltzed past us with incredible speed when only our summer tour seemed just a stone’s throw away. Ohbijou hasn’t been on the road for several months now, but we surely have been keeping busy with the preparation for our new album.

In November, we spent consecutive evenings practicing and writing in a beautiful rehearsal space belonging to Array Music. These writing sessions and rehearsals segued into the unveiling of a handful of new songs that we performed for the Tranzac benefit show on November 20th at the Tranzac. With several members of Ohbijou lending a hand, the lovely Lisa Bozikovic, whom we toured with in the summer, opened the show with her beautiful songs. If you haven’t already checked her out, please do so here: http://lisabozikovic.ca/

It was a wonderfully successful night. It felt incredible to play a show again in Toronto after several years. We played to a sold out crowd and all the ticket sales went towards an important cause: keeping the Tranzac open and running. The Tranzac is a non-profit member supported community organization with a focus on promoting arts, music and theatre and is being threatened to have its doors closed. If you don’t already have plans for New Year’s Eve, The Tranzac will again be hosting an amazing evening full of music and dancing. Jamie’s side project with Reg Vermue, coined “Light Fires”, will be performing along with many other Toronto musicians such as Hooded Fang, Sandro Perri and I Am Robot And Proud. For more information on this fun night, and ways you can help keep the Tranzac open check out: http://www.tranzac.org/

At the end of November, Ohbijou took another trip to Dyers Bay. We holed up in our trusty cottage for a week focusing on the writing and development of our songs for our upcoming album. We always look forward to our time here. It was a productive week. We approached and wrote several new songs and concentrated on tweaking the ones that have been on the go. This time of year, the landscape was masked in white but nonetheless beautiful. Aside from writing, we, again, took in the beauty of the Georgian Bay waterfront. We indulged in many games of Settlers of Catan, crafted delicious dinners and interesting snacks to fill our tummies, and had an incredible jam night filled with covers and improvisation with our friends here. We will again be visiting in January to wrap up the writing for this album, and then we leave Toronto to record in February.

It’s always around the holidays, when surrounded by friends and family, you’re affirmed of how fortunate you are. Ohbijou has been very fortunate. Thank you for all your support! We had a wonderful year filled with exciting travels and memorable shows and we are looking forward to numerous things in the upcoming year.

First things first, though: Christmas is in TWO days! I’m so excited to spend time with my family, eat an endless amount of pancit and cuddle with my niece and nephew on the couch while watching old episodes of Sesame Street. It will be perfect!

I hope you have a very happy and warm holiday and a wonderful New Year!!

love jenny

Return to Dyers Bay

Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.
John Muir

Oh autumn! What a great season. With it in mind, we hopefully took some inspiration from the winds, and storms during our recent visit to Dyers Bay where we escaped the city to pen some new tunes for our third album.

It was a return to a familiar place, we visited Dyers Bay this past March to begin writing new material, so it was wonderful to see it again in the fall.  We were able to catch up with our lovely friends, like Scott whom we met in the spring, who is a wonderful man and musician, you can hear listen to him via his myspace.  We played a lot of Settlers of Catan, ate way too much, watched some crazy storms, hung out on the dock in the middle of the night, oh and we wrote some new songs that we are pretty excited about.  The song we are most excited about is called “There’s a bear down there” and it is a barbershop style song about a bear living underneath the barn.  Definitely going to be a hit.  Well ok, that song was a result of too much revelry, and will not likely make the album, but it had some real gusto.

Here are some pictures highlighting our adventures:

Ryan and Jamie be jammin’

Casey reconnecting with our pal Patch.

Petting some goats that will be running around at this years GoatStock.

Overall it was a fun and productive week, and we look forward to returning to Dyers Bay in November to continue writing.

In other news, after 8 years of awesomeness, the Ford Plant in Brantford, ON is closing.  The Ford Plant is an amazing venue, and was the location of some of our very first live shows.  Needless to say, it is very dear to our hearts, especially since Brantford is Casey and Jenny’s hometown.  To celebrate and honour the achievements of the Ford Plant, we will be playing a show there on October 22nd,  along with Rah Rah , Henri Faberge and The Adorables and The Dead Love Triangles (reunion).  For more info, please click here.

Another important venue that is currently facing tough times is the Tranzac in Toronto.   The Tranzac is a warm, welcoming venue that showcases a wide variety of musical acts as well as several community groups.  You can help support the Tranzac and prevent their closure by making a donation via their website.

If you are planning to head to Pop Montreal this weekend, you should definitely check out James’ sexy dance music project with Gentleman Reg – Lightfires.  They will be playing at Le Divan Orange on October 2nd.

I think that about sums it up.  Enjoy wrapping yourselves with warm fuzzy scarves, and kicking up the autumn leaves.

Til next time,

Anissa

Tour Wrap-Up. 11,000 Km’s Later.

Hello!

We drove almost 11,000 kilometers. We pulled at every inch of road heading west. The insidious rumble of tarmac has been grafted to my brain. Now being home for almost 3 weeks, my legs are still rubber and in the mornings I’m confused about whether or not I’ve actually left the van.

Touring is a peculiar way to spend your time. You are always moving, but mostly sitting in the same spot. Limbs are atrophied, your organs begin to shrink– along with your vocabulary. A juvenility sets in and when you are about to lose your mind the audience sings along, or you stand in front of a stretch of gold canola, or you get to chat with Buffy Sainte-Marie and feel lucky. We were confronted with many memorable moments on our tour of Western Canada. Some furnished by grandiose landscape, some encountered with inspiring strangers, some comforted by whispers of nostalgia; so many familiar faces, recognizable truck stops, friendly sound people, delicious venue food, etc.

Here are some highlights:

– Calgary Folk brought late night pizza and a happy reunion with Taylor, Mika and Simone of Timber Timbre.

– Having Lisa Bozikovic join us on a number of stops on this tour. Her music is beautiful and it was such a treat to have her come along.

– At The Icelandic Festival (Islendingadagurinn) in Gimli, Manitoba, Anissa and I screamed for our lives on a midway ride called “The Brain Buster”. Our show at that festival was definitely a highlight, as members of the audience jumped around on stage and sang along to “The Woods”. Thank you to Robbie for showing us an outrageous time.

– At Regina Folk we ate some of the best food we’ve ever had at a festival. We also befriended the band Ghostkeeper from Calgary. Check them out at: http://www.myspace.com/childrenofthegreatnorthernmuskeg

– In Regina we played an amazing workshop with the boys from Calexico. They showed us that seamless musicianship mixed with charisma and charm make for an inspiring performance.

– We stopped in Clearwater, Manitoba for 3 days to write in an old school house run by the Harvest Moon Society. The population of this town is ,I think, 67 people. We were humbled by their generosity and kindness. Please check out their amazing work at: http://www.harvestmoonsociety.org/

A big thank you to Gavin and the rest of the Gardiner family for helping to arrange our time in Clearwater and for showing us a great adventure at their cottage. I think we all have scars from water skiing. Ok, well maybe just Anissa and Jenny….oh and Ryan.

– Salmon Arm, BC was breathtaking. One of the most hospitable festivals in Canada and we are so grateful to the organizers for inviting us.

– When you’re on tour you have the opportunity to meet many memorable people. While in Canmore, Alberta, a couple named Mike and Sharon, presented us with six individually wrapped gifts with our names on them. Each package contained a book that they thought we might enjoy reading while in the van. We were so touched by their kindness. It was the nicest surprise and we were so grateful to meet them.

Looking forward, Ohbijou is traveling to Dyer’s Bay for a series of writing sessions. We are containing musical ideas, melodies, harmonies and sounds and hope to complete a new record in the upcoming year. Thank you to everyone for your support and hopefully you’ll be hearing new music from us soon.

Be well,
Casey

Here are more pics from our 2010 summer tour:

Bocce at the Gardiner's.


Ryan chasing internet.


Preparing for our set in Clearwater, Manitoba.


The front of our van. Bug death, bug art.


Trying to win big.

Home and Away

Hi friends,

I’m writing from the wonder of wonders, the jewel of south-western Ontario, London’s Oh!Fest. Only in its second year, this little community festival is a mountain peak of camaraderie, deft organization, and talent.

The Open House Arts Collective (the sweethearts who are running the show) have gathered an impressive array of bands, from as far away as Halifax, and as near as their own campfire-filled backyard. Eager to showcase all walks of music from home and away, the Oh folks have scheduled three days of shows in the Forest City’s finest venues. In museums, art galleries, theatres, and amid the pillars of Call The Office, CanRockers like The Acorn, The Wooden Sky, $100, Cousins, The D’Urbervilles, and Evening Hymns have been invited to stand proudly with hometown heroes, Olenka and the Autumn Lovers, A Horse And His Boy, Handsome Dan and his Gallimaufry, Sam Allen, and youngins Say Domino and The Whipping Wind.

The whole picture is one of brimming excitement and steadfast adoration of all things homegrown. The Open House crew and their family of friends and volunteers are building something very special here in London and they’re not shy about showing their brightest feathers.

Oh!Fest is not alone in the good vibes fight this weekend, as similar displays of creative expression and social artistry have appeared both west and east of London. Sarnia’s Empty Spaces, and Guelph’s Kazoo! arts org have both set stellar festivals at the peak of the exciting spring concert season. The second edition of Empty Fest, and Kazoo!Fest (now in it’s third powerful year of helping heaps of fun happen in Guelph), are big bookmarks in ongoing concert series meant to enliven and celebrate the communities from which they have sprung. The Kazoo! group in particular have been holding and building the show promotion fort in their hometown for longer than anyone. Like the Open House Arts Collective and Empty Spaces team, they are themselves musicians and art makers, and seem to make very little distinction between organizing shows for themselves, and helping new friends from afar play excellent shows whenever and however they can.

This caring thought and action has led to thriving music scenes in the Southern Ontario community, and insured that wonderful events occur year-round; in smaller doses of course, but no less vibrant than those of this weekend. It’s forever a great time to get to know your neighbours, and all their friends’ friends. To know them is to love them, and love’s the best.

All this fellowship and fun has left me very inspired and content in the knowledge that my neighbourhood is flourishing. Spring is for the greening of the world and for the singing of the birds. It’s a time to clean your home and stretch your legs, and to enjoy all the good things in that home stretch. It’s also a time for adventure!

Here at the home of ohbijou, we are thrilled to tell everyone about a great adventure indeed! We are going to Japan and Taiwan!

We have been asked by the wonderful folks at the Arabaki Rock Fest to join them in Sendai at the start of May! This is a very exciting festival and from what we’ve heard from our friends in Timber Timbre, an amazing sight to see / sound to hear. In addition to Sendai, we’ve decided to make the most of our time on the Japanese archipelago by playing the wonderful Tokyo, and even hopping over the sea for a show in Taipei! It’s all very thrilling and we’re still pinching ourselves daily! I never thought I would get to spend my birthday in Taiwan!!

In full, here are the deets of our East Asian tour!

May 1st – Sendai, Japan => Arabaki Rock Fest
May 4th – Tokyo, Japan => O-Nest
May 5th – Tokyo, Japan => Shinkiba Studio Coast
May 7th – Taipei, Taiwan => The Wall

Also, we’re doubly excited to have been afforded the chance to play these awesome festivals in Western Canada this Summer! Hello friends, hello Frodo! More dates TBA!!

July 23-25th – Calgary, AB – Calgary Folk Fest
August 1st – Gimli, MB => Islendingadagruinn
August 6-8th – Regina, SK => Regina Folk Fest
August 13th – 15th – Salmon Arm, BC => Salmon Arm Roots and Blues Fest

Well that’s about the whole scoop for now. I hope you’re having a great weekend. We’re spending the rest of ours nestled in with friends and family, and getting ready for our trip! If you are in or near Guelph Ontario tomorrow, our good friend Lisa Bozikovic will be performing as part of the aforementioned Kazoo!Fest, and half of our band will be there to back her up! (9:30PM at the E-Bar – 41 Quebec St.).

Alright folks, our next update will be from the near shores of Japan!
Until then, be true and be strong.

Love,
Ryan

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Home::

http://ohfest.com (http://openhouseartscollective.com)
http://emptyspaces.ca
http://kazookazoo.ca

Away::

http://arabaki.com
http://www.keikaku.net
http://www.islandofsound.org

Monday, April 5, 2010 – Glistening Light

Whoa, it’s beautiful outside right now. I’m sitting on my balcony, soaking it in. Staring lustfully at my BBQ and wondering if she’s got any fluid right now, cause I’m eager to turn her on and get things cooking soon. umm…

ok. Ohbijou has been up to some fun stuff. We just recently returned from our getaway to the beautiful, inspiring, Dyer’s Bay in the Northern Bruce Peninsula. We rented a quaint and quiet cabin, well out of ear-shot from any neighbours, and moved ourselves in for the span of 10 days.

The 1890s-built log room became our haven to write, arrange, experiment, demo and play. While wrapped up in the loveliness of this space, out flew a flock of new songs and arrangements that we’re pretty excited about!

Here are a few other highlights from our getaway:

– Andy. One of our few neighbours who lived a short hike away. He had us over for a couple of hilarious visits, and guided us on a beautiful hike along the escarpment. His dog, Patch, was also our guide. He walked us home to safety in the dark of the night.

– Settlers of Catan. Again and again and again.

– Scott. Tatiana, Talasa, Acadia. We met this beautiful family through the connection of music. We had the good fortune of hanging out with them, visiting their land, and getting some insider knowledge on the incredible work they are doing towards music and sustainability. Scott is also the maker of some amazing music himself… give it a listen here! http://www.myspace.com/maniwali

– Pedal Jams. Returning from a late night walk to find Jamie on the floor with a guitar, surround by 12+ effects pedals chained together and running to 4 amps. The ultimate mega-drone.

– Patrick. Another neighbour who lived a short hike away. Though we were unable to pay it a visit, Patrick is well known for his beautiful “Larkwhistle” garden, and is the author of a number of gardening books. He was also our bearer of tasty organic garlic and carrots.

– Potlucks, late-night (inspired) grocery lists, morning jogs, gorgeous weather, instruments, jams, sounds, recordings.. music.

To sum things up, it was a much-needed, and much-enjoyed, escape from the city. And we’re excited to be able to share some of the creative outcome of our venture with you soon!

Next on the agenda for Ohbijou… a trip to Japan and Taiwan. what!?!!??!!
Heather

100309 – March Repair

Hello All!

The last few days in this city have been bright and sunny; full of promise and a sign of the change in season that is around the corner. It’s a hopeful time, and one that seems to be inspiring some wonderful things, both in the world of Ohbijou and beyond.

We’re gearing up to go to north to Dyers Bay while many of those we know are gearing up to go south to Texas. In some ways, it seems odd not to be following the flow of musicians who make the annual trek down to Austin for SXSW this time of year. But at the same time it feels like the perfect choice for us. Taking the time to write and get back to the basics of what being in a band is about – making music together – is something that we are all ready for, and something that is hard to find in the heart of Austin amidst a bustling music festival. Chances are, this time next year we’ll be more than excited to be heading down to the warm weather, the bats under the bridge, the wonderful people, and, of course, all of the music that SXSW has to offer. But this year, we’re ready for an escape from the city, a bunch of new songs, and some Settlers of Catan.

And this week is Canadian Music Fest here in Toronto. There are, of course, some shows that are going to be fantastic. A few of them are:

THURSDAY, MARCH 11
The Drake Hotel – 10:00 : Forest City Lovers, 11:00 : Hooded Fang
The Garrison – 10:00 : Diamond Rings
The Horseshoe Tavern – 01:20 : Great Bloomers

FRIDAY, MARCH 12
The Garrison – 10:00 : The D’Urbervilles, 11:00 : Silver Starling
Lee’s Palace – 11:00 : The Acorn
Silver Dollar – 12:00 : PS I Love You

SATURDAY, MARCH 13
The Horseshoe Tavern – 11:10 : The Wooden Sky

There are probably many more as well. You can check them all out at http://www.canadianmusicfest.com.

And there are many good things in the works these days. We’ve been involved in some way in the a bunch of great albums that are on the verge of being released into the world. So, here’s an initial heads up on some great stuff that is going to be coming your way some time in the near future. Check it out!

Diamond Rings – www.myspace.com/diamondringsmusic
Emma McKenna – www.myspace.com/emmamckenna
Kite Hill – www.myspace.com/restandrun
KASHKA – kashka.bandcamp.com
Loon Choir – www.myspace.com/loonchoir
Stanford – TBA
Typewriter – www.myspace.com/fortinjoe

And Anissa and Heather are playing with Lisa Bozikovic, and here are the details:

Owle Bird Video Release Party
w/ Owle Bird, The Skeletones Four, Lisa Bozikovic & The Dead Elm Society of Canada
Thursday, March 11, 2010
At Cinecycle (King & Spadina)
8pm
$8

And, finally, if you’re ever feeling like you can’t quite get things rolling, artistically or otherwise, there is a great Brian Eno / Daniel Lanois clip that’s very inspiring. Check it out here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=We1Cvs44i-Q), and remember, we’re all unpromising beginnings.

Okay. That’s about it for now.
Enjoy the sun and its warmth, and let it inspire you to do great things.

jB


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