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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

Snowflakes the size of gold medals….

The Canadian men’s hockey team just won gold!!! I’m watching the red and white streets of Vancouver bounce in celebration on television. They just showed shots of Granville Street, and my heart warmed with memories of walking about that very street in warmer weather while on tour. I’m feeling proud, and patriotic right now.

It feels like it has been ages since we’ve played a show. I really miss it. The last while, we’ve been easing our way back into practicing and writing. It feels good, even new! I admit it was hard warming up to our new practice space at first; it wasn’t Bellwoods, my home. I used to stroll out of my room, head downstairs to the basement, set up my area of the space and just wait for the others. I would soon hear the pattering of footsteps above me grow, and then our band mates would file into the basement, one after the other. Now, with every journey to our new practice space, I have been able to gradually put that old routine, and memory to rest.

After several practices at our new space, it has become a strong realization that we are embarking upon a new phase together; new approaches to practicing and writing. I know it seems like we have said this several times already, but after having a short break from music, and settling into a new space, we’ve had to embrace the amount of time it takes to gather and oil our bearings again. However, we are excited for what’s to come. New songs, and new sounds are unraveling.

Mid-March we are packing up all our instruments and heading into the beautiful Hamlet of Dyers Bay in the center of the Bruce Peninsula. Away from the distractions, and bustle of city-life, we are going to hole up in a cottage and put on our writing caps, and not take them off for ten days. A rejuvenation of band dynamics, spirit, and creativity; I’m looking forward to it.

In the last few weeks, I’ve been busy practicing with my sister, and the wonderful Leon Taheny, for my first full solo set at the Garrison, last Tuesday night. I spent several nights setting up shop and practicing in my room, tinkering with sounds, and singing with an “inside voice”. The night was so incredibly nerve wrecking, but I’m truly grateful that my sister encouraged and pushed me to do it. Thank you to everyone who came out that night!!! My admiration for all those who front projects and gather the courage to sing/perform alone onstage has grown immensely. Luxury Pond’s, Dan Goldman, broke my heart with his beautiful lyrics and melodies, and the handsome boys of Whippoorwill and the gorgeous Sylvie Smith, kept me smiling and singing “chug-a-lug” for several days.

This Friday, March 5th, Casey is playing a solo set at the Tranzac along with Amy Learmonth of the Youngest (http://www.myspace.com/youngestyoungest), and Ken Reaume’s, VIVIV, (http://www.myspace.com/kennethreaume). You should check out their gorgeous music, and see them perform if you can. It will be a beautiful, heartwarming night!

Alright, so the closing ceremonies of the Olympics are beginning. I missed the opening ceremonies and half of the games, so I’ve pledged not to miss this.

I hope you are all warm, and your feet are staying dry!!
Thanks for reading and take care!!

Xoxo jenny

An Update!

Greetings friends!

It’s been a long time since we last wrote a blog and I thought I might take a little time to say hello and update you on the happenings here in Ohbijouland.

Firstly, its been so nice to be home. I guess once you become so accustomed to being in transit its difficult to settle down. There seems to be a ubiquitous grinding that follows you around; the sound of spinning wheels on an infinite tarmac. The winter has put a halt to this traveling. We are steady, we are grateful and the break has been refreshing and much needed.

We’ve finally found a home base for our practicing. You take many things for granted when you have a house like Bellwoods to shelter your gear, your late night practices etc. There seems to be a lack of little nooks for musicians to hide in in Toronto – we were lucky to find one.

In March we will be holing up in a tiny cottage to write our follow up to Beacons. There have been many experiences swelling in our pockets and I am excited to voice them, put them into string arrangements, embed them into drums beats, bass lines, piano chords. I think the most inspiring moments come from the writing process so I can’t wait to see and hear what lurks ahead.

Also within our little fold are other projects that I am so proud to take note of:

– Ryan Carley is finishing up the last touches of his debut album as Kite Hill. This album is sure to melt your every limb. Ryan’s music is so beautiful and I encourage you all to give a listen and support his talents (www.myspace.com/restandrun).

– Heather and James have been recording, recording, recording. James has been working with the likes of Diamond Rings and Loon Choir. Heather has been recording the incredible Emma McKenna. Please watch out for these releases as well. They both have a golden touch that I’m sure leaves deposits of magic in every note.

– My sister Jennifer has a rare solo show coming up on February 23rd as Canadian Wildlife. Her songs carry precious melodies that dig down to the achey spot in your chest. Here are the details. Come stand front row with me. I will be the one crying with pride. Here is the info:

Wednesday February 23rd at The Garrison

Heavy Vessel Presents:

Whippoorwill: Sylvie Smith (of The Magic) steers her band of brothers through a repertoire of country tinged hits.
Luxury Pond: Toronto singer/songwriter Dan Goldman weaves for us his beguiling tapestry of sound.
Canadian Wildlife: Jennifer Mecija (of Ohbijou) debuts her much anticipated solo project. Beautiful.

Doors: 9pm sharp with Canadian Wildlife at 9:45
$5.

– Anissa continues to contribute her cello talents to various artists in the city. I am eager to hear her playing on the upcoming Katie Stelmanis album. She’s told me that Katie and her band (yet unnamed) are out of this galaxy; they are a comet shooting upwards and that we have to catch Katie perform now before she unleashes her prodigious grip on the rest of the world. (www.myspace.com/..katiestelmanis)

As for me I wanted to tell you about an incredible group of girls I feel privileged to be working with.
Their names are Daryl-Anne, Kristina, Flerida and Desiree and they are a part of the Clutch Program run out of the Kapisanan Centre for Philippine Arts and Culture.

About CLUTCH

CLUTCH is a free six-month arts-based program for young Filipina women to start a dialogue with each other, get mentorship from professional artists within the community, have access to professional tools to hone their creativity, define their identity, explore their cultural heritage, and tell their stories on their terms. CLUTCH aims to provide hands-on artistic and leadership development, through the exploration of cultural identity as the foundation for empowerment.

The girls have been working on a short film that I have been helping to develop the soundtrack for. The big opening for the film is taking place on February 20th.

Kapisanan Philippine Centre for Arts & Culture presents…

ALUNSINA: A Clutch Exhibit

Featuring works by:
Kristina Guison / Daryl Anne Panganiban / Desiree Gamotin / Flerida Peña

OPENING RECEPTION
Saturday, February 20, 7PM – 11PM
Film Screening: 8PM

Six months. One night. Reflecting the creative spectrum of four young Filipina artists.
Visual Art // Installation // Film // Photography // Music // Performance

GALLERY HOURS
February 20 – March 6
Wed – Fri 1PM-8PM, Sat 1PM-6PM

“There was a time when there was still no world. No sun, no moon. No time.
Let me create, the goddess cried.”
http://www.clutchwomen.blogspot.com

Oh and I spent a couple of wonderful days in studio with Leon Taheny and Jeff Debutte of the Acorn recording a song for the compilation album Sing Me To Sleep. We were asked to record a cover of Dear Prudence and we’re pretty happy with the results! Sigur Ros, Telekinesis, Peter Broderick, Neil Halstead are among the other contributors. More info below!

American Laundromat Records Presents:
“Sing Me To Sleep” is a whimsical collection of lullabies and non-lullabies covered by some of ALR’s favorite indie artists, including Tanya Donelly, Dean & Britta, Say Hi, Telekinesis, The Real Tuesday Weld, Julie Peel, Sigur Rós, The Leisure Society, Stars, and many more. All proceeds from this wonderful album are donated to The Valerie Fund The Valerie Fund, a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization that provides support for the comprehensive health care of children with cancer and blood disorders. The CD will release worldwide on May 18, 2010.

All of this leaves me really excited and we will bring you updates more often.

With love.
Casey

ps. We are firming up the details for some extensive travels! It’s a secret now but we will reveal soon.
pps. On tour in Saskatoon we were given a remix of Wildfires by Zealandia. Check it out on our myspace, we really enjoy it!

Third Floor Sessions

Check out our “Third Floor Session” from Spiritlive.net!

Ohbijou – Third Floor Session

Thanks to the amazing and talented group of students at Ryerson for having us participate.

Heather

Happy Holidays!

Hello friends!

It has been a busy and exciting year for Ohbijou, so maybe we’ll just take a moment to summarize some highlights:

1. We released Beacons! It took 3 years, and was recorded all over the country from beds at Jamie’s grandmother’s cottage in Muskoka region, to the awe inspiring Banff Centre for the Arts, to our beloved practice space and former home of Casey and Jenny fondly known as “Bellwoods”, to home sessions with the album’s fearless and dedicated engineer/producer Chris Stringer. A big thank you to everyone who helped us make the album, we couldn’t have done it without you.

2. We got signed! Thanks to Bella Union in Europe and Last Gang Records in North America for taking the leap with us, we are eternally grateful for all your help and support.

3. We went to Texas! This year, we got to fulfill a big dream of ours by playing at SXSW, and what made it even better was that a ton of our band friends were there too! Props to the Wooden Sky, The D’Urbervilles, Gentleman Reg, and The Rural Alberta Advantage! We look forward to returning to Austin in 2010!

4. We went to Europe! Twice! Wow was it ever amazing, so scenic and interesting and we met so many amazing new friends along the way. Big thanks to our Tour Manager Matt Shrimpton and Scott Milner, for your humour and for getting us to all our destinations safely!

5. We did a Cross-Canada tour! It was wonderful to return to so many cities across our nation, each time we get more familiar with the venues, promoters and fans that make each tour stop unique and we are so thankful for the warm reception from our audiences. There really is no place like home! Also, we must do a shout out to our dear friends/touring partners the Acorn who always make touring fun with their dodgeball games, sanddune climbing and dice gambling.

6. Friends in Bellwoods II! The double-disk sensation curated by Casey and James has raised approximately $20,000 for the Daily Bread Food bank in Toronto, visit friendsinbellwoods.com for more information.

7. Exploding Motor Car made us a kick ass video! An ambitious stop-motion animation masterpiece – click here to be amazed if you haven’t seen it yet. Thanks so much to everyone at Exploding Motor Car, and to Videofact for making it possible.

8. CBC is the best! We would like to take a moment to thank CBC for all their support, and for playing our music. We were privileged to make appearances on Definitely Not The Opera, GO, Q, Sounds of the Season this year, and we had a fantastic time. Thank you CBC, we love you!

Finally, we’d like to extend a humongous thank you to our friends, families, fans, and loved ones for all your support in 2009. So from our hearts to yours, below is a link to a holiday surprise we recorded just for you. We must also thank George Michael for writing such a gem of a song!
Ohbijou – Last Christmas

Happy Holidays to you and your loved ones!
xoxo
ohbijou
www.ohbijou.com

P.S.  Those who signed up to our Ohbijou News Mailing list got the “Last Christmas” track first, if you’d like to be notified of future early-bird goodies, join the mailing list now!

3 MONTHS IN A TIN CAN


3 MONTHS IN A TIN CAN

I can still feel the van moving. A ubiquitous buzzing traveling through my veins; a cerebral drone. I wonder if there’s a clinical term for this condition? I’m sitting in my bedroom at home but can still feel the van moving. Maybe it’s something comparable to having a phantom limb; something is missing and yet I can still feel it in motion. Being on tour for 3 months and now sitting still without an itinerary to discipline each day, each week, is disorienting and unfamiliar. My body still feels crammed, one of six sardines squished into a tin can.

SEPTEMBER (EUROPE)

Its amazing being in a band. The opportunity to travel, to entertain is unmatched and the experiences that satiate each moment, each tour stop are so memorable and yet also so peculiar. Its a difficult task to try and discern each moment from the past 3 months that has affected/altered us in some way but there are instants that stand out. The month of September was spent uncovering Europe. Our second time to London carried with it a satisfying familiarity. Spending another afternoon in Brick Lane, furiously rummaging through vintage clothing, browsing vinyl stacks and being caught in the crossfire of restaurant owners fighting for our patronage felt accustomed and recurrent. London also brought with it a much needed reunion between my sister and her best friend Christina. I’ve never seen Jenny smile so wide – her happiness was contagious.

We are so grateful for the opportunity to play through out Europe and owe much gratitude to our booking agents James Alderman at Free Trade, Bob Van Heur at Belmont Booking, everyone at Bella Union and especially our tour captain Matt “Prawn” Shrimpton for herding us around safely and for unleashing (among other things) the most potent humour and witt through out our tour. Other European highlights included; the Dirty Projectors at the End of the Road Festival in North Dorset UK, wandering the streets of Rotterdam NL, playing at Club Vera in Groningen NL, talking Battlestar Galactica with J. Tilman in Paris, jumping on a trampoline at Bernie’s in Manchester, drinking whiskey into the wee hours with the boys form Magnolia Electric Co in Porthcawl UK and a surprise visitor and a much needed day off to explore Berlin. We feel lucky to have seen snippets of Europe if not only through the window of a van and hope to play again there soon.

OCTOBER (EASTERN CANADA)

“My life is a perfect graveyard of buried hopes.” Anne Shirley.
The most predictable circumstance of our trip out east was watching Anne of Green Gables on the way to Prince Edward Island. Soaked in youthful nostalgia, Anissa belted (as per usual) strident chirps of laughter from the back seat of our van. The soil slowly subsumed a redness to match the season outside as we crossed Confederation Bridge onto the island. We buried our feet in the red soil, jumped off small cliffs and absorbed the crisp air blowing from the Atlantic ocean. It was our first time visiting this province and like always it was even better to share it with the boys from The Acorn. Again, we feel so enriched by our friendships with Howie, Rolf, Pat, Jeff and Jeffrey. They are so humbling, so inspiring….Jeff previewed some tracks from their upcoming release and I must say prepare to be blown away.

Other Eastern Canada highlights included; playing at St. Matthew’s Church for Halifax Pop, devastating the Acorn in a game of dodgeball, Heather winning $45 in a game of dice in Fredericton, coffee at the Bridge St. cafe in Sackville and hearing Snailhouse perform Birds and Bees. Thank you to everyone who came to see our shows out east, next time we hope to make it all the way to Newfoundland!

NOVEMBER (WESTERN CANADA)

In Thunder Bay they were bumping and grinding (?!). Well not everyone, just two people. What an amazing display of moves! I saw a lot of “booty” shaking. Wowee. I’m sure it was the orchestral under pinnings of our music that unleashed their wild sides but I digress. Thunder Bay has always been a memorable experience for us. From Shelia devulging the trials and tribulations of her beloved Apollo to Tina shuffling around to serve us breaded chicken and sweet potatoes before the show to a girl named Jayal (I hope I spelt that write) sewing us an Ohbijou banner and giving us a copy of her wolf stories; we always leave that city feeling full of warmth and feeling apart of the family.

Our tour out west was the last leg of this 2 month jaunt around Canada. We were anticipating the beautiful drive from Sudbury through to Sault Ste. Marie. We were looking forward to the quiet lull and infinite skies of the prairies. We were held captive by the mountains and charmed by the small towns like Hedley BC that lined our path to Vancouver. Canada is so big and to feel every inch of it is truly an extraordinary experience. I won’t reiterate all that has been reflected upon in our most recent blogs of this tour but I will definitely send thanks to everyone who came out to the shows. Thank you for supporting our music and thank you for the opportunities to play for you. We feel really lucky and hope to see you again soon! Thank you especially to our booking agent Steven Himmelfarb and Remi for all your help through out.

The wheels have stopped so now what?

There is a much to absorb and digest. It’s time to put pen to paper and write, write, write!

Thank you again.
Keep well.
Casey


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