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Patch·work ˈpaCHˌwərk/
noun a thing composed of many different elements so as to appear variegated

Patchwork is a voice+electronics+visuals performance project featuring longtime creative collaborators Mary Jane Lamond and Laurel MacDonald. Patchwork draws its inspiration and music from the collection of folk songs compiled by the pioneering Nova Scotian folklorist Helen Creighton, and explores a point of convergence between folk song and visual imagery, and digital audio and video technology. Mary Jane and Laurel are joined in live performance by Phil Strong on sound design and live music/audio mix.

Patchwork had its world premier performance at Sound Symposium XVIII in St. John’s, Newfoundland in July 2016, and the show is available for bookings for the upcoming season. Please contact Sheri Jones at Jones & Co. Artist Management for further information.


First cousins, lifelong singing companions and professional collaborators, Laurel MacDonald and Mary Jane Lamond are each independent artists with long and varied careers. In their Patchwork performance project they combine their mutual love of singing and passion for folk traditions with an interest in exploring new technologies – new ways of communicating and sharing age-old themes.

Patchwork quilts, most often the result of the collaborative efforts of several women and made laboriously by hand using thousands and thousands of stitches, were characteristic of the needlework popular throughout North America until the mid-20th century. Laurel and Mary Jane’s grandmother Nellie MacDonald made several for her many grandchildren, and it was rare to see her sitting without some kind of sewing in her hand. The word patch also describes an electrical or virtual connection in music and video technology. The Patchwork performance project, by combining traditional songs with digital audio and video technology, examines contrasts and explores points of convergence between traditional and contemporary culture.

Patchwork features songs collected by folklorist Helen Creighton (1899-1989), a pioneering collector and cataloguer of the folk song and storytelling heritage of the Maritime provinces, who traveled during the mid-20th century to virtually every corner of that region to document story and song. The Patchwork song repertoire is drawn from the collection compiled by Creighton from the inhabitants of the early Gaelic, English, Irish, Scottish and Acadian communities of Nova Scotia.

Borne of the folk tradition, the song arrangements are a cappella in their essence, but are layered over soundscapes built using live vocal loops, signal processing, ambient instrumental music, and archival recordings.

The Patchwork visuals are drawn from the vivid imagery contained in the songs themselves: ancient and universal storytelling devices such as bird symbolism, ghost stories and the supernatural, riddle songs, images of needlework and textiles (especially the theme of quilting) and stories where women transcend their traditional roles in patriarchal culture. These images are presented as animations, processed video, and realtime, interactive video imagery which changes dynamically in response to the music.

Patchwork is a labour of love inspired by the singers who kept these songs alive and by the women whose hands created the cherished quilts – comfort and richness for generations to enjoy.


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We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, which last year invested $153 million to bring the arts to Canadians throughout the country.

Nous remercions le Conseil des arts du Canada de son soutien. L’an dernier, le Conseil a investi 153 millions de dollars pour mettre de l’art dans la vie des Canadiennes et des Canadiens de tout le pays.