Patchwork is thrilled to announce our new performance project
She Sings as She Flies • Revisiting the Helen Creighton Song Collection
She Sings as She Flies was conceived by Mary Jane Lamond and Laurel MacDonald as a special production of their Patchwork vocal performance project.
First cousins and longtime professional performers and creative collaborators, Mary Jane Lamond and Laurel MacDonald recently launched a performance duo under the moniker Patchwork: a project dedicated to the presentation of traditional song in a contemporary context.
She Sings as She Flies will feature Mary Jane and Laurel as Patchwork performing songs from the Gaelic and English language traditions. Joining Mary Jane and Laurel will be Nicole LeBlanc, Kirsten Olivia and Naomi Dawn Poulette, singing selections from the Acadian, African Nova Scotian, and Mi’kmaq communities respectively.
Together they will present the songs in a theatrical environment, integrating the music with archival recordings and images, live vocal looping, sound design and video stage projections.
The production will look not only at the rich legacy of the music itself, but will also pose questions regarding the circumstances of Helen Creighton’s work, and the social and cultural environment then, and now.
She Sings as She Flies will be a groundbreaking presentation by five uniquely talented Nova Scotian singers, illustrating the richness, diversity and complex history behind this unique folksong collection.
noun • a thing composed of many different elements so as to appear variegated
Patchwork is a voice+electronics+visuals performance project created by and featuring Mary Jane Lamond and Laurel MacDonald. Patchwork draws its inspiration and repertoire from the collection of folk songs compiled by the pioneering Nova Scotian folklorist Helen Creighton. 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. The word patch also describes an electrical or virtual connection in music and video technology. By integrating traditional songs and archival recordings with digital audio and video technology, Patchwork examines contrasts and explores points of convergence between traditional and contemporary culture. patchworkmusic.ca
Mary Jane Lamond released her first album Bho Thir Nan Craobh in 1994, and soon after recorded the hit song Sleepy Maggie, a duet with fiddler Ashley Maclsaac that enjoyed major commercial success in Canada and internationally. She has dedicated her musical career to the preservation of the Scottish Gaelic language, has garnered numerous awards, widespread critical acclaim and a worldwide audience for her efforts. Her most recent project is a collaboration with Cape Breton fiddler Wendy MacIsaac. In 2012 they released the CD Seinn, to rave reviews. Mary Jane’s five solo recordings create a contemporary framework for ancient Gaelic songs, and her spellbinding performances make this music truly come alive.
“Lamond’s voice is an instrument of crystalline perfection that infuses fresh life into this old, old music… a latter-day Gaelic diva.”
Laurel MacDonald is a singer, composer and video artist who has released four solo albums and has performed at venues including Harbourfront Centre in Toronto, the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, Central Park Summerstage in New York, the Monterey World Music Festival in California, MUTEK in Montreal, and Sound Symposium in St. John’s Newfoundland. Her dance and music videos have screened at art and film festivals in six countries. Her award- winning video/audio installation XXIX, featuring 21 singers and 21 channels of sound, was exhibited at Nuit Blanche in Toronto, at BEAST (Birmingham ElectroAcoustic Sound Theatre), and at AngelicA Festival Internazionale di Musica, in Bologna, Italy.
“MacDonald plums the spiritual depths with her mystical voice, turning a kaleidoscope that revolves around the listener in sultry polyrhythms and ghostly vocal gymnastics.”
Nicole LeBlanc is an Acadian singer, dancer, and multi-instrumentalist from Chéticamp, Nova Scotia. She has been sharing her pride in her culture through music for several years now. With the help of Le Conseil des arts de Chéticamp as well as La Société Saint-Pierre, she loves sharing her music with others, young and old. She is the music teacher at her childhood school, École NDA, and directs the community dance troupe. In early 2013 Nicole released her debut CD, Entre deux portes, which garnered her an ECMA nomination in the Roots/Traditional category. Whether she’s on stage, in the classroom, at church or at a kitchen party, she enthusiastically shares the traditional music as well as her own compositions with people around her. She believes that her ancestors built a great foundation for our culture and music is the ideal way of sharing its values. “I love performing, but I mostly enjoy sharing my passion for music. Keeping the Acadian culture alive through music is my passion.”
Kirsten Olivia is a gifted singer and actress from the community of East Preston, Nova Scotia. Kirsten was introduced to the stage at a young age, singing in the children’s church choir and later with the adults alongside her mother. Growing up in a household where her mother and father both shared a love for music, it was a part of her life from a young age. Kirsten’s 6-track EP, The Here and Now, landed her an ECMA Nominee for Best R&B Recording and The Coast’s Best R&B Silver winner. The Here and Now is “an ode to the past, learning from it, leaving it where it belongs, and experiencing the present in a positive light”. Her experience ranges from touring Europe with Erin Costelo, being a session vocalist, writing with multi-platinum record producer Roy Hamilton III and opening for acts such as Mavis Staples, Bettye LaVette, Nile Rodgers and Chic, Classified, Divine Brown, Expressions, Dr. John and Hypnotic Brass Ensemble. She has performed on stages from Harlem’s Caribbean Music Festival, to East Coast Music Week, to the African Nova Scotian Music Awards stage, where she won the award for Best Emerging artist. Kirsten commands the stage with an assured presence that makes you want to listen.
Naomi Dawn Poulette is a Mi’kmaq Song Carrier from the Mi’kmaq community We’koqma’q First Nation, Cape Breton. Naomi is very passionate about her history, language, and culture. The songs which she performs reflect her Indigenous roots and embraces decolonizing education through songs and story-telling. Naomi has been performing on many different platforms along her journey as a song carrier. She began singing in middle school in local talent shows, ceremonies, events, and in the community church choir. As time went on, she began to use her talent to bring awareness to her culture and to her people. She has shared her gift with her community, neighbouring communities, schools, and other music projects. She recently worked with composer Scott Macmillan as a part of a tribute to songwriter Peter Frank Bernard. Naomi is an educator and just finishing her Masters in Education. When she started walking down the path to pursue a career in education, she began to use this as an opportunity to expand her audience and to help direct change towards reconciliation. Naomi has always felt that music was the one way to bring communities and people together in peace, harmony and hope, which has become her passion.
She Sings as She Flies has been made possible through the generous support
of the Nova Scotia 150 Forward Fund and the Helen Creighton Folklore Society.
Wayne O’Connor • Jones & Co. Artist Management
Sheri Jones • Jones & Co. Artist Management