Ami McKay showing SarahRose around Scots Bay
What is it about the East Coast? Is it the ocean, steps away from the front door? Or the good-natured, warm-hearted people? Maybe it’s the rich tradition of kitchen parties and lively ceilidhs. Whatever it is, we fell in love with it. And we fell fast.
I have been visiting my sister out in Halifax since she moved there seven years ago, and couldn't help but feel at home right away. From my first foray into the local Halifax culture(s), I knew I’d be back as soon as I possibly could. Andrew and I have ventured to a variety of places including a number of coastal cities, and tons of beautiful towns along the Cabot Trail. When we read Ami’s The Birth House, it felt like we were immersed in a small piece history in the province we’d grown to love so much. It wasn’t hard to imagine being a part of the congregation in the Scots Bay church, or riding along the dangerous road that led from Scots Bay to neighbouring Canning, overlooking the Annapolis Valley. It was hard not to imagine the horror and devastation caused by the Halifax explosion on that fateful day. Ami’s magical narrative accentuated our already incredible experience of the East Coast, and Andrew and I had no choice but to give way to the Maritime muse.
Andrew looking out into the Atlantic
What have now become annual trips to Nova Scotia have been incredibly exciting and fruitful for us. Our visit to Scots Bay was a magical experience unto itself, but it seems that no matter where we go within the province, we find inspiration. The local music, from fiddle tunes to acoustic folk to Mi’kmaq songs, inspires us. Although the music we write ranges from folk to rock to an assortment of other musical influences, we’re consistently drawn to exploring and enjoying the incredible array of music that comes from the East. It’s humbling to reflect on what Canada can offer an artist of any genre- the vast, breathtaking landscapes, the diverse people, and the already massive amount of Canadian art that has emerged continually moves us both, and we can’t wait to keep exploring and keep writing!
‘Til next time,
-SRB (& AA)
From a songwriting session with Arosa Star
It was a warm August evening when I (Andrew) was driving home from a long evening of teaching and tuned in to CBC Radio 2 to enjoy another night of "Canada Live
." For those that may not have heard the programme before, it is a one hour show on every week night, hosted by Andrew Craig, which features live concerts from all over Canada recorded by the CBC. A must-listen for fans of live music and the contemporary Canadian music scene.
During this particular evening's show, which featured singer-songwriter Justin Rutledge, something caught my attention and immediately got the gears in my brain working a little harder than they normally would during the monotonous commute home from Toronto. Andrew Craig was describing Justin's recent collaboration with author Michael Ondaatje for When My Name Was Anna
(the stage adaptation of Divisidero),
which provided some inspiration for his 2010 album The Early Widows
I was immediately drawn to the concept of writing original music based on a novel, and although it is not an entirely new idea, it was one that I thought had lots of potential for exploration. I immediately called SarahRose and pitched the idea in a breathless jumble of words that seemed to pour out all at once. After taking a breath and composing myself (no pun intended) I explained the idea a little more clearly: "Let's choose a Canadian novel that we have read and thoroughly enjoyed, and write an album of original songs based on the characters, themes, situations, and setting of that novel and see what we come up with." Without skipping a beat (another pun!) SarahRose suggested The Birth House
by Ami McKay; a novel that we had actively followed through Canada Reads the previous year. And thus, what we began calling "The Birth House Project" was under way.
SarahRose and I had been playing together in You, Me, Baxter & Phil
for about a year at this point, and not only did this conversation inspire "The Birth House Project" but it was also the beginning of Arosa Star.
For more information about Justin Rutledge's project with Michael Ondaatje, check out his personal website here
Until next time,
-AA (& SRB)Coming up next:
"The Sun Rises in the East: Atlantic Inspiration"
Arosa Star with Ami McKay in Scots Bay
Happy Monday to all of our new friends and followers!
Between author Ami McKay's blog post and finishing up the mixing of our album "Creation" with engineer Laurence Currie, it's been a busy couple of days for us! After months of preparation and spending time in the studio, we are very close to being able to share our music with the world.
For those that haven't already visited Ami McKay's website, she wrote a blog post this past Thursday about the time that we spent in Scots Bay visiting her home, touring the area, and discussing our album with her. It was an incredible experience and we are so thankful for her generosity in hosting us for the day. You can visit http://www.amimckay.com
to read the post.
Finally, we would like to share our Indiegogo campaign with all of you. As you probably know, creating a professional full length album can be massive undertaking, and an expensive one at that. If you would like to contribute to our campaign, please visit www.indiegogo.com/arosastar
. While we are extremely grateful for every contribution, it is also important to us to spread the word about this project, so feel free to pass our campaign and this website along to your friends, family, and anyone who you think might be interested in what we're doing.
Until next time, we leave you with a preview of "Spider Hill" (un-mastered version) from our upcoming album. This track will only be available for streaming for a short while, so listen while you can!
-AA & SRBComing up next:
"Words & Music: The Birth of an Idea"
Welcome to Arosa Star's official blog! We have started this blog so that we can share our experiences with you, and post all of the latest Arosa Star news. We're excited to be in the post-production phase of our debut album "Creation" (featuring vocalist Sarah Pearson) with engineer Laurence Currie (for more information about the album, click here
) and looking forward to releasing it in the next few months.
We'll be posting about upcoming live performances, recordings, collaborations with other musicians, new projects, our songwriting process, and of course, our work with renowned Canadian author Ami McKay.
For now, you can have a look around our website, check out some pictures, and read more about what we have been up to. For regular news updates, you can sign up to our e-mail list, "like" our Facebook page
, and follow us on Twitter
Finally, we are planning on releasing our first single "Spider Hill" in late fall, and the first 25 fans that sign up to our e-mail list will be sent a free download-able mp3 of the single!
Thanks for visiting...we hope you enjoy our blog and come back often!
-AA & SRB