A special performance is coming to Immaculata Hall this Friday (Oct. 27) titled She Sings as She Flies: Revisiting the Helen Creighton Song Collection.
The show was conceived by St. F.X. alumnus Mary Jane Lamond and her cousin Laurel MacDonald as a special production of their voice/electronics/visual performance project Patchwork.
“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,” a press release regarding the show stated.
“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.”
It’s noted the show will also dig deeper into the how and when of Creighton’s collecting.
“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,” the release noted.
“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.”
The show will begin at 7 p.m. and tickets can be purchased at St. F.X.’s Immaculata Hall room 207, Gilmora Hall room 231 or at the door (cash only). For more information about tickets and other Patchwork shows and details, visit patchworkmusic.ca.
Lamond talked about the origins of Patchwork in conversation with the Casket Oct. 16.
“We started Patchwork because we wanted to find a project where we could come together,” she said of hers and MacDonald’s motivation. “We grew up singing together and always loved to sing together so, a few years ago, we were throwing around ideas trying to figure out a project we could work on, which would bring us back together to sing, basically.
Lamond talked about MacDonald using a lot of technology in her performances which she wants to become more familiar with.
“Laurel has been working with a lot technologies in her performance work; video, vocal-looping, things like that, which Laurel is using and I want to learn.”
She Sings as She Flies started in Pictou (Oct. 21) before landing in Antigonish. There are also shows in Church Point (Nov. 2) and Halifax on Nov. 3. Lamond noted receiving a 150 Forward Fund, from the provincial government, in helping to support the work.
“We were able to expand it to include the other cultures that Helen Creighton collected from,” she said, referencing the Acadian, African Nova Scotian, and Mi’kmaq artists who will be joining them.
“She [Creighton] did so much work,” Lamond said. “So many books and so much work with the different cultures; it was a good way to look at the folk tradition in Nova Scotia. What we’re doing is really revisiting that and looking at how folk songs can be performed in a different way.”
She talked about coming back to her alma mater to perform and her affection for Antigonish.
“I think it makes me more nervous than other places, but this is a big group performance with the five of us,” she said. “It will be interesting to see how it goes.
“I really like Antigonish. Actually, I really miss living in Antigonish. I moved from Antigonish to Cape Breton after I finished school, basically, so I would be closer to a broader Gaelic speaking base, but I always really liked living in Antigonish.”
She said she recalls performing at Immaculata Hall “years ago” and described it as “a beautiful room.”