Jane Siberry to perform in Minden
By Chad Ingram
Calling all angels.
Eclectic and critically acclaimed recording artist Jane Siberry will be performing in Minden in early December, as part of the Christmas pageant at St. Paul's Anglican Church and in her own show the following day.
Siberry, who rose to prominence in the 1980s with art-pop hits such as Mimi on the Beach and I Muse Aloud, has had a long and wide-ranging musical career, working with the likes of K.D. Lang and Brian Eno. Perhaps her best-known song, Calling All Angels, was released in the early 1990s and it is that tune Siberry will treat the audience to at an event at St. Paul's Anglican Church on Dec. 5.
Entitled Calling All Angels, the pageant, which will feature dozens of costumed cast members, is the brainchild of resident and designer Sinclair Russell.
“Everything can be blamed on Sinclair,” Siberry quips. “He told me he was going to use [Calling All Angels] and asked me if I would come up and sing it. Mostly, I'm just looking forward to seeing the pageant with everyone else.”
Russell, who is originally from Carnarvon and who returned to the Highlands last year, and Siberry share a commonality. Both are related to Minden's Pritchard family.
Siberry's great uncle was Lawrence Pritchard, who was a reeve of Minden and her great-grandfather Joseph Pritchard, who was a reeve of Stanhope.
So Siberry's trip to the village will be a homecoming of sorts for her.
“I love Minden, it's been in my soul since I was born,” Siberry says, recalling regular trips to the area, particularly in the fall, when she was young.
With a family cottage on Pigeon Lake, she still returns to the Highlands every now and again.
With spiritual themes running throughout much of Siberry's work, what does Christmas mean to her?
“I do love Christmas, I think maybe more in a pagan way,” she says, adding it's a time when the earth closes down and goes inside in order to be reborn. “Just as humans must do.”
After disposing of many of her earthly possessions a decade ago, Siberry tends to live wherever she is working, that place currently Toronto.
“I'm mixing a new recording that's taken me about five years,” she says. “I think it's one of the most universal albums I've made.”
It could also be the final full-length album Siberry produces, the artist hinting she's thinking about transitioning mainly to the release of singles.
Unlike some in the music industry who have pushed back hard against the digitization of music and the changing way in which it's consumed, Siberry seems more comfortable with the concept.
“I love the flexibility when people can download for free and share instantly,” she says, adding that the Internet is facilitating a sharing economy where people share their cars, power tools, etc. online.
After the 9-11 attacks, Siberry got a number of requests for the use ofCalling All Angels.
Not feeling the need to go after royalties, “I just put it up for you to use,” she says. “I don't need to be a gatekeeper.”
Siberry, who is now working without a label, also used the website Kickstarter to crowd-source some of the funds for her new album.
There will be two performances of the pageant on Dec. 5, on at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. Admission is by donation, with proceeds going to the church's outreach programs. Along with Siberry's performance, it will feature a choir, Gord Kidd and Wendy Connelly of The Country Hot Flashes.
Siberry's concert will also take place at St. Paul's Anglican Church, beginning at 3 p.m. on Dec. 6.
Tickets are $19 and there will be refreshments after the show, as well as an opportunity to meet Siberry. Fans can bring CDs to be signed and there will also be some available for sale.
Siberry also has a special invitation, “to the over-80 'club' and pre-16 crowd . . . I would like you to come as my guest, if you bring me a poem. One that you wrote yourself or from someone else's pen. Please hand-write it and put your real name or your pen name on it. I invite you to read it or we will have someone to do it . . . but youwould likely do it best. We will have a microphone too if you choose to use it.”