If you need a poster girl for the burgeoning grassroots arts scene, it'd be Juliana LaChance. As a full time artists in multi-media and acrylic painting, her murals and more are displayed around Hamilton. In addition to paintings, she is also an artisan specializing in Ukrainian Pysanky, dream catchers, and crystal jewelry. But it's been LaChance's trippy films and most importantly her music that we've documented in this column and this weekend LaChance offers her greatest musical outing at a novel locale.
"I think i'm done with pop music and focusing on folk," says LaChance on her latest musical muse. "I had an incredible friend and a great musician that went by the name of Sad Sorcerer, he is Jonathan Horvath. I love his music and he's an inspiration and someone I look up to with the way he writes music. He kept saying that he wanted to record an album with me and he went to school for recording so we sat down and figured it out. He goes by Sunflux now. He produced my album and I couldn't have trusted anyone else with this body of work because the songs mean so much to me. I wanted a certain feeling for these songs and listening to his music, I believed he new the spirit and essence of my songs. It's my greatest work so far and it sounds amazing. I'm so ecstatic it sounds better than I ever could have imagined."
"Music is my first passion - I love it so much because it can really change people's lives and form communities," adds LaChance. "Music is so powerful and it's timeless. It's brought me to all of my best friends. I'm excited about this album because it has a spirit to it. This specific sound has not been out in the world and it's also recorded in the frequency of 432 hertz in harmony with the earth's vibrations."
LaChance references the world standard for tone. The Music Commission of the Italian Government declaring back in 1885 that tuning forks vibrating at 440 Hz as a standard for orchestras going against Frances 432 Hz recommendation. The American Federation of Musicians endorsed the Italians in the 1940s but there are those that believe this tonality can effect the vibe of the music but we digress. It's more about the cerebral verses the emotional healing qualities of sound and LaChance is about healing. And in the same vein, the lyrical fodder might be more based on an annual bout with cabin fever for Canadians but we're getting a spring themed album released on the cusp of autumn.
"With winter being so long and all of a sudden spring comes and it's not even that warm out but you're outside and you want to stay outside all day long," says LaChance. "This collection of songs is the first time I've professionally recorded my music so all of my other songs were the winter of my career and all of a sudden all of my songs are coming to life. It's meaningful on so many levels. I was born in the spring and just the energy of coming alive and going full throttle.
"It's so symbolic that we're releasing it on the fall equinox because it's the harvest of the seeds that I have planted in the spring," adds LaChance. "We just finished the album a month ago and there was a lot of work putting these seeds in the ground but I wanted to make everyone proud. I like the lo-fi sound but we've captured that and made it more clean and crisp with flute, violin, backup vocals, a little bit of drums and tambourine. This is a half Bandura and half harpsichord album for me. The harpsichord is a really soulful instrument that has really helped me write a lot of cool songs and tell the stories of some of the most important events in my life."
While more pastoral odes to nature like "Glory to the Glory of the Sun" or LaChance's favourite track "Golden Temple") make the main fodder focus for this outing from LaChance, songs also delve into perhaps darker territory with her world travels like "Indian Street Drugs" or her family history "Satan's Choice" or even her own activist career "Glorious Life of Crime".
"The first song is about going outside in the sun and playing, although it's an anti-capitalist song," says LaChance. "All of these songs are important to my soul and the evolution of my self as an artist. All of these songs contain a wisdom from going out in this world and looking for truth. I've dedicated my life to art but first I've dedicated my life to changing the world so I really want to be a force of positive change because the world needs this right now. The video I just released for "Glorious Life of Crime" does take on some of the times I was arrested for protesting but it's a satirical take on it because I was standing up for what I believed in. If you are aligned with love, then I believe you are on the right path. Some of the songs are about going through the darkness to get to the light."
For her CD release party, LaChance encourages people to try a new venue perhaps as they sample her new songs. But as we've come to expect from this adventurous artist, LaChance promises a sound and visual celebration as only she can create.
"It's in my old neighborhood near Cathedral High School near Main and Wentworth Streets," says LaChance. "Culantro is a Peruvian Restaurant and I worked there but I was an artist in residence as well. My art is on display there and I have a little bit of free reign there so I'm going to be making it into a pretty crazy fall equinox celebration. It's a nice community kind of space with an open mic every Tuesday. I'll have Sarah Hardy on flute and Jonathan Horvath on back up vocals and percussion and it sounds so good, it'll be a very, very psychedelic experience that really makes me happy.
"My biggest dream is to tour but I just want as many people to hear my music and if it's better recorded I'm hoping it's more accessible but I want everyone to come to this show," adds LaChance. "There's going to be enchanting decorations, art, films and other surprises to celebrate so if you're looking for a cool community event with art music and good times, please come as I'd like to see you and meet you."
Juliana LaChance performs this Saturday September 21 at Culantro (537 Main St. E.) with Kisses Give You Power, Ivy Wye and Eiyn Sof. Doors are at 8pm and $8 gets you in. Click on julianalachance.com