Monday, August 27, 2012

Pheaturing Alumni Christine Leakey

Hello, kids, welcome to another entry of the Phile on a rain drenched Monday. Here in Florida we are getting the back end of Tropical Storm Isaac or something. It's gonna be a wet and miserable day.  A new survey predicts that women and the elderly are more likely to vote in the presidential election. Which explains the new front-runner, Michael Buble.  Supermodel Gisele Bundchen revealed that she and Tom Brady are expecting their second child. They haven’t confirmed if it’s a boy or a girl, but they're a 100 percent certain it's better than other babies. God, I hate that Tom Brady guy. He is no Eli that's for sure.  At the age of 50, Roger Clemens has signed on to play for a minor league team in Texas. You can tell he's getting up there. Today he tested positive for Activia.  The huricane or tropical storm made them postpone the Republican National Convention in Tampa until tomorrow. It could really hurt Republicans... which explains its name, “Hurricane Todd Akin.”  Mattel just unveiled a new Barbie that is being referred to as the Drag Queen Barbie. Confused child sold separately.  Former New York Giant Michael Strahan will replace Regis Philbin as Kelly Ripa’s permanent co-host. Of course it gets kind of weird when you hear that Regis was actually traded to the Giants.  It was just announced that most of the speakers at this year’s Democratic National Convention will be women. But it’s going to be annoying when they stop speaking, but won’t tell you why.  More magazines are actually photo-shopping their models to make them look heavier. When models heard that they were like, “Or you could just let us eat.”  In a new interview, first lady Michelle Obama said she doesn’t have time to read “Fifty Shades of Grey.” Then it got weird when she added, “Again.”  CNN plans to air a 90-minute documentary on Mitt Romney before the Republican National Convention. Yeah, 90 minutes of Mitt Romney. Even Red Bull is like, “This is outta my league, bro.”  President Obama’s supporters can now text the word “GIVE” to donate up to $50 dollars to his campaign, although it's frustrating when autocorrect keeps changing it to “Fix the economy.”   A new report found that full-frontal nudity on prime-time TV has increased 6,000 percent over the last year. Especially on that one sitcom, "The Fresh Prince Harry."  New research found that people who wake up early are more productive than people who sleep in. Or as Congress put it, “Whoa... is it noon already?”  I am not a video game player like my son is, but I was kinda excited when I found out where "Grand Theft Auto" is gonna be set next.

Well, Star Wars Celebration took place here in Orlando the last few days. A Phile reader named Andre sent me this photo of the Anthony Daniels line. Anthony Daniels of course played C3-PO.

It looks like his 15 minutes of fame is over.  Hey, have you seen the new Ben & Jerry's ice cream flavor?

It looks... disgusting.  Speaking of disgusting... Prince Harry wasn't the only Royal playing a game naked. I guess this type of thing really isn’t that unusual.

You know, that photo almost turned me on.  As you know Neil Armstrong passed away, but if you go to you might read something different. This is 100% real, kids.

Now from the home office in Groveland, Florida...

Top Ten Other Punishments For Lance Armstrong
10. The groupies just aren't lining up to take the "Tour De Lance" the way they used to.
9. Complimentary Netflix membership bumped down to just one measly DVD at a time.
8. Bed Bath & Beyond is now enforcing the expiration date on all his "20% Off " coupons.
7. Sheryl Crow is demanding that he give back her lemon zester.
6. Must revert to his old, non-dashing name, "Melvin O'Dingle."
5. Will have to star in Premium Rush 2. 
4. From now on, all LIVESTRONG bracelets must be amended to read, "LIVESTRONG through performance-enhancing drugs... not that you'd ever admit it, you lying hump, you."
3. His highest honor has gone from "Tour De France champion" to "World's Greatest Dad."
2. No longer allowed to cruise downtown Austin on his 19th-century penny-farthing.
And the number one other punishment for Lance Armstrong...
1. Can get everything back... if he only had the balls to fight.

Okay, yesterday I introduced you to a new member of the Phile phamily... a Phile phan named Laird Jim. He was so popular I thought I would invite him back. It's time for another...

At the duckpond and my friend Nelson from work calls me up.... "I just bought this sweet Camaro ragtop... let's hit Ocean Parkway and see what this thing's got." He's gonna let ME... Drive his brannnnnd new '67 Camaro.... On Ocean Parkway... To "see what it can do." Is he really that stupid? Ummm, guys... it's kinda like givin' a loaded revolver to a six year old... you're not sure how it's gonna turn out... but you're pretty sure it's gonna make the papers.

This is so friggin' cool... the 23rd artist to be pheatured in the Peverett Phile Gallery is a member of one of my favorite bands ever... Barenaked Ladies. Here's one of his pieces...

Kevin Hearn will be a guest on the Phile in a few weeks! I cannot wait!

Today's guest was last on the Phile was last on the Phile back on January 20th this year when she was the 9th artist to be pheatured in the Peverett Phile Art Gallery. Since then her CD "Tapping Trees in a Trinket Box of Treasure" has been released on iTunes. Please welcome back to the Phile the lovely and talented... Christine Leakey.

Me: Hello, Christine, welcome back to the Phile. How have you been?

Christine: I've been a busy bee! Things are pretty good. :)

Me: I have to thank you so much. One of my number one favorite bands is Barenaked Ladies and because of you Kevin Hearn from BNL is gonna be a guest on the Phile. What did he say when you approached him about this?

Christine: I never heard anything back in the email but whenever I see him in person he's very kind and so I'm sure he is quite flattered by your dedication to the BNL's! :)

Me: I want to pheature his artwork as well like I did yours last time you were here. How long have you known Kev?

Christine: I haven't known him for very long. I did listen to a song since the early 90s that was by a band he was in called Look People though. I actually met him while working on my album since Great Bob Scott on drums and Chris Gartner on bass and other things on my album are in a band with him entitled, Thin Buckle.

Me: Didn't you also used to live next door to Tyler Stewart, the drummer for BNL?

Christine: I did live in Toronto on the same street as Tyler for a few years during the early 2000's and gave his children Halloween treats.

Me: You're from 1000 Islands, Gananoque... did I spell it right? Where is that exactly? It sounds like something from Narnia or "Lord of the Rings".

Christine: Yes, you spelled it correctly! A good way to remember the spelling is by saying it in a sort of cheerleading chant: G-A-N (rest) A-N (rest) O-Q-U-E let's go! It's a lovely geographical area which borders the US and so some of the islands are on the American side and if you look over the side of the boat you can see the Canada, USA divide! ;) It's just a short drive east from the Lake Ontario delta.

Me: Where are you living now, Christine? Ever make it to Florida yet?

Christine: I live in Hamilton currently. I have been to Florida twice. The last time I was there was in '08 and I still haven't been to the Everglades or seen a manatee.

Me: As I said last time you were here you were part of the Peverett Phile Art Gallery, this time we'll focus more on your music. Have you been doing any more drawings or paintings though? I'd love to pheature more of your art and have you back a third time.

Christine: That would be great! Yes, I have been dabbling a bit. Though design and the music has been really monopolizing my time. I have some ideas for art which I wish to create sometime soon I hope.

Me: Let's get through this second time first. Your beautiful album "Tapping Trees in a Trinket Box of Treasure" is now out and available on iTunes. That album took 14 years or so to make, am I right?

Christine: Well, it took that long from when I was initially going to make the album because of an injury which stopped me from playing guitar. So some of the tunes are that old but still fresh and I think timeless. I had a recording deal back then which I had to walk away from so it was all very frustrating for me as you can imagine. I started recording the bed tracks in 2007 and then in early 2008 I took a break to find the right studio to record. I was about to book Canterbury Studios in Toronto in late summer 2009 when I was approached to do it at a private studio. My intentions were to get it done quickly since that is how I'm wired but the person was very busy and while I had deadlines in mind and flight to the UK with some shows being discussed there for a mini tour forecast for spring 2010. That got nixed since the promised timeline wasn't met from the private studio and the album was far from finished. And so after 2 years it finally got done in 2011 and I released it in 2012. 'Ph'ew! ;)

Me: I am guessing you are really bloody glad it's finally out. Have you been getting a lot of good feedback from it?

Christine: That's an understatement! :) And yes, I've been getting some great feedback which has been very rewarding and has made me feel extremely grateful and happy.

Me: What took so long to do it?

Christine: Aside from the gap my injury caused, the fellow who approached to work at his private studio, is a very busy musician who is in heavy demand. He also works on albums with several people and so towards the end he revealed to me that he had seven albums on the go and he was in a dozen bands including Thin Buckle with Kevin Hearn. To top it, he has life responsibilities which I can respect. Knowing the time it would truly take would have been great to know in advance. I was definitely not prepared for such a drawn out experience. Everything happens for a reason though and I'm happy to be finally sharing it with everyone.

Me: I asked you about the album's name last time you were here asking if anybody had trouble remembering it. How's that going, Christine? Where did the name come from?

Christine: So far so good! :) I remember someone said it wrong but quickly fixed it in their review. It is drawn from several life experiences for me and I love to do a play on words with each word beginning with the same letter. I had an affinity for the letter S in the 90s and used to go on a radio show doing Some Swirly Spoken Sayings! ;) "Tapping Trees in a Trinket Box of Treasure" means I've got these tunes which are like trinkets in a treasure box, my mind, which have been tucked away too long. I'm sappy at times for I tend to wear my heart on my sleeve. My Uncle John that "The Man with The Golden Heart" is about got really sick with pneumonia and passed away after visiting a sugar bush during tree tapping season. When I play guitar, I'm essentially tapping a tree as it's made from wood so I am acknowledging the tree where the music comes from. So there you are… I suppose it could also be interpreted in a sensual way.

Me: When you were here before I showed the cover to your single "Lovely Lullabies & Apple Pies", but didn't even mention that song. Did you think that was odd? I found it annoying.

Christine: It didn't bother me. I was very happy that you were interested in my music and so I figured you were just focused on asking me other questions in depth… The music speaks for itself really and it's always interesting to learn about people behind creations.

Me: You are very photogenic, Christine, and your cover for the album and single have an antique look. Is that something you are into?

Christine: Thank you! Sometimes I'm very non-photogenic too and knowing your best angle and lighting can do wonders! ;) Yes, I dig antiques. I have two Victrola's and an antique toy piano collection which you can see samples of in my pics. I like history very much and wish that Alexander the not so great didn't burn the library in Alexandria. Imagine all the ancient wisdom there. And now we breathe it all in through the same air on earth to this day.

Me: As an artist, did you design the looks together?

Christine: I designed the packaging to my CD and the single. I had a couple friends photograph me and then I created fantasy worlds, though the album cover was a collaboration with an artist named Maihyet Burton because I had made 6 concepts for the cover and couldn't decide on one so I wanted an outside perspective. So she dressed me up after listening to my music. I decided to curtsy as thanks. She collaged the imagery together which included the animals except the Canadian geese were really bowing down like that beside me in the park. She added the gypsy wagon because I used to be in parades when I was little and my family on my French side built a beautiful wagon as a float which we would all be on and scream and shake corn kernels in containers saying welcome, welcome! (We built a private camp type summer commune that we promoted) hahaha!! Hence the gypsy wagon inspiration! Then I added the bunting flags and the titles after and incorporated that into the back album art, inside art, and insert art which I created. I photographed the zebras, bongo, nyala and kudu and deer at my friend's grandaddy's ranch in Texas hill country. That was quite an experience in itself, one I'll never forget! You can see I am petting a bongo in my "Lovely" video as well at the ranch. I had a vision years ago of trees floating in space growing out of roses blooming and I have painted the vision a few times… I did a rendition of that as well in the art and the whole album art actually tells a story like a children's book. It has no words but it's like a little inside secret of mine until now. I want to make a video to really express it how I see it in my mind.

Me: For the limited edition hard copies of your album you hand sewn sleeves and added original art on wood. How many copies did you do like this? I bet that was tiring.

Christine: I made 100 and I felt like a crazy labour of love creationist! I put love into each one though and yes, spent many hours cutting out tiny bunting flags stitching them to handmade twine, finding the right materials to make the sleeves, cut and sew the material. find the right supplies to paint trees on balsa wood and then find the right tissue to number them. I also scanned in every one of them as remembrance since it was so much work and together they make a strong statement. Now they are on almost every continent. There are still 4 left which you can purchase on my bandcamp page: The twine and some of the material fibres got into my nose so I sneezed along the way. My back hurt because I wasn't doing this in an ergonomically efficient way like I should have been. That didn't matter though because it was my gift and my celebration of thanks to the cosmos and the appreciative listeners.

Me: I have a picture here of the sleeves have sewn by you, Christine.

Me: You have a new single and video from the album. How did you choose the song "Shine My Tarnished Sheen" to be the third single?

Christine: I plan to make a video for every song and in the winter I saw a video that had been made in India by I Can Dance 2 and thought that is who I want to work on "Shine My Tarnished Sheen" because there is Eastern instruments in the song including Bansuri, Qanun, Indian Tabla Drum. I googled them then called them immediately and they loved the music so took on the project. I guess I am the second artist to outsource a video to India and so during the making the BBC interviewed me about it which was cool. I'm very happy with the end result. With this video they wanted to incorporate scenes filmed here in Canada to show the world they can create story lines to include an artist far away if they can't fly to India. I also wanted to choose a song next that is more unique from the songs I have made videos so far.

Me: What is the song about? Or Charlie Sheen. LOL. Hahaha! Hmmm... "Lovely" was written when I met a guy. And this was written after that didn't work out! It's a bit about love and loss and also about loving yourself. It's about feeling all the things one feels when alone, letting go, accepting what is, not taking things for granted, digging deep within, having faith...

Me: Ravi Naimpally plays on that track. Who is Ravi, Christine, and did play the instruments?

Christine: I met Ravi when I co-produced a jazz festival in 2002. He was performing with his band Tasa which featured Ernie Tollar on various wind instruments including ney and bansuri and Chris Gartner on bass who are also on my album. Ravi is playing the Indian Tabla drum on that tune. On iTunes I decided to say featuring Ravi since it's his one appearance on the album and I love his music. Here is his bio found in my Facebook photos: "Ravi was born in Kanpur India where his parents ran a classical music society. This gave Ravi the opportunity to listen to some of the legends of Hindustani music. These early influences led to Ravi's keen interest in studying tabla. Travelling to Mumbai every year Ravi embarked on an apprenticeship with his uncle the late Pandit Nikhil Ghosh for nearly six years. Imbibing the techniques and repertoire of the Poorab baj as well as learning the finer points of Delhi, Ajrada, and Punjab, Ravi continues his studies with Pandit Anindo Chatterjee of Kolkata. He also studies mrdangam repertoire with Trichy Sankaran. Today Ravi has accompanied many of India's finest artists including vocalist Lakshmi shankar, sarod maestro Buddadev Das Gupta, and kathak dancer Pratap Pawar. He is much in demand for his sensitive accompaniment and his rich and deeply traditional solos. Ravi is also an active educator and teaches both at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto and at York University."

Me: The video has a Bollywood feel. Where was it filmed and did you come up with the concept?

Christine: Yes, I wanted to have a Bollywood feel with some more traditional Indian dancing. It was filmed at a few locations including an ashram and a temple around Bangalore which is in Southern India. Ananth Sarella and Asha Sarella from I Can Dance 2 came up with the concept. I suggested a couple tweaks like using a pop-up book instead of a flat book. The shots with me were filmed at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Hamilton and Burlington, Canada.

Me: Did the actors and actresses know what they were being filmed for?

Christine: Yes, everyone was hired and paid as well.

Me: Are you a fan of Bollywood films?

Christine: Yes, I do enjoy watching them when I can. The first time I saw one was when I moved to college and a station had a show called Asian Horizons. I also took part in VishnuRama's during the 90s which were indie concerts mixing the East and the West along with Indian catered food, Indian dancers, Bangali Bhajan music and garage rock music from bands like Thee Gnostics, The Polyester Explosion and my first band, The Double Feature Creatures!

Me: What music and stuff do you listen to, Christine? And what films are you into?

Christine: I love many different music genres. I tend to gravitate to older music from many different era's and lots of stuff that are more rare vs mainstream. I don't have a clue what's happening in commercial top 40 music though and not having a TV makes it easier to dodge that and focus on music I do appreciate.

Me: You a very busy person, with your music, art and you also do graphic and web designing. Did you go to school for that?

Christine: Yes, I took Graphic Design and post-graduate studies in a very prestigious program in Canada where I was one of twenty accepted of thousands for 3D Animation and Interactive Design. Of course, I felt too young to just jump into my career and be an adult like everyone else which is why I picked a guitar up instead. I welcome new design work from professional, positive and ethically minded types.

Me: Is that something you enjoy?

Christine: Yes! Particularly when I work with people who are ethical and positive.

Me: So, I have to ask, what do you think about the look of the Phile? Pretty plain, right?

Christine: Sure it's plain but your focus is on making content and doing so in a very interesting and enjoyable way. I don't judge you for that but if you ever wanted me to help spice it up, that would be fun!

Me: Christine, your music is so different and deep, and complex, when you write a song what comes first, the music or the lyrics? What is harder for you to come up with?

Christine: Each case is different. Many times I sing words out to a melody and then I'll pick up the guitar and find the chords or make them up since I'm self taught. :) I think it's harder to come up with lyrics to go with an existing song. I feel the lyrics are the song when it happens. The feelings and message are more authentic that way for me.

Me: Thanks so much for being on the Phile again. Go ahead and mention your website, Christine.

Christine: Thank you! It's which points to my Facebook and I promise I'm working towards a website… I'm like a cobbler with tattered shoes when it comes to designing websites for myself! Soon though!! haha!

Me: So, will you be working on any new music?

Christine: Yes, I am going to record a song in two weeks for fun. I am writing some new music lately as well. I've been writing one in particular via Skype as a collaboration which is something I'm not used to doing as I usually write my songs alone. Also, I plan to record another album and a circus EP.

Me: Thanks again and please come back on the Phile and keep in touch. Take care.

Christine: Thanks again!! I hope your interview with Kevin goes well since you're such a big fan, you deserve that! :)

Me: So do I. Thanks again.

That about does it for another entry. Thanks to Laird Jim and of course the wonderful Christine Leakey. The Phile will be back with an extra entry this week tomorrow with singer songwriter Maxim Ludwig. Then next Sunday it's Mosey West and Monday it's Martin Belmont from Ducks Deluxe and Graham Parker and the Rumour. Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye.

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