Warriors, I’m super excited to announce that I’m doing this second album with my badass sisterfriend, Hill Kourkoutis (The Weeknd, Serena Ryder). Hill and I have worked together for years. She’s played keys with me, she and I have co-written together for her own project – Hill & The Sky Heroes – and we wrote ‘Know My Name’ together (from RedBlack&Blue).
So here we go! This month I’m in writing mode, writing with some incredible singer/songwriters. And I got a grant to focus on writing for the next few months from Ontario Arts Council. When all the writing’s done, then back into the studio to record this baby. I’ll be documenting my journey on Instagram and Facebook.
Through music, poetry and dance, seven women weave their stories of love, heartache, violence and joy into a powerful mosaic of the experiences of African-American women. This seminal work celebrates the power of reclaiming one’s voice. Starring SATE,d’bi young anitafrika, Akosua Amo-Adem, Evangelia Kambites, Tamara Brown, Ordena Stephens-Thompson & Karen Glave.
Tune in to The Strombo Show on CBC Radio2 to catch me and the boys (fresh off the France tour), along with a huge list of great Canadian bands covering The Tragically Hip. Huge thanks to George and everyone at The Strombo Show for having us.
I’ve been home for almost 3 weeks now, and it’s taken me this long to settle into being home. But I’m home, and studying daily to brush up on my français, for the next go around (which is already in the works) France was a gracious host to me and the boys, we were fed very well and well stocked with wine. We shared the stage with cool bands and some new musician friends — Late MonKeys, Aina Roxx, Marcus Bonfanti, Archi Deep & the Monkeyshakers, Curtis Simmons Band, DeWolff, Dustaphonics and Ten Years After. And of course, had some that I’d like to share:
Wade and I arrived in France the night before the other dudes. I finally (after corresponding via InstaTwitterSkype for close to two years) met up with my badass rocker Aussie friend Dallas Frasca, Jeff and her other band dude — can’t remember his name. Anyhow, we met up by the Moulin Rouge and took a train up to the Sacré Coeur overlooking Paris.
The next day we met up with the rest of the boys, added tour manager (Piotr from Poland) and our soundman Hadrien (from Paris) and headed to Angers. We played our first show at Le Chabada to a packed room of people who’d never heard of me or my music. Way to start the tour.
Niort was our next stop, where we played Le Camji with two other bands, Archi Deep & The Monkeyshakers and Dustaphonics. Another beautiful venue and the hospitality of French is unmatched. The wine, the bread, the food. So far two days of great food? I could get used to this
Nancy Jazz Pulsations — in Nancy, FR — was one of my favourite shows on the tour. We caught Cory Henry (from Snarky Puppy) and Gregory Porter — who were both stellar, before we hit the stage. We were the afterparty. Set up in a circus tent, with hundreds of drunk rowdy rock n rollers. I had to surf that crowd. Fuck yeah.
We had our day off in Tours, FR. Hadrien took a few of us out to see the nightlife in Tours, which was like a hidden world. Picture a 14th or 15th century medevial square filled with people drinking and eating. We even found a 24 hour Pizza ATM where you basically order your pizza like you’re withdrawing money from an ATM…for real. More wine, so fucking good, it would make my daddy proud. Oooh and a few shots of banana-infused rum. Lissssen.
Next day was Cognac. We played the West Rock at 7:30pm to our first and only trepidatious crowd on the full moon. Might’ve been the full moon, my full moon or the fact that we played at 7:30pm. The venue gifted us with a litre bottle of cognac from A. de Fussigny (the cognac distillery next door to the venue), we took a shot and then went roaming the town of Cognac at night. Following an enclosed cobblestoned town within the town, we ended up at Le Coq D’Or for more drinks and then at the only bar open, Le Paddock (I think Tony’s right, there’s a Paddock in every town). Alex and I befriended a dude from Laos with whom we were practicing our drunk french and he, his drunk english. We all took turns djing some good rock n roll for the bartender, I did some push-ups in the bar with Tony on my back and then we headed back to the hotel, where we finished off the cognac under the full moon, before going to bed. Only to wake the next morning to head to A. de Fussigny for a tour of the facility and a tasting at 11am. Needless to say, we hadn’t stopped drinking cognac from the time that we started. [Fun Fact: Did you know that cognac is distilled wine matured in oak barrels?] After testing almost all of their cognacs (6 or 7?) and a jalepeno-infused vodka, we took a tour of the Hennessey headquarters. Not as much fun, but it was cool.
Been hearing that Limoges was a dreary town. We arrived late at our accomodations, so we had no real clue of the beauty that surrounded us. Woke up the next day in paradise, surrounded by green and the sound of donkeys (which I fed grass to, after my run). Dinner was wonderful before the show, and the wine too. I swear I have a whole new collection of wines that I’ll need to find at the liquor store. After dinner, before heading back to the venue, we detoured to St. Etienne’s Catherdal. These european churches aren’t a fucking joke, they’re massive! They make the ones in Toronto seem like Monopoly houses, it’s crazy. We played La Fourmi that night with another band called Curtis Simmons Band. Another great night, definitely not dreary. We headed back to our hotel for Kirt’s pre-bday celebration under the waning moon on a tiny patch of beach singing Phil Collins at the top of our lungs.
Off to Guyancourt to play with the Woodstock famous band, Ten Years After. The audience serenaded Kirt for his bday en français — was sweet. Sold a CD to my first pre-teen Warrior.
The Castle of Versailles is an incredible look into the greediness and ridculousness of kingdoms. I mean, it was amazing to see the fabrics, the decor, the hall of mirrors, the artwork, but on the flipside just thinking about the poverty that the country was facing and the pillaging of African gold to cast almost everything in gold!? Wow. It was eye-opening.
Le Havre was our second last show, great room at the Ouest Festival. We shared the stage with a band out of Netherlands, DeWolff. The food was great, the wine was great and the hotel was hilarious. The hotel’s bathroom/shower set up was a little questionable. I mean, I know conserving space is a thing, but when I have to sit on the toilet with a showerhead in hand to take a shower…it’s a little fucking weird.
Our last stop was Fuzz’Yon in La Roche Sur Yon with the Late MonKeys (who were awesome!!). Everything about this night was damn near perfect. The guy on lights, lit our shows like it was a stadium show. Fuck yeah. We ended the tour/the night by dancing our asses off at the only gay club in town. Perfection.
Can’t wait to get back, which is happening in 2017 (thanks to Ig’Loo — my booking agent). Excited as fuck, that I now have vinyl available (thanks to Cristal Records — my French label). And, I’m about play (what might be) my last show of the year with the boys, with my Montreal connection — The Damn Truth and Les Deuxluxes. If you’re into having a sexy night, blowing off some steam and grabbing rock n roll by the pussy, you really shouldn’t miss this.
Thanks for reading my adventures on Tour De Sate part One. Looking forward to seeing you all again soon!