Mother Nature on the Run

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Mother Nature on the Run

My heart was breaking for the river.  My heart was breaking for every bird, animal, fish and bug that was suffering.  I was angry to learn that our provincial government pulled the funding to monitor pipelines one month before the spill and I was angry that the pipeline was leaking for 14 hours before anything was done. What can I do?  Cry.  Post a few things on Facebook voicing my concern.  Write this blog.  What I wanted to do is march up to our leaders door and tell them that NO, this is not acceptable.  Instead I was heading to northern Manitoba to play at a festival with Rosie & the Riveters.  I felt better to know that there were others who felt the same way I did, who were rallying at the Provincial Legislature.  I asked the girls if we could perform the song Le Grand Gosier at our performance that weekend.  The song paints a picture of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  In Louisianna French, the translation is:  “The sky is red, the sea is black, the great pelican is covered in oil.  You would have to be there to see it with your own eyes to realize the devastation.”  We performed the song with a dedication to the North Saskatchewan River.  Perhaps the oil spill in Saskatchewan is small compared to others, but if this is considered acceptable pollution of our home to those in power, I wonder how far will they let it go before it’s too late?  Will there be anything left for our children and grandchildren?

 

In Rosie & the Riveters we choose songs that are meaningful, bring joy, but also have important messages such as environmental issues.  Well, Well, Well, a song by Bob Dylan, After the Gold Rush by Neil Young, Le Grand Gosier by Rocky McKeon, and Watching the Water Rise written by us, are all part of our repertoire.  The songs all deliver a message of a warning that if we continue down this path of destruction and greed, there will be nothing left.  Singing these songs is our way of reaching out and spreading the message of environmentalism.  

 

Our water systems are all connected.  Saskatchewan has over 100,000 lakes and rivers and streams.  Fresh water is being polluted and depleted at an alarming rate.  Everything you put down your drain ends up in our water system.  You can help in so many ways.  One is switching to biodegradable eco friendly soaps and shampoos, free of phosphates, sulphates, parabens, and microbeads, if you haven’t already.  You can say NO to pipelines and demand cleaner sources of energy such as wind and solar.  We deserve better.  Take a look at all the countries who are leading the way.  

 

I know sometimes it’s easier to not think about it.  Avoiding the news, because it’s depressing.  However there comes a time when a person realizes no one else is going to stand up and make these changes for you.  For me, its like I’m screaming inside and I can no longer hold it in.  I will outwardly speak my mind, I will stand up for Mother Earth, I will not tolerate it’s destruction.  

 

In August 2016 we celebrate the 100th anniversary of women winning the right to vote in Saskatchewan.  Do you think those women got us there by sitting silently waiting for something to happen?  No!  They fought for that right, and worked hard against those in power to make it happen.  Let’s break the silence and follow in their footsteps.  We are not helpless.

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Fan mail

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Fan mail

Whenever I get the post-tour blues, I remember our fans...whom I love. So very much! I appreciate how they are so generous with their enthusiasm, kind words, heart-felt comments. It really brightens my heart when I scroll down our Facebook page and read things like:

"Saw your show tonight in Calgary. You four are unique, amazing, entertaining. Come again!!!"
"I can't even put into words how I much I loved every moment of your show tonight! You ladies are absolutely amazing! I can't wait for the next show:)"
"Wow where have you ladies been hiding? So impressive.. and those harmonies.... wow..Would love to see you perform live. Great show ladies,, just spectacular...."

They also share such interesting stories, links, articles and other things that I love to learn about. One fan event sent me a book in the mail about Rosie the Riveter! 

Fan mail!

The latest was a share about "Rosies of the North" an National Film Board documentary about women from Thunder Bay and the Prairies that baked cakes, raised families and built world-class fighter planes! Check it out:

Rosies of the North : a NFB documentary!

Rosies of the North : a NFB documentary!

Keep'em coming! Especially the learning stuff - I really enjoy it! 

Bisoux,

 

Alexis 

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I couldn't look the princess in the eye (when we met her last week)

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I couldn't look the princess in the eye (when we met her last week)

Last week Rosie & the Riveters performed for members of the Royal family (Prince Edward and Princess Sophie - the Queen's youngest son and wife). My genetics were very pleased.

My mother and her family immigrated to Canada in the 60's so, of course, my training to have lunch with the Queen started from birth. As a kid, I often heard:  "If you don't know how to (insert important dining knowledge here), what ever will you do if you're invited to lunch with the Queen?".

My family is "eccentric"  and not proper - still - they tried their best to educate me should this moment ever arrive.

Performing for the Lieutenant Governor, Prince Andrew & Princess Sophie!

Performing for the Lieutenant Governor, Prince Andrew & Princess Sophie!

And here was my chance - the moment (or close to it), that I had been preparing for my whole life. While the Riveters were deep in the dungeon of the servants quarters putting on our outfits, I got nervous.

It occurred to me that our show is definitely NOT proper or ladylike in the traditional sense. I thought: Maybe we're a bit much. Maybe we should pull it back a bit - Something more suited for the Queens' lunch my mother prepared me for.

I said to the band:

"Maybe we should change our show? Make it a bit more proper" aka... less silly dancing, mouth trumpet battles and off colour jokes about nudity.

Alexis, adjusting her lipstick, pipped up and said "No, they hired our show, lets give them OUR show".

Melissa and Allyson agreed wholeheartedly. 

Eeek!! I guess we'll go out there and be ourselves I thought. Terrifying.

It was decided I would tell the confidence story. If you've ever heard it you know that it involves a bit of nudity. To deliver it well though...I couldn't hide. I had to be myself...the totally "not proper" self that I really am.

When we got on stage, I couldn't even look the Princess in the eye. I just smiled and looked passed everyones heads. I guessed that she probably had her pleasant face on - the one I imagine you HAVE to have when your whole life is attending luncheons with performances like this across the world.

We got to the part with the confidence story..... luckily, I wasn't alone. 3 beautiful ladies stood beside me and held space for us to be the weirdos we are.

I milked it with all the pause and ridiculousness I could.

The room exploded in laughter! Prince, Princess and all the Majors and Generals. They all loved the story. Then we proceeded to silly dance and mouth trumpet our way into their hearts.

YES!!! You can watch the video here if you like.

Now I look back sooooo proud we took that risk.

To really be us.

To really be me.

Weirdos and all.

I know that we all hold back. We all have moments when we doubt that being ourselves is a good idea. That's why we all need other women to stand beside and whisper (go for it girl!). If you don't have your own Riveters, know that we are routing for you and maybe try and hold space for someone else to be their awesome weird selves.

Oh hello, your Royal Highnesses, how lovely to meet you!

Oh hello, your Royal Highnesses, how lovely to meet you!

Dresses to impress in Royal Red! 

Dresses to impress in Royal Red! 

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Don't Be Afraid: Love for Orlando

It feels like almost every week we hear of yet another mass shooting in the US. Last weekend was no different when we woke up on Sunday morning to hear of the attack and hostage taking in Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, where 49 people lost their lives and 53 others were wounded. Except this time it was different because Pulse had a primarily gay clientele and was seen as a refuge for gay members of the Latinx community. Right now it feels impossible to feel anything other than deep sadness for the victims of this attack, but also for the larger LGBTQ2 community, who already may not feel safe, welcome, or included in their home communities. 

In 2014, I was commissioned by the Kokopelli Choir Association in Edmonton to write a song in support of Scott Jones, a musician and choral conductor my own age who survived a senseless and violent attack that left him in a wheelchair. In response to this attack, Scott started Don’t Be Afraid, an awareness campaign against homophobia and transphobia, which has already reached an incredible amount of people from all over the world.

In the days following the Orlando shooting, Scott had this to say: “Every time I transfer in and out of my wheelchair, every time I catheterize, every time I dress myself, every time I use my shower chair, every time I wheel myself around town, I think about how my life is different because of the silence- because of the lack of conversation that preceded my attack. I remember feeling hopeful after my attack, because the wider community was finally having a conversation about homophobia in small town Nova Scotia. The community support was incredible. But over time, the conversation with the wider community died down. Let's not let the conversation die down this time!”

Since writing the song, also called “Don’t Be Afraid” (arr. Jen McMillan), it has been performed by choirs from the Maritimes to BC and all the way down to Texas, been purchased by over 450 choirs around the world, and most recently was performed by students of Canterbury High School in Ottawa in support of the victims of the Orlando shooting

In any time of change in your life, hasn't there always been music?  Any joy, celebration, or time of sadness, it feels like music is something that we turn to to express our feelings or to find some sort of healing or hope.  Music is a powerful way to send messages of acceptance, support, and love to our friends in the larger LGBTQ2 community and I hope the words of this song help to bring comfort and peace to those who are suffering right now.  

 

Allyson xo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Heartfelt thanks to our fans!

Fans are among my favorite people in the music industry to meet. Most often, they are people who are oh-so excited to speak with us while we sign their CDs. Their enthusiasm is a delight, their smiles warm my heart and their comments are so uplifting. It is SUCH a delight to meet people who genuinely love what we do – so much so, they even dress up to come to our show! 

Roblin, Manitoba. April 2015

Roblin, Manitoba. April 2015

Kinosee Lake, SK. April 2015.

Kinosee Lake, SK. April 2015.

London, Ontario. October 2015

London, Ontario. October 2015

These kiddos were all dolled up for our most recent show in Regina! What sweethearts! April 2016

These kiddos were all dolled up for our most recent show in Regina! What sweethearts! April 2016

She even dressed to match : navy! Fernie, April 2016

She even dressed to match : navy! Fernie, April 2016

As a band, our mission is to uplift our audiences so we strive to convey positive messages that speak to the power of collaboration. When I meet our fans and engage with them, it makes all the hard work we put into the band worth it for me. It’s great to make music with my fellow Riveter friends, but I feel a greater point to it all when someone appreciative is on the receiving end.

Thank you for your precious support! Thanks for listening to our music, coming out to our shows, watching our goofy videos and being such an integral part of the magic.

 

Bisoux,

 

 

Alexis 

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Go On Mama, a live off the floor video

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Go On Mama, a live off the floor video

After my grandmother died, whenever I would get ready for a Riveter show I would get teary eyed and emotional.

Our outfits, my hair and lips, they all reminded me of her youth and the fact that she wasn't on this earthly plane any longer.

I wrote this song as part of my journey while she was on her journey.

 

 

 

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Colourful Confidence

When I sat down to write songs for our album, Good Clean Fun, I wanted to write music that made me happy.  Rosie & the Riveters’ music is fun, charming, and if it doesn’t make you want to dance, you’ll at least leave our show tapping your toes and smiling!

Red Dress is a song that I initially wrote about my love of dancing and thrift store shopping, but really, it’s become about so much more. When I think about the lyrics to Red Dress, I’m not just singing about finding a great dress at the Sally Ann; it’s more about wearing something that you love and the beauty of the confidence that shines through when you feel good about yourself.

A couple of years ago, a good friend of mine sat me down and had a “colour-vention” – her version of an intervention about how I didn’t have much colour in my wardrobe and what a shame that was.  And she was RIGHT.  When I really thought about it, I realized I barely had any colour in my wardrobe because I seriously lacked self-confidence.  I was SO worried about what everyone thought of me that I didn’t want to draw attention to myself in any way.  What a HUGE waste of my time & energy!

Fast-forward a couple of years (I’ll skip aaaallll the personal growth & travel epiphanies, etc.) to present day.   For me, wearing a bright & colourful dress is one of the biggest ways I know I’ve changed for the better.  Does everybody need to wear a red dress to feel confident?  No.  But everyone deserves to feel confident and beautiful in who they are, and if that means wearing a red dress then I say go for it!

Allyson xo

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Spring is buzzing with bees!

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Spring is buzzing with bees!

The bees are out!  Spring is here and the bees are out exploring, looking for any signs of early willow buds to tide them over until the flowers bloom.  Bees are so very fascinating, and so crucial to our very existence.  I started beekeeping last summer, and to commemorate the beginning of my new adventure I wrote the song "Honey Bee" which is featured on Rosie and the Riveters album, Good Clean Fun!  

Here I am moving the bees into their new home last summer. Great outfit right!?

Here I am moving the bees into their new home last summer. Great outfit right!?

Awareness of the growing problem of bee mortality is on the rise.  I am seeing a tonne of articles and initiatives to promote safe bee spaces.  That is something to celebrate!  A community-based effort is what is needed to create small backyard bee sanctuaries in order for the bees to survive.  Why not plant some flowers for the bees this summer!  I am planting 800 square feet of wildflowers this summer, for the bees, but also for my own enjoyment!  I like to call it my happy place.  You do not have to plant 800 square feet, especially if you live in the city.  A small space in your yard dedicated to bee-friendly plants could be very helpful.  To learn more and even receive a package of free flower seeds visit http://www.beesmatter.ca

Also be sure to check out Lori Weidenhammer's book, Victory Gardens for Bees.

And now for your listening pleasure, here is Rosie and the Riveters performing "Honey Bee" with a full band!  This video is from our sold out Broadway Theatre concert in October, 2015.

Enjoy,

and don't forget to plant some flowers!

xo

Melissa

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Why being in a band is like being in a relationship

I’m not going to lie: I’m still getting over the monsoon that the last few months have been for Rosie & the Riveters. October’15 was a crazy month for all of us: we enjoyed the success of sold-out album release shows, touring with a 4-month old baby, giving interviews, making appearances on t.v., radio…and hearing our music on the radio doesn’t really get old. It’s all so Riveting! And sometimes it’s too much to handle alone.

There is an emotional release (and fatigue!) that inevitably follows a return from tour. Normally, I can remedy this release after a day or two of watching a good series on Netflix with a side of popped corn and the occasional glass of red wine (okay, I admit, I’ll also order pizza!). Recently, it’s been different. I’m still not over it. I’m still not landed and haven’t been able to get back to my daily grind. And another tour is just around the bend! It can be overwhelming.

I’m so thankful that the Riveters are such great gals, business partners, bandmates and most of all, such wonderful friends. I feel so very fortunate to be in this band: we have great communication, we are respectful of each others’ needs, personalities and give each other the time and space needed to be ourselves. And when the going gets tough, we understand and support each other.

We often joke saying that being in a band is like being in a relationship. Laughs aside, there is a lot of truth to that statement: ours is a partnership that goes beyond friendship, trust and cooperation. I can’t ask for better business partners and friends!

Farideh is my model of encouragement, understanding and warm heartedness.

 

Melissa is my model of practicality, creativity and thinking outside of the box.

Allyson is my model of spontaneity, whimsy and compassion.

...and I love them all :)

 

Bisoux,

 

 

Alexis 

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Lullabies on the Road

Hanging in the Toronto airport for our 6 hour layover. P was so stoked about the trip she decided to go 12 hours without napping.

Hanging in the Toronto airport for our 6 hour layover. P was so stoked about the trip she decided to go 12 hours without napping.

 

We continue to tour with my wee one. Baby P has been across Canada and into the States.

Whenever we fly the stewardess asks "Is this her first flight?', oh no, P has probably flown more than half the passengers on the flight.

P prefers touring to regular driving around town. That is because she is thoroughly entertained by 3 Riveters sitting in the back with her.

She demands regular concerts! We sing to her whenever it's time for a nap. So much so that we start learning our lullabies in 4 part harmony to keep it interesting. As soon as we stop, P pipes up to say AGAIN! And we roll the song again.

Some of P's favourite lullabies include: Baby Beluga (now known as Baby Paulina) and an old song Melissa taught us called "Lonely Little Petunia" which is about a flower growing in an onion patch.

Here's a little video of what it's like:

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