WELCOME to the SUN - the place that fuels new creative force.
We are all called to a purpose. How we answer that call is our choice. I have chosen to follow my calling. It is a path foreign to most, frightening to others, and intriguing to some. It is a Life filled with blessings in many forms.
My Life began very independently with both parents working full time. This suited me just fine, as Nature watched over me. Birch and Poplar Trees held me in their arms; rocks tickled my feet; grassy patches wrapped me at naptime; ponds lured me in and bits of them followed me home. There was a path that led from my back yard through the forest to the front yard of 2 young Polish girls that would be my own found community for many years to come. It no wonder then, that as an adult, I would seek similar paths to and from the homes and communities of many a people and place that i love.
These travels have brought me in touch with different folk, cultures, food, art and music. There's nothing like going to the source and drinking of the well and the wealth of knowledge.
Scroll down for Albums, Projects and Awards
What do I do musically?
Call me old-fashioned, but I believe in the Alive Performance. Each song paints a place or a character that has a story to tell. I like to tell it well. I like to draw people in and surprise them with forgetting where they are for the moment. I am very fond of the use of space / silence and the subtleties of sound, and love the challenge of moving people of all ages & musical tastes.
I love the way my guitar can rock a baby to sleep, cause feet and bodies to sway or boogie, or paint the backdrop for a story. I often combine bass & rhythm on the guitar and when necessary, add in the percussion of my boots 'n bells on a wooden platform.
The voice is another instrument that carries us places. I love to explore mine as much as i love to travel new lands. Like most everyone, i sang as a child, and have dedicated myself to its craft in the past 18yrs. Constantly, i'm amazed at the new places she can go; slithering in dark dusty corners, soaring on Eagles' wings, trickling down mossy knolls; the voice, mysterious as a moth to the flame.
My performance draws on every unique character I have ever met, seen, admired or avoided. On the whole, I like a to ensue a spirit of positivity. I may visit important issues and concerns, as they are a part of Life - our realities - then I like to get on with celebrating this Life. The songs i carry are a magical melee of European gypsy, Native North American and modern Roots influences like jazz, blues, swing and bluegrass. Oh, and i have a pack of songs about animals.
I have a pet peeve. Being referred to as a singer-songwriter. Please don't ever call me that. Ever since the age of song-ownership, the music has been taken away from the People, and put into the hands of the 'professional'. Folk Music around the world means the music of the people. Everyone participates, whether it be singing along, dancing or clapping. You were born into the music…having heard and felt it from within the womb. Here in the Western World it has become something to watch, like TV. Having said that, there are those blessed with the gift of the word, and i honor them and the ability to draw landscapes that minds can wander. While i am able to squeeze out a tune now and again, that doesn't make me a songwriter any more than using a Milwaukee cordless sawsall makes me a builder.
My time spent in Eire was a pivotal point for the music i played. Until then, i was engrossing in jazz and blues, and pretty much never played in the first 3 frets of the guitar. Ireland changed all that with jigs and reels. Over the 5year period spent there, i was lucky enough to perform with a multitude of diverse acts, playing either rhythm, bass or lead guitar to ska, country 'n eastern, disco and rock-cabaret.
Donna Stjerna (Still on the Hill) once said that she considered my story-telling abilities as the stitching that binds the quilt of multiple musical genres with an infectious sense of spirit & adventure. I like that. My Nona used to knit and crochet. When she had a pile of miscellaneous yarn ends, she would combine them all into a bed or couch throw. I travel with one that was left behind when all her proper blankets were picked over. It reminds me of myself, saving little bits of things in case i may one day need them. Of course, everything's in boxes.
I've released 2 independent albums as Darlene / Darlene & Co.
A new album is in the works.
The 1st, 'Absence of Uniformity', was recorded in '99 in Los Angeles with a slew of local musician-friends who now tour the world over. It is reminiscent of my musical roots in Blues & Jazz, and has a full-band swing to it.
The 2nd album 'MOTEL DARLENE' is acoustic - oriented, with a variety of World-folk-roots music ... greatly influenced from my 5-year sojourn in Ireland. I met fiddlers and pickers, holy Folk and Gypsies. There is something magical about that land that causes all of your Being to want to shout out "I Am Alive!!! While a few tracks were recorded in Toronto and New Orleans, the bulk of it was recorded in Eire, and ranges from solo to duet to the addition of many a high-spirited, accomplished musician whom i played & performed with during my stint on the Emerald Isle. (Some of those musicians are the members of the Russian Gypsy band 'LOYKO' and Dublins 'KILA'.) .
the Road Dog Divas
I recorded and toured with a wonderful gypsy-cowgirl-cabaret group called the Road Dog Divas, and we released 2 albums: 'Everythings in Boxes' and 'Pony'. Coming from very different styles, and being very different characters made this group one of a kind.
(See Road Dog Divas)
Bring on the Dancing Bears
We all know of the talents of greats such as Shel Silverstein, Dr Seuss and the like. Well have you heard of Carrie Regenstreif? (known to some as Carrie Fest). She has written one of the most important children stories that i know of... only it's not just for children. Our pal David Wiewel got it in him to figure out some Flash, and i put a soundtrack together. The end result / animation is here.
Sweet Water Women
From 2003 i have been working with a new group very dear to my hearts' work: Sweet Water Women. We have a new album out called 'Sweet Water'. While our roots are in the Ojibwe tradition, our album contains original music of Aboriginal nature.
(See my Sweetwater Women page or the Official Website).
The Beth Ferguson Award
This award is presented annually in memory of Beth Ferguson (1953-1999.) Beth performed solo and with the a capella group, Malaika. She was widely admired for the beauty and clarity of her songs, and for communicating honestly about women's experiences through her music.
In 2002, the Ottawa Folk Festival presented Darlene with this award.
The Jackie Washington Award
In 1989 the Northern Lights Festival Borčal announced the institution of the Jackie Washinton Award. It is presented annually by Northern Lights Festival Boreal to an artist, group or individual who makes an outstanding contribution and who embodies the spirit of the festival in artistic and other endeavours. In 2003 Darlene received this award, joining other recipients such as Ian Tamblyn, Valdy, Willie P. Bennett and Erin Benjamin.
NSI Film Festival Best Film From Eastern Canada
Ontario filmmakers Carrie Regenstreif, David Wiewel and Darlene scooped the award for Best Film From Eastern Canada at the NSI National Exposure Amateur Movie Contest Final 2005 last Saturday. The contest is part of NSI FilmExchange Canadian Film Festival - Canada's largest established film festival showcasing 100% Canadian shorts and feature films.
Thanks for coming by Motel Darlene. I have a lot I'd like to share with you.
Stay awhile, have a look around. We're open 24/7. Enjoy!