Big voices coming to Okotoks church
By: Tammy Rollie
| Posted: Wednesday, Jan 16, 2013 10:33 am
Big voices are expected to raise the roof in an Okotoks church this weekend.
A Room Full of Sound Concert Series is bringing Mariel Buckley, Minerva and The Travelling Mabels to the Okotoks United Church on Jan. 19 at 7 p.m.
The folk/country trio known as The Travelling Mabels brings a wealth experience to the stage representing three generations of women and influences ranging from The Eagles to Sheryl Crow.
Eva Levesque of Longview caters to a more senior crowd with her ’60s folk influences and life experience she weaves into her lyrics.
Many of The Travelling Mabels’ songs are about empowerment and expanding one’s horizons, encouraging listeners to embrace life and love themselves, said Levesque.
“It makes them say to themselves, ‘I know exactly where she is coming from,’” she said. “We try to keep it upbeat and keep the message good and clean.”
Levesque’s daughter and the band’s bassist Suzanne Levesque, the youngest member of The Travelling Mabels, brings a more poppy bluesy sound while acoustic guitarist Lana Floen, whose husband Keith plays the keyboard, brings a more country style, said Levesque.
“Suzanne’s songs are young and hip while Lana’s are smooth and sometimes sad,” she said.
Calgary’s Minerva will bring a mixture of jazz and folk to the church stage.
Vocalist, guitarist and pianist Leela Aheer and vocalist and pianist Lauren Ireland are known for their captivating harmonies when together onstage.
“We generally put songs together with so much harmony that in the end we have to scale them back,” said Ireland. “We can bog the brain and ears with all kinds of harmony.”
Ireland said their unique sound comes from different musical backgrounds. Both have degrees in opera, but Ireland’s background is in jazz while Aheer is more eclectic with influences ranging from Spanish to Indian.
The combination results a unique sound, said Aheer.
“We are always weaving into each other which really gives us an unpredictable feel,” she said. “There is no lead singer in our band. We are very equal.”
The vocal teachers also perform cover songs, adding their unique vocals to the likes of Lady Gaga and Beyoncé.
“We always end up turning it into something Minervish,” said Ireland. “Our cover songs are nothing like the original song.”
The duo met when Aheer’s former band was performing at an anniversary party and the lyrics of one of her songs struck Ireland, who was just going through a breakup with her boyfriend.
“She was singing the song so beautifully,” she said. “It was the first time music ever made me cry. I said, ‘You took the words right out of my mouth. Who wrote that song?’ She said, ‘I did.’”
When Aheer learned Ireland was also a singer, she was brought up on stage to perform with her band and Aheer was struck with what she heard.
“I was like, this girl needs to come and sing in our group,” she said. “I was blown away by her voice. We have not been apart since then. It was meant to be.”
Ireland said Aheer has been an incredible mentor and influence in her life and the level of respect they have for each other often comes out in their music.
While fame could be around the corner for the duo, Ireland said that is not their plan.
“We are not in it to get famous or to make a ton of money,” she said. “We just do it because we love it. Whatever comes of it is just a blessing.”
Mariel Buckley, an emerging singer/songwriter on the Calgary folk music scene, will also be on stage with her edgy and intimate folk and country style.
A Room Full of Sound concert promoter Rick Harding said he is excited about the caliber of performers at this weekend’s concert.
“They all have beautiful singing voices, very strong voices,” he said.
Harding said The Travelling Mabels were the opening act for the concert series’ first concert, they have played at their annual Christmas concert and have a strong following in the area.
Mariel Buckley has played for the series a couple of times including the Christmas concert the past three years and Minerva is making its series debut.
“Last winter they were playing at a lounge in Calgary and they were pretty impressive,” he said. “They have beautiful voices, these two ladies, and their harmonies are just amazing.”
Harding said Minerva and Mariel Buckley will bring a folk sound while The Travelling Mabels will cross the boundaries with folk, country and blues.
Tickets to see the Travelling Mabels, Minerva and Mariel Buckley at the Okotoks United Church can be purchased online at www.aroomfullofsound.com for $26 or at the door for $25. Tickets for children ages 12 and under cost $10.