NEW GLASGOW – The soulful and well-crafted lyrics of two of Canada’s most critically acclaimed songwriters will be heard live at the Celtic Circle during Music Shapes New Glasgow’s first concert of the year, April 5.
Amelia Curran is a Juno-award winning songstress nominated for another Juno this year for her album “Spectators.” Curran said she is looking forward to playing in a smaller town.
“I sort of prefer it. I think it’s just more intimate,” she said. “I know that word intimate is thrown around a lot but, it’s true and you can actually get to know your audience much better in a smaller place, and I live in a small town so I’m just happier there.”
Curran said playing at a venue like The Celtic Circle, where the performer is close to the audience can be intimidating for a songwriter because it means putting her words out there and seeing listeners’ reactions.
“It’s terrifying. It’s intimidating for sure, but it’s wonderful too. When you’re in a place where you can feel the community and communities have so much to do with the art work that’s created there… it’s just a real unity.”
Carmel Mikol, winner of the folk category in the 2010 Great American Song Contest and International Singer Songwriter Awards Song Contest, will open for Curran at the Celtic Circle. She said it’s a venue that helps her grow as a performer.
“It’s a church so it’s a huge, high ceiling and it acoustically feels spacious, but as far as the interaction you can have with the audience, it feels like a small, small venue and for me that’s a really important part of what I do because a lot of my songs are story telling or come from a pretty personal angle,” she said. “So to tell a joke and see people laugh or tell a story and see it on their faces that it’s connecting, that really helps me bring my performance to where I like to have it, which comes from a place of authenticity and sort of just being real with people. It doesn’t have to be all glittery and I want people to see that I am starting to get wrinkles, that’s OK,” she said, laughing.
Mikol grew up in rural Cape Breton, which she says has influenced her music and songwriting, even though she didn’t realize it until she was older.
“What I do in my own songwriting is influenced first of all by the narrative style of the traditional Celtic music, the oral tradition passed down in those songs and also the emphasis on melody,” she said. “I grew up hearing those really beautiful sounds, so that has been pressed upon me, the importance of melody in your story telling.”
Mikol says her style of folk music has also been influenced by 1960s and ’70s songwriters she heard on her father’s records growing up such as Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell and Gordon Lightfoot.
“So, I come from the tradition of that era of very lyric-driven story tellers,” she said. “Something needs to spark intellectually or emotionally for me to want to immediately sit down and write. For me, writing is a constant practice. I will do it even if I have no time, I’ll find time and it’s sort of a constant process. But for me to come out with a really successful piece, something has to really hit me and then be a seed for me to express a strong emotion. So, a lot of my stuff is either really emotional, sometimes from film or books or a story and then it’s often intellectual from hearing something on the news or reading it in the newspaper.”
For Curran, she says her songwriting style isn’t to start writing with an idea in mind.
“It’s almost like I’m being tricked when it happens. I very rarely, if ever, sit down with a specific idea in mind,” she said. “But I write every day and you have to write every day and usually it introduces itself to you and you sort of just go along with it.”
The two songstresses will perform at the Celtic Circle on April 5 at 8 p.m. as part of the Music Shapes New Glasgow concert series which brings acts to New Glasgow each Friday in April. To purchase tickets for Music Shapes New Glasgow, go to celticcircle.ca, glasgowsquare.com or any Ticketpro outlet.