Volume 91, Issue 60

Thursday, January 15, 1998

round and round


Canadian songstress is keepin' her slate Slean

By Tim Merrill
Gazette Staff

After playing her first show a little over a year ago at the C'est What club in Toronto, Sarah Slean has come a long way within the Canadian independent music scene in a very short while. Slean went from releasing her self-produced EP Universe, to playing throughout Southern Ontario and performing as an opening act for Moe Berg on his recent Ontario tour.

Despite approaching her music from an acoustic angle, Slean feels her work transcends beyond the 'Folk' tag attached to a large amount of acoustic music.

"A lot of people can compare me to people like Joni Mitchell, but it's just all about the language of music. Joni Mitchell is into playing major chords and I'm into minor. It's just about how it feels to me and how I can connect to it."

Slean is accompanied on stage by a cello, piano and drums and uses them to create a rich, stylish sound which connects with the audience on many levels.

"People think that this kind of music should only work in an intimate setting, but it really doesn't matter how many people see me play. It's just about creating this connection between you and the audience. I saw Tori Amos play at Massey Hall and you could hardly hear a pin drop. It's just all about connecting in a state of mind."

When asked about playing with Moe Berg, Slean laughs and recalls the state of events that led to playing with the lead singer of The Pursuit Of Happiness.

"Before I was in the music scene, I used to see Moe on the street and on the bus and everywhere. I was afraid he thought I was stalking him or something. He saw me play at North By Northeast [annual Toronto music festival] and told me he liked what I was doing. He said he wanted to do some work together and called up my management and I was surprised to find myself here."

In discussing the current state of women in rock, Slean feels there are women in the music industry misrepresenting the image of the modern female performer.

"There are a lot of women in music out there now who aren't coming across very well. You see this Hollywood image of feminism in a video with a women who is half naked, covered in make-up, screaming about how the world has screwed them over. From the get-go, I knew I wasn't going to have anything to do with any of that."

Through a clear and confident approach to her music, Slean looks forward to expanding her listening audience by continuing to write and perform throughout the area.

To hear her perform with her group, show up early tonight at The Whippet Lounge, as you may be pleasantly surprised by this young and talented up-and-coming Canadian artist. Those who wish to find out more information can find Slean on the Internet at: http://Psych.utoronto.ca/~stephen/tomusic/tomusic.htm.

To Contact The Arts and Entertainment Department: gazent@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1998