B.C. Tour

Countermeasure recently announced a B.C. Tour! It'll be our first time out to the west coast. I'm extra excited because I have a lot of family out there that I haven't seen in awhile, and who haven't seen me perform.

Our dates are as follows:

March 11 - Vancouver
March 12 - White Rock
March 14 - Nanaimo
March 15 - Sidney
March 17 - North Vancouver
March 18 - North Vancouver

For show locations, times, details, and ticket info, check out our (brand new!) website.

It's always a great time, touring with these folks. :)

Marla

Crank It Counter-Krokwise

Countermeasure was busy over the holidays with little caroling gigs and benefit concerts, but it's been awhile since we've had a show longer than a couple of songs. 

With that, I present:

Crank It Poster.jpg

This Sunday, a double-bill with the Harvard Krokodiloes who are here on tour. The show's at 3030, a bar in the Junction where Countermeasure's sound guy, Chris Poole, is the resident audio technician, so we'll have home field advantage! Should be a good show. You can buy tickets here. Hope to see you!

Marla

European Tour

First of all, Merry Christmas! I'm having a nice lazy Christmas this year so I thought it would be a good time to talk a little bit about the tour that Countermeasure went on this past summer. It was an incredible experience, one I'll never forget.

We left at the end of July and flew to London, England, where we spent about four days and performed a few shows. That was an exciting weekend - seeing the tour kick off, performing in new venues every day, putting our feelers out to see whether European audiences would like us as much as they did when we were there the previous year (they did). After that weekend we boarded a bus to Edinburgh, taking in the beautiful English countryside.

We stayed in Edinburgh for three weeks, and it's one of my favourite cities I've ever been to. It really started to feel like home. The point of the trip was to perform at Edinburgh Fringe - we did 14 hour-long shows in total, plus several promotional shows of a handful of songs around the city. It was really a fantastic experience - never before have we had the chance to take multiple runs at the same show in such a condensed period of time, and was really incredible to see how much it solidified our skills. Our show enjoyed an unexpected amount of attention and traffic, considering it was a first-time show in the Fringe. It was pretty thrilling. You can read some of the reviews here and here.

After Edinburgh, we headed to Italy for a week. This was kind of the 'vacation' part of the trip - we had several days off before Vocalmente, the vocal festival in Fossano which was the reason for this stop. Italy is beautiful, but I have to say I never felt quite at home as I did in Edinburgh. But I enjoyed the heat more than the cool rainy Scottish weather!

Our involvement in Vocalmente mostly consisted of taking part in the Swingles Camp, a series of workshops put on by our friends the Swingles. But we also opened the festival in a double-bill with local group VoXes, in one of the most incredible concerts I've ever sung in my life. We were singing in the moat of the gigantic medieval castle in the middle of Fossano, for probably close to a thousand locals, who gave us one of the warmest receptions we've ever seen, including a double encore. What a night!

After a month away it was a bit of a drag to return to regular working life, but it was also nice to be home. It was an amazing tour, with success far beyond our expectations. It'll be hard to top that in the future (but, I always say that with each new thing Countermeasure does, and somehow it always happens)!

Marla

Hello again!

It came to my attention I haven't updated this since July....

Some things have happened since then, mostly Countermeasure things - our official album release, our European tour. Once I'm on holidays I'll have lots of time so I'll update about these events!

Then creative projects got put on hold for a bit for the moving process and then a busy patch at work. But over the holidays and in the new year I should have some more time, and I've got various projects on the go - a short story, two songs, new ukulele videos, more photos. Hopefully I can get back on regular updates!

Until next time, which will be a lot sooner than the last time,

Marla

Made to Measure

Countermeasure has finally finished our second full-length album, Made to Measure. I listed to it for the first time a couple of days ago and I've had it on repeat since. I'm incredibly proud of this project and I can't wait to hear what people think of it.

We're having a release concert in a week, July 14, at Harbourfront Centre. It should be a good show, and it's also the warmup for our tour (we leave in three weeks! Ack!) More about that later.

For tickets, click here. For a little preview video, click here.

Can't wait! :)

Marla

#TodaysLake

I had an idea last year as I was riding to work more often than not. I ride along the waterfront and I'm always astounded by how different the lake is, every single day. It's always beautiful but depending on the sun, clouds, time of day, wind, wildlife, etc. it always presents a new picture.

Once I started riding this year, I decided to stop every day and take a picture of the lake as it was on that particular day, and tag it on Instagram as #TodaysLake. It seems that Instagram doesn't have a way of searching instances of a hashtag by a specific person, so I may think about porting them to another platform so they're more easily searchable, but you can browse through my Instagram account (which is largely #TodaysLake photos, lately) here.

Here are a couple of my favourites so far:

April 13

May 2

Hope you enjoy!

Marla

Ukulele Adventures

As mentioned in my last post, I got a ukulele! Hooray! It's a little baby soprano one. I already play guitar to some degree, so it hasn't been too much of a stretch to apply that knowledge to my uke. Lots of fun. I've played more ukulele in the last week and a half than I've played guitar in years.

To be more accurate, Sam gave me the ukulele since I'd been playing his tenor uke a lot. So what else could we do now that there were two of us and two ukuleles? Make a cheesy uke duet video, of course!

More adventures to come, I'm sure. Enjoy!

Marla

Coming Up

It's been awhile since I posted. It's hard to keep these things up to date, isn't it?

I've been bouncing around between different projects and thus haven't really had anything worthy of posting lately. Did some editing on my novel - someday I'll do more with that - considered various ideas for new music to write, etc. But I should have some post-worthy material soon! I just got a ukulele last weekend and I've been playing it a lot, and hopefully will have a video to post soon. I've also been dragging my camera around in an attempt to take more photos so there should be some of those to put up, too.

In the meantime, Countermeasure has been the most exciting thing happening. We had a few shows lately that went over well, and we're working hard putting together material for our second album and our tour this summer. We're probably two-thirds of the way through tracking Made to Measure, and I'm really excited about it. We'll be releasing it this summer, probably June or July.

Our tour in August is beginning to seem like a reality, too. We'll start in London, England for a few days and do a few concerts there; then we're off to Edinburgh Fringe for a whopping three weeks and 18 shows; and then to Itally for the Vocalmente festival and a few more shows. We'll be gone for an entire month! Exciting. We've been working on polishing our show, complete with choreography and everything.

We'll surely be presenting our final show before we leave sometime, and also have a CD release party (those two might be the same thing), so stay tuned for that. We'll also be opening for Naturally 7 in May, which will be awesome! More about that later.

Marla

Beethoven

Having neglected my piano for too long and finding myself with more free time than usual, I decided a little while ago to start the non-trivial process of reading through all of Beethoven's piano sonatas. I'm not doing them in order, so much - I have book  1 of 3 at work and book 2 at home, so I'm jumping back and forth in time a bit.

In the process I've come across a few interesting thoughts:

For one, I find that Chopin (my usual favourite to sight-read) is a much better writer for piano. No matter what crazy chords he throws in there, they more often fit the hand comfortably. Beethoven, I find, was more concerned with form and structure, but less concerned with making things playable. (Part of this, of course, has to do with me being out of practice, but often my hands simply aren't big enough to play a part as it is supposed to be played - which often leads to cheating with pedal - blasphemy!)

Second, I knew that finger agility and control deteriorate when not practicing, but I hadn't realized that sight-reading does as well. Sight-reading was always a big strength of mine, but I was a little dismayed when I started at how many easy mistakes I was making. This has been slowly getting better as I've been going through, but I should really make a point of reading more often.

Third, I'm finding a renewed appreciation for Beethoven's genius. Despite the playability issues, Beethoven certainly redefined the form of the sonata. It's so interesting to see him as a halfway point between something like Mozart - almost always predictable and formulaic - and a Romantic composer: playing with themes in unconventional ways, throwing in surprises here and there, and at times very deliberately departing from the template of a typical sonata.

I'm not sure if I'll finish the entire sonata repertoire, since I remember that the later sonatas get a little weird (therefore less fun to read) and it's December so there's all sorts of Christmas music to play. But it's been an enlightening exercise in the meantime, for sure.

Marla

The Mississauga Festival Choir

I was recently asked to arrange some songs for the Mississauga Festival Choir's Christmas concert. Their guest artists are The Barra MacNeils and the choir is to sing some songs with the band, and my job is to write the choir parts.

It's looking to be a pretty fun concert! The choir gets better every year and the Barra MacNeils are a rousing east coast band. You can find more info and tickets here.

Marla

Sewing Class

I haven't been working on some of my other creative projects for awhile because I've been pouring my creative energy into my Sewing Basics class at the Sewing Junction.

Here are our three projects! The first was an infinity scarf, which I made out of a shimmery silver fabric. For the second project we made cloth napkins with mitred corners. And the last was a toiletry bag made of canvas with an exposed zipper. I'm very proud of all of them!

I would highly recommend the Sewing Junction if you're at all interested in sewing! They have a wide variety of classes - basic learn-to-sew classes, learning to do alterations, more advanced class, workshops for specific projects. And Clara is a fantastic and patient teacher. Get sewing! :)

Marla

Reunion of Giants

Over the last couple of weeks at work we've been working on a documentary called Reunion of Giants. It tells the story of the last two airworthy Avro Lancaster bombers, one Canadian and one British, reuniting and flying together. 

The film will be playing in select Cineplex theatres and will be available at the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum in Hamilton, which is where the Canadian Lancaster lives. 

It was a fun change of pace from our usual TV shows! Check out the the trailer:

Enjoy!

Marla

New photoshoot!

For the first time in years, I have new modelling photos to share!

A few weeks ago I did a photoshoot with Scott Murdoch of Five by Five Photography, and he sent me the pictures the other day. I'm thrilled with them! I've uploaded a few to my Modelling page, but I'll post some of my favourites here.

My dear friend Elana Steingart was gracious enough to do my makeup for the shoot, and she did a fantastic job.

Hope you enjoy!

Marla



Workflow

All summer I've been working hard on The Amazing Race Canada, which is very rewarding but takes a lot of time. We've also been working on Custom Built and shortly we'll be starting a new show called Sugar Showdown. But we'll be done Race by mid-month, and while it's always fun to work on I can't say won't be happy to have some more spare time!

It's also really cool to work on something and watch the public react to it. On Wednesday nights, Twitter is buzzing with activity about the latest episode of Race, and it's a good feeling knowing that I helped to contribute to that.

Since I've been so busy with work I haven't had much time to work on anything new, but here are a few pictures that I took recently that I like.

Cheers!

Marla