Monday, November 13, 2017

Featured Filkers #7: Urban Tapestry

Let's take a trip back to Ontario for a moment. As filkers would say in circle, "And now for more Canadian content." We've already heard beautiful Celtic tunes by Heather Dale, but there's a ton of great Canadian filk out there. Today's Featured Filkers form a trio whose songs range from whimsical to mournful to just plain inspiring. They're called Urban Tapestry, and everything they weave has their own unique brand of class.

Photo collage provided by featured artist.

Urban Tapestry is Jodi Krangle, Allison Durno, and Debbie Ohi. Jodi is no stranger to professional vocal work. A voice-over artist by trade, she has experience narrating for Slice Network and HGTV, and came out with her own jazz album in 2015. Her alto voice is truly something to hear, and her song "The Lady" won a Pegasus Award for Best Filk Song in 2004. She is a force to be reckoned with. Allison Durno has been making music for at least twenty years, and probably longer, if my Googling is any indication. She grounds Urban Tapestry with her excellent guitar-playing. Debbie Ohi is a talented flutist, and her contributions to the band give their music a special depth. Witness them in action here, playing a classic filk song by Lloyd Landa titled "I Am Stardust."

All three women are vocalists, often in haunting close harmony, and it makes their sound that much richer. An example is their tribute to the magic of reading, "Another Story." They put close harmony to effective use in songs with much lighter moods, too. Two of these, "My Jalapeno Man" and "Sex and Chocolate," were nominated for Pegasus Awards, and the former won in its category of Best Food/Drink Song. Urban Tapestry is skilled at taking masterful tunes and making them silly when they want to. They're also good at acting silly when they want to.

Photo by Dave Weingart.

Jodi, Allison, and Debbie are also all experienced songwriters, and compositions from each of them are included in their albums and live performances. "My Jalapeno Man" was one of Debbie's creations. Another of her fun songs has been adopted as a yearly tradition in song circles at FilkOntario (FKO), a convention in Toronto much like the Ohio Valley Filk Festival (OVFF). The song is called, appropriately, "Home to FilkOntario," and their performance at FKO can be seen below.


As you can see, their styles and subjects are all over the place in a very good way. There are plenty of space songs to go 'round, from the faster-paced "Starsoul" (which also won a Pegasus Award for Best Exploration Song) to the slow, somber beauty of "The Ancient Yearning." There's lots of general humor, as evidenced by their a cappella ditty about the BFF kind of true friendship, and more specific fan-based humor, like this love song to Captain Jean-Luc Picard. There are songs about books, songs about TV shows, songs about online dating or bad credit . . . all sorts of glorious stuff.

Photo by Walter Korynkiewicz.

If you're ready to hear more, or to own a piece of this highly enjoyable repertoire, they have a store on CD Baby. All three of their albums are available for purchase there. Want more general info? Go to their website. You might have to do a bit of digging for the latest news, but it's worth it, and they do have a convenient search function that helps in this endeavor. Did I mention they have a mockumentary? It looks hilarious, and it's only available on DVD. So go ahead, give Canada some love. Treat yourself. It's a good deal.


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