The sky was dark, and the rain was coming down hard. If it weren’t for a good cause, I would not have gone out, but as soon as I walked into Le Fairmount for Femmes Pour Logifem, I was greeted with welcoming smiles, warm hugs and thanks from community leader Anne Bergeron and executive director Sally Richmond (Who gave a heartfelt speech about the power of community and how far Logifem has come.) And many other lovely volunteers who were all happy to be a part of such a meaningful and supportive event.
On Tuesday, September 14, Logifem hosted its 4th annual fundraiser with a concert to raise money and awareness for women in difficulty. Providing support and accommodation to vulnerable women and children for over 30 years. (The event was sponsored by DFS Architects).
Hosted by CBC’s Nantali Indongo, who set the tone with her calming presence, the mood was a mix of peace and excitement as strangers joined together to support an important cause and enjoy great music.
The first of 3 local artists to perform was Marie Hamilton, a harpist and vocalist who immediately captured our attention as soon as her fingers touched the first string of her magical instrument. The club became so still and silent that I actually heard the pshht of a beer can being opened all the way at the back of the bar. She began with a delicate lullaby and joked that she would not be offended if we dozed off. I did close my eyes, but only to allow her soothing music to wash over me. In an attempt to fill the awkward pauses between songs, Marie confessed that she hadn’t played in front of a live audience for quite a while, as she often performs for patients in long-term care facilities. This really struck a chord (pun intended) that we don’t pay enough attention to the harp, and it is the only instrument that can truly capture the feeling of heaven.
She only played three songs but ended with a very dramatic cover of Tom Waits’ “Green Grass,” which had us all gasping as she plucked passionately at her harp, accompanied by her emotionally charged vocals.
Next up was Dominique Fils-Aimee, who boldly began her set with Tracy Chapman’s “Behind The Wall.” I found myself frozen, holding my breath until she sang the very last word, and then I blurted “Wow” out loud. I’ve never heard that song being performed live before and it was quite intense as it deals with conjugal violence and is sung A Capella. Dominique’s voice was full of raw emotion and power, and she continued to entrance us, singing in both French and English.
Accompanied by her guitarist, sitting still while her elegantly expressive hands shaped the empty spaces before her, she performed a hypnotic version of her bluesy “Birds” and then left us with her unique version of “Feeling Good.” My favourite was “Old Love.”
There are some people that can change the entire energy of a large crowd with a single breath, and Beatrice Deer is one of them. With a few simple words, sharing her truth and opening her heart, she used her voice to unite us all and inspire us deeply.
Singing in English, French and her native Inuktitut, Beatrice’s voice ranged from tender to ferocious. I really appreciated her true confessions about overcoming depression and alcoholism. Stating;
“I will not be ashamed because I have scars.”
Her song choices all fit perfectly with the theme of the evening.“Free” and “Sunauvva” and the uplifting “Immutaa” which got the crowd dancing.
I enjoyed every single track, from the haunting “Cannibal” to the bluesy/country “1997” and the passionate “My All To You.”
With courage and humour, Beatrice shared stories about her ancestors, their trauma and finding strength, looking forward.
Her band was incredible. The guitar work in ”History” blew me away. If you ever have the chance to see her perform live, please don’t miss it.
After the show, I stopped to thank concert organizer Naghmeh Shafiei for inviting me. She was having a conversation with Nantali who suggested that next year’s show should be like “Lilith Fair.” “Yesss!” I interjected “count me in!” I believe we need more concerts featuring women (or non-binary if you prefer). It felt really good to be part of such an inclusive and caring community. Femmes Pour Logifem is a safe space where voices are heard and celebrated through the healing power of music.
In the words of the mighty Lizzo, it’s “About Damn Time.”
You can still donate, become a volunteer or get a really cool T-shirt by Patricia Rotschild Design printed by Fred David
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