The Sun Sets, the Tour is Over

We munch on raw ginger to ward off impending illness. It burns and makes us laugh.

An Italian woman says “Brussels is like fucking Gotham City.” She tells us to watch our wallets, there’s a lot of crime in this city. Our hostess agrees and tells us about all the times she was robbed as we drink café olés.

We sleep in a cold room, but it doesn’t bother me. Things like comfort aren’t important on tour. I’ve been able to see the good in every experience. I’ve developed an unbreakable optimism that I’m very grateful for.

Robert and I leave for my French leg of the tour.  It’s 15 degrees Celsius and we drink up the sun like thirsty travellers. We arrive in Toulouse at 5am and walk to The Persimmon House. It’s still dark out. We’re silently greeted by a friendly letter, telling us to come on in and make ourselves feel at home.

The Persimmon House is a huge home/venue that is much like a time capsule. Wallpaper from the 50s, tiles and fixtures from the 30’s, it looks and smells like my grandparent’s place and makes me feel nostalgic. I perform that night to a full house of happy, beautiful people.

We spend a few days in Toulouse and Cyril shows us around.

We head to Carcassonne, an ancient and beautiful city enveloped in a protective castle. On the walk to the venue my breath is taken away about a million times. I cannot express how beautiful this city is, IT’S SO BEAUTY FULL!!!!!

I play at a trendy-looking hotel called BLOC G. The crowd, food and hotel room are excellent. We eat the most beautiful tapas with Cyril (he came from Toulouse to watch the show!) The show goes well and I chat with people who tell me how small Carcassonne is.

Despite it’s beauty and history, we notice streets full of abandoned buildings just outside the centre. Hmmm…I dream about moving here, buying property and opening a venue…

The next day, we head to Bordeaux to a legendary venue in a medieval cellar called ‘Le Fiacre’. A man named Carlos films the show with 3d cameras. We eat, drink and are merry. The show goes well and we make lots of new friends.

We sleep for two hours and head to the airport at 7am to catch a flight to London.

In London, I feel small.Pigeons inspect me hopefully and cautiously.  Hundreds of people walk around pulling wheeled luggage. The rumbling tones vibrating on the gritty sidewalks create a luggage-wheel-orchestra emanating from every direction.

As the plane takes off, I look down at the European landscape. I see the beauty in it, but I don’t suck it up like I did before. I just look at it, I don’t want to miss it or feel it. I want it to bounce off of me.

In Montreal, things look familiar, but tired. Winter seems to have varnished the city with a layer of greyness, like someone turned the saturation dial way down, or like a poster that’s been left in the sun for too long.

I’m on my way home. The sun sets. The tour is over.

A new e.p. in the works and another European Tour this May, details coming soon…

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Intimate Thoughts- My Tour Diary

Stewardesses babble in Dutch. The seats are bright blue, the airplane smell is familiar and makes my insides squirm a little.

Am I ready to travel 21,000 km to perform 14 shows in 5 countries?

I wanted to tour Europe so badly that it’s actually happening!

But I feel dread, nervous for undertaking a tour, nerves for the performances, nerves for the days off.

This tour is a way to prove to myself that I can do it solo. I don’t want the last time I toured to be the highlight of my life. So I have to make this time better.

On my way to the first show-

The sun reflects on the black highway, making it gold.
Listening to a dead singer. Her voice deteriorated until she couldn’t sing anymore. And the hi-hat filled the space instead, like the ticking of a clock, annoying and soothing.

Expectations and murmurs.

Before I perform, I can hear people talking about Trike. I feel their nostalgia and expectations weighing on me, and I don’t know how to deal with it… I get onstage.

The show goes well! The first show is over and I feel at home already!

We take a bus through Germany, up winding paths that look like they come from a travel pamphlet.

After 2 shows, we’re joined by Jonah in Berlin. He points out that touring is performing a little and preparing a lot. Packing, unpacking, packing, unpacking and trying to remember if you’ve packed everything.

I meet old friends that hug me like mothers and smile like teenagers in love. I’ve forgotten how many familiar faces I know, until I see them again. And how wonderful familiar faces are when you’re on the road.

After a week on tour, experiences are filling me up and I’m unable to process them all. I hope to sop them up and get inspired. (I try to feel some sensation of frustration because happiness isn’t good for inspiration!)

The shows are going better than I could imagine, the crowds, the sound, the light projections…

Life is pretty good and there’s still tomorrow.

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High Times in Europe

Things go wrong on tour.  Every musician knows it, expects it and wants to avoid it.  And I hate to gush, and I hate to brag…. but Saturday night was perfect!

We played at a theatre in Darmstadt, Germany.

The show was sold out, the audience was attentive and so full of love, the sound was excellent, the atmosphere was magical and heart-expanding, the hosts Alex and Torsten were helpful, generous, lovable.  It was a perfect evening, I couldn’t have hoped or dreamed of anything better!

This is how my week went:
Tuesday- Played a secret show in Berlin during the Boddinale Film Festival after a 70 minute documentary about a schizophrenic Portuguese Poet.

Wednesday- Played a small bar run by a Canadian in Neuköln.  Crocheted pictures of horses hung on the walls.  The crowd was full of familiar faces and we danced like silly.

Thursday- Drove from big Berlin to a bar called ‘Klein Berlijn’ in the Netherlands.  We performed to a room full of chatty, drunk Dutch people.  The bartenders were smiling, happy, hyper people.  We stayed with sweet Ineke and Tom and ate Dutch things like stroopwaffels, Gouda and hagelslag.  And we met a Dutch girl who hated lots of things, especially Alexander Marcus.

Friday- Played at Extrapool in Nijmegen.  The place is majorly stylish and beautiful, with bunk-beds made of wooden boxes.

Saturday- (awesomeness at the Gute Stube.)

Sunday- Played a cool squat in Halle called La Bim with cool sound, a cool stage and stayed with two cool eastern-Germans.  We saw some communist statues and developed our stoïcness.

Monday- drove to Berlin.  Returned our rented car, nicknamed ‘Turbo Pigeon’ and started making plans for my Tiny Tour de France.

Hung out with Simon.

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Setting up in Berlin

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Gute Stube, Darmstadt

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Extrapool, Nijmegen

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Boddinale Fest, Berlin

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Photos by Robert

Berlin- Late Nights for Lost Children

Berlin- a landing pad made of late nights for lost children.  

Experiences aren’t neat and linear like in a story book, but thick and multi-layered, with different narratives all happening simultaneaously to every place you’ve been to and every person you’ve ever known.  And when you rejoin that person or city, you pick up where you left off.

Snow fell quietly over the city, covering grey with white, making dirty steps and cars and traffic lights look romantic.
Berlin can be hard, because it’s so easy.  You can eat and drink and live off a 5 euro bill for days, so you do.  The highs are so high, the lows are so low.  And last time I was here, things got pretty low.
Expecting dark feelings of being a lost child to regenerate, I watched a dark cloud come closer to me like a tide.  I braced myself.  As soon as the darkness washed over me, the cloud continued onward, leaving me feeling fine.  The buildings, the smells, the public displays of drunkeness were the same, but I was different.
I’m happy now.
“When you’re happy and you don’t know it…”
The room had bare white walls, full of chairs pointing forward, like quiet attentive pupils.
A tiny mixer, a tiny room that quickly filled up beyond capacity.
Familiar faces stood out to me like winking stars in a black sky.
Oh how I missed you!
Wonderful, receptive, beautiful friends of Berlin.
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Street Art Party!

I performed at a hashtag launch party at Casa del Popolo.
#Streetartderue wants to make a virtual library of all the street art in Montreal, so we celebrated.
It was an incredibly fun, sweaty and happy time.
If you don’t know what a hashtag is, that’s okay, here are the photos of the night:

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Tour Diary Part I: Free beer, a Dislocated Shoulder & A Cat Called Molecule

Off to the Maritimes, a magical place in Eastern Canada with giant lobsters and friendly faces, to play 6 shows in 5 cities. First, I’ll head to Halifax, to accompany The Bubble Wizard, offer him some moral support and perhaps trash his hotel room while he performs for an international festival.
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I boarded the Hogwart’s express (Via Rail) with my instruments in tow.
We sat near a woman with a shrill, nasal voice capable of penetrating every carriage on the mile-long train.
The train was comfortable, the scenery was beautiful and 26 hours later we arrived in Halifax. A thick fog blanketed the port city.

All aboard the Hogwart's Express!  choo choo!

All aboard the Hogwart’s Express! choo choo!


We were picked up and driven to a hotel.
“Is it true that people wearing gorilla masks beat up random people with baseball bats in Halifax?” I asked the driver.
“That did happen a few years ago, but the fad has since died out,” she responded.
“Oh good,” I said, “And is it true that there’s a nude skate-park in Halifax?”
“What?”
“My room-mate said there’s a skate-park that you’re not allowed to go to unless you’re fully naked,” I explained.
“Nah,” she said, “Your room-mate’s just taking the piss outta you.”
“Oh… seemed a little dangerous to me.”

I jumped on the over-sized bed in our hotel room and looked out the window at our view of roof-tops, a parking lot and a Dollarama. I felt happy.

A Flailing, Dislocated Shoulder

The Busker’s Fest in Halifax takes good care of its performers, giving them a hotel room for a week and personal drivers to take them around town and make them feel like swanky, important persons.

At the opening ceremony, which took place in a fancy-pants hotel, the Bubble Wizard filled the entrance with zillions of bubbles, which resembled multi-coloured streamers bursting into existence out of thin air.
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A hotel worker in a large suit to match his large build and large hair, loved the bubbles so much he offered us free pints of fancy-pants beer.
And thus, the rumour that Maritimers are a friendly bunch, was validated.

We watched International buskers take the stage to give brief samples of what was to come during the festival.
A crazy Australian purposefully dislocated his shoulder and squeezed his entire body, nipple-piercings and all, through a child’s squash racket.
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An even crazier Australian stretched 70 elastics around his face. I shudder even now as I upload his picture….
BAM!
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A Show in Saint John and a Cat called Molecule

I boarded the bus to Saint John and sat next to a man with a pencil-thin moustache, braided hair in a pony-tail and a thick gold-chain poking under a bright-yellow collared shirt. He filled our 7-hour journey with tales of Caribbean cooking, grilled meats, tequila rice and my stomach growled ferociously. I looked down at my miserable package of Dollarama trail-mix and forced a handful into my mouth.

The taxi-driver in Saint John was pale with graying hair and a faded cap. In fact, his whole appearance seemed faded, like a pasty-coloured poster left in the sun for too long. He drove me through the fog to a house where Jonah waited.

(I met Jonah in Montreal, where we both played at the One Man Band Fest. He told me about a festival he organizes in Maritimes, “The deadline to apply to Messtival is tonight,” he told me back in May. So I ran home, applied and got in.)

Jonah has a kind voice, a firm hug and an asymmetrical red beard. (I’m pretty sure he shaves it that way to make his face look warped.) He led me upstairs to some warm food and introduced me to Van Van: tall, thin and beautiful with tanned skin and blue eyes. Someone later in the evening compared her to the sun; everyone around her becomes a sunflower, turning and following her every move, being drawn to her happy and bright personality.

She pulled out box after box after box of sequenced, feathered, kitschy clothing, super-hero costumes and figure-skater onesies. We both couldn’t help but squeal with delight at the gems she had!

“Pick out any costumes you like and you can wear them during your set tonight,” she said. And I almost cried with joy.

Molecule the cat frolicked amongst the mountain of costumes, bewitched by the shiny, moving treasures.
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Pepper’s Pub

I performed, people danced and between every song Van Van came onstage to help me change into another one of her incredible outfits. It was my first time performing my Xania-project in a new city, so I was thrilled and relieved at the wonderful reaction from a brand-new audience.
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Next, Jonah Haché, Stephen Lewis and Marco Logik took the stage as Art>Dance>Party, pumping out some funky-delicious tunes while L made a live-painting.

I slept in a princess room at Van Van’s and the next day we set off for Fredericton.

Art>Dance>Party Sound-checking in Fredericton

Art>Dance>Party Sound-checking in Fredericton


Stay tuned for Tour Diary Part 2, where I’ll show you my special tour dress made of bubble wrap (designed by Jessilyn Leckie) coming later this week… In the meantime, you can check out my latest music video if you want to:

Gypsy: New Music Video!

Just released this brand new music video thanks to the help of so many people!

Song available at- http://xania.bandcamp.com
Filmed in Mexico & Lynda’s cottage (Special thanks to my Mexican family)
Directed by Tee Bones
Shot & Edited by Tee Bones & Xania
Animation by Xania
Singing by- Mel Romer
Chanting by- Maria Lara
Guitar by- John Keane
Written & Performed by- Xania
Thanks to Marcela, Mario, Rolando, Mayoyis, Mirna, Rene, Cesar, Dida

http://iamxania.com