Hot off the griddle! Here is my latest video for my song, The Marching Song. You can listen to this tune and my full album, Tapping Trees in a Trinket Box of Treasure either through iTunes or http://christineleakey.bandcamp.com
The ARP 2600 is yet another fabulous analog keyboard featured on Tapping Trees in a Trinket Box of Treasure and performed by my very talented friend, Maurizio Guarini from the band Goblin on my track, The Day My Flower Died. He just released a solo album entitled Creatures from a Drawer that I recommend you check out!
Maurizio asked if I it would be fine to play a midi version but I said no, to please play the authentic ARP 2600. So he turned it on, warmed it up in his studio and he and his lovely Cinzia and I enjoyed a delicious pesto meal she prepared. We spoke about the meaning of the song and then Maurizio proceeded to tap into that tune and its meaning more-so than any other could have! It was very fascinating to watch him work the patches.
This is the Orchestron which is not featured on my album Tapping Trees in a Trinket Box of Treasure as much as I’d hoped. What was meant to be a 3 day recording session became a 1.5 day session as the keyboards arrived a day late to the studio. It was also very muggy weather which impacted the quality of sound and the studio rented wasn’t cool enough so that was a challenge for the time crunch.
Anyhow, as you can hear, this was mostly used with Kraftwerk and some of the sounds I had intended on using for the album had never been recorded on an album before. There is a bit of Orchestron on my album that you can hear though… You will just have to purchase my CD to find out in the liner notes! ;) Or see if you can hear any of the sounds on my album here: http://christineleakey.bandcamp.com. The way I used these organs were quite delicate.
This keyboard is similar to the Optigan that I used with disks and disks from the Optigan are playable on the Orchestron but not fully functional. This was a more serious machine for its time compared to the Optigan which I believe was created for more of a home use purpose.
Here is a Chamberlin which is also on my Tapping Trees in a Trinket Box of Treasure album. This was my favourite machine to play of all the keyboards that I rented and what’s great about it is all of the sound samples were recorded by the Lawrence Welk Orchestra which I watched every week as a very young girl. (I loved the bubbles, the chandeliers, the orchestra boxes, the flutes and the singers. I especially loved the Lennon Sisters and Cissy and Bobby.)
The American made Chamberlin predates the British made Mellotron. I used two separate Chamberlin M1 keyboards on my album. One was the standard M1 model with the common sounds and the other was a very rare M1 model that Mr. Chamberlin had created for his own personal use which features harp sounds which you can hear on a couple of my tracks to not be confused with Sahra’s Celtic Harp. You can hear it best on my track entitled, Trinket which was an improvisational piece at the end of a long recording session day.
It was an absolute honour to play such museum quality rarities. Here is an old demonstration of a Chamberlin Music Master model which is a much bulkier model from the M1 however shares some of the same sounds.
Another fabulous instrument you can hear sprinkled throughout my Tapping Trees in a Trinket Box of Treasure album is the Mellotron.
I first laid my eyes on one in ‘94 at Cross Eyed Bear Studios where I was the studios first ever client. The owner, Chris Bromwich had very poor vision and so he showed me the ropes on how to use the mixing board and left the studio, letting me create a recording which I made and gave to my mother as a Christmas present. Bromwich expressed to me that he had a dream to buy a church and transform it into a recording studio. That he did and then along came Glen Marshall and Dan Achen from Catherine North Studios who brought in their gear and set up shop at the church along with their name, while Chris kept his studio in the basement.
It was at this old church where I recorded the vocal and guitar bed tracks for my album with Dan who has since passed on. Since ‘94, I had this vision to record my solo work with such keyboards and so I was thrilled to access them. I spent hours going through Mellotron tapes, some of which have never been used on recordings and made a list along with all my other very detailed production lists which I had been working on for years for this album release. I got very, very particular as I had 14 years to steep my album making.
Most were excited when I shared with them about my plans for the album however the engineer who approached me to work my the album (when I was about to book Canterbury in Toronto) thought renting these dinosaurs were unnecessary, troublesome and ambitious vs using digital sample versions. Not to me… Afterwards he agreed once he saw what I obtained for the album making.
I’ve always loved the analog route where ever possible and I had always planned to use real instruments vs digital samples wherever possible.
Here is one of the many authentic keyboards that I used on Tapping Trees in a Trinket Box of Treasure: The Optigan! Watch this guy give a demonstration and you will recognize some of the sounds I chose for my album. I spent hours going through the disks and making notes to choose what to use and where on my album so that when I had the keyboards delivered to the recording studio, I would have everything that I needed… The keyboards showed up a day late which added pressure for time to get things done… In any case, it was great fun!
Have a look at this rehearsal from December for a corporate Christmas event that I was part of… :D And please come to my show this Friday at 8PM at the Art Gallery of Hamilton Design Annex with Tanis accompanying me through dance and Jay Burr on tuba! I will also be performing with Donné Roberts… For details see this Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/228631540610658/
Here is something for fun! :) There are two small snippets of my circus ditties including Tipsy which are going to be on my long-awaited and forthcoming circus EP release. A small portion of Tipsy is featured on Tapping Trees in a Trinket Box of Treasure. As well, I play around with a spontaneous rendition of my song, Be You. My friend Deborah is filming and her phone ran out of memory, hence the short clip. This is a dream come true since I had always wanted to play a church pipe organ. Now I want to do it again - I had so much fun! :)
This performance was filmed graciously by Jeff Howard from the band Amoeba Starfish on November 16, 2012 at the beautiful Baltimore House in Hamilton, Ontario as part of the Hamilton Music Awards Showcase where I was nominated for two Hamilton Music Awards for Best Adult Alternative Recording and Best Album Artwork. I won for Best Album Artwork! :) You may listen to and purchase my album here: http://christineleakey.bandcamp.com
Christine Leakey - vocals, guitar, samples from my album Jay Burr - trombone Jeremy Sklad - violin Orange McFarland - double bass Lily - guest vocals
Very gracious accompaniment by the wonderful Hamilton Aerial Group (H.A.G.), Lori LeMare, Tanis Sydney MacAurthur, Diane McGrath, Hailey, Pamela Gardner
This is my first full set live show with accompaniment since the 90s. It was a very special show for me to perform because Hamilton is where I first began to perform live with bands, Lightly Toasted where I sang jazz standards at poetry readings and then with the first few bands that I formed including The Double Feature Creatures, Tijuana Knievel, singing with Cadillac Bill & the Creeping Bent and of course my solo music projects.
For years, I was unable to perform or practice my music due to an injury so performing now feels like the beginning all over again. Now, I am warming up and rebuilding my strength instrumentally and vocally to a level I had once achieved with performance. Instead of feeling frustrated by the inconvenience from the injury, I have made a conscious decision to hope for the best and embrace the vulnerability which comes with live performance and being human.
What’s great about live performance is, no two shows are exactly the same. Each live performance can be compared to sculpting clay. When I make something from clay like a pinched pot, I don’t need it to be perfect for it’s one of a kind, handcrafted art - not something mass-produced in a factory. Flaws are endearing and tell a story. I will save my perfectionist tendencies for the studio.
I had so much fun doing this performance and look forward to more. I wish to thank everyone once again for supporting me on this wonderful occasion.
At long last! Footage from my Capricornesque Birthday Celebration!!! Featuring special guest performance by David Celia and Hamilton Aerial Group at The Baltimore House! :D Filmed by Dan Zen and special thanks to Higgins Brothers for graciously giving me special Cirque du Soleil juggling party favours to hand out for my birthday! It made it all that much more special! ~ Ta Da!!!
Christine’s Capricornesque Birthday Celebration featuring Christine Leakey accompanied by David Celia on bass mostly (as well performs a couple of his tunes on keys and guitar) and Gabriel Pinto on saxophone and the lovely pixies, Pam, Tanis, Laura, Trish, Bronwyn, Lori from the Hamilton Aerial Group! Jumple were the headliners.
January 11, 2013 at the beautiful Baltimore House Hamilton, Ontario, Canada!
And this time for my candy tray provision tradition, I gave out swirly and happy loli’s and stix, cLove gum, Sonata Amor Brazilian chocolate truffle wafers and much more! :P
Thank you to Dan Zen http://www.danzen.com for filming the show and having fun capturing it so creatively!
And lastly, thank you to those who came out to support the show, for making it fun, and for giving me that comfort and space to just be me, songs revisited with rusty flaws and all! ;) I save perfection for the studio… Life is busy and we just have to go with the flow and have fun with it!
I’m proud to share a new video for my song, Be You. I was pleasantly surprised in September when a fellow named Vishwas Avathi from India who works in film offered to create a video as a gift for my song. How unexpected - He expressed to me that he felt the music is beautiful and so he wanted to create something for me to help share with all. I was very touched by the kindness in his wonderful gesture. He sent me the video and I am very happy and humbled to see his visual interpretation of Be You. Thank you, Vishwas and Fstopro, I love it!
Please have a look at my latest video. For this song, I really wanted a video to emulate the worldly feel which is in the song. I hired a wonderful team I hired called “I Can Dance 2” from India to make the video and I gave them creative freedom. They created a sweet story. Everyone did a wonderful job and the children are so talented. Back in April the BBC wrote about it and so I am very happy to bring it to you all now and I hope you will share it. :) Thank you and Namaste.
Once upon a music time, a 10 month baby named Christine began to whistle. Then at 3, she sang made up songs to her dog. She took piano from a belching nun at 9, and taught herself guitar at 22.
Since then, Christine has formed bands, written hundreds of songs, appeared on radio and TV, toured, recorded and produced her own music, collaborated with other recording artists, released her music on a label in Europe and in an award winning documentary.
After the dissolution of her bands, Christine began to focus on her solo work with a goal to record a full length album. She had shared the stage with a variety of acts ranging from chamber music to mainstream like Ween, Junior Kimbrough and Iggy Pop. Iggy’s reaction to her performance at the Detroit State Theatre was, “Wow, wow, wow!” While things were looking promising musically along with some recording offers, everything came to a halt when an injury left Christine unable to play guitar.
Christine is now back on her musical path and ready to release her debut solo album, Tapping Trees in a Trinket Box of Treasure. Its lush cinematic, dreamy, pop elements put a fresh spin on fusion that beg a new definition with every listen.
Her album features: Chris Gartner and Great Bob Scott (Thinbuckle), Maurizio Guarini (Goblin), Maryem Tollar, Ernie Tollar, Ravi Naimpally, Linda Ronstadt's Artistic Director and Pianist Jon Gilutin, 60's EMI/Abbey Road Studios veteran Mark Wirtz, and many others.
In addition to the album featuring a whole array of organic wind, reed, string and world instruments, this album also features a very rare collection of vintage and museum quality keyboards including the Chamberlin, Mellotron, Optigan, Orchestron and ARP 2600.
"Tapping Trees in a Trinket Box is what would happen if Karen Carpenter went into outer space with Tom Waits and gave birth to Syd Barrett."