SOUND SEEKERS: An update from Ottawa Complaints Choir, plus Selina Martin, Al Wood, and more great gigs
Scene & Heard

SOUND SEEKERS: An update from Ottawa Complaints Choir, plus Selina Martin, Al Wood, and more great gigs

Sound Seekers by Fateema Sayani is published weekly at Read Fateema Sayani’s culture column in Ottawa Magazine.

Andrew Cohen’s Ottawa Citizen rant about the trouble with Ottawans is a good jumping off point for members of the Capital Complaints Choir.

From our obsequious ovations to the NAC’s resemblance of a “Stalinist detention centre,” there are so many points to debate here in a tone so griping that it’s inspirational gold for the Capital Complaints Choir. They too aim to vent publicly about the personal and the political, by putting everyday rants into song.

Glenn Nuotio portrait by Ben Welland:

The choir is a public art project led by musician Glenn Nuotio who launched the project as an exercise in collective release and community building.

Sound Seekers readers may have responded to Nuotio’s original call for entries, earlier this summer.

“Group singing is good exercise and has many other health benefits besides just releasing negative feelings,” Nuotio told Ottawa Magazine earlier this year. “It’s a way to make people feel better about the things they hate.”

While the choir isn’t entirely formed and ready for performance just yet, it is coming together nicely — and you still have a chance to be involved in its shaping.

This weekend at Blink Gallery (located at Major’s Hill Park) you can offer your input. Maybe you have a rant to share? Maybe you want to write the bed track that will become the choir’s main tune? If so, drop by this weekend to share your insight. The choir is still accepting members.

While you’re there, check out the exhibit featuring photo manipulations, found object installations and soundscapes, all of which are artistic interpretations by the Tragedy of Commons Collective (whose members remain anonymous), in response to some of the complaints they’ve received thus far.

“There are some great lyrics in the making,” Nuotio says. “There are also some wonderful themes we’ve built on artistically with the art exhibit. There is a city inside this city, and the goal of complaints choir is to turn the energy people would spend complaining into something else.”

Blink Gallery, Major’s Hill Park (across from the National Gallery, near the Alexandra Bridge). Friday, Aug. 26 (1 – 6 p.m.); Sat., Aug. 27 and Sun., Aug. 28 (noon – 5 p.m.)


Valley-reared Selina Martin has a knack for a turn of phrase. Now based in Toronto, her latest CD is called Disaster Fantasies, but it’s no weepy treatise on all that’s wrong with the world. Sure, there are a host of complaints about human existence, but her rock ‘n’ roll vocals and catchy hooks take the songs from just average kvetchin’ to quite bitchin’.
With Jeff Meleras and F&M. Sunday, Aug. 28. 8 p.m. $10. Elmdale Tavern, 1084 Wellington St. W.

Paper Beat Scissors is UK transplant Tim Crabtree working with a guitar, loops, and his lingering vocal. The Halifax musician just completed recording with Ottawa alums Jeremy Gara of Arcade Fire and Mike Feuerstack of Snailhouse.
With Musk Ox and Michael Mucci. Friday, Aug. 26. 7 p.m. Mercury Lounge, 56 ByWard Market.


Al Wood pays homage to various blues styles from swing to swamp in his original compositions. The Ottawa musician brings his trio to the Irene’s Pub stage Saturday, Aug. 27. 9:30 p.m. $5.

Greg Smith plays bass with The Weakerthans. He takes a break from playing with the Winnipeg band to tour with his solo project called Greg Smiths Sounds. See them at Raw Sugar Café Sunday, Aug. 28 with Andy Swan.

Jack Pelletier and the Battle of Ontario, along with the band Bahamas, plays the Black Sheep Inn Saturday night as part of Wakefest, an art festival running until August 28 in Wakefield, Que.

Halifax duo Acres and Acres are David Scholten and Kris Pope, close pals who play folk-roots tunes. They’re at Raw Sugar Café Friday with Sarah Hallman. Cover is $8.

Megan Jerome plays a gentle, plinky-plunky piano folk tune that’s spare, leaving lots of room for her quirky lyrics to ring through. She’ll receive a Galaxie Rising Star Award at the Folk Festival this weekend. See THE WEEKENDER for more highlights from the Fest.