Canadian women singers again figured among Grammy royalty last week when Sarah McLachlan won the award for best female pop vocal performance. And Ottawa’s Alanis Morissette won for best longform video. Victorious for her song Building a Mystery, McLachlan, 30, was radiant as she accepted her gramophone-shaped award. “What a shock,’’ said the first-time winner. “I’m so nervous all of a sudden.” Afterwards, she performed the song with fellow Grammy winners Shawn Colvin and Paula Cole. McLachlan won a second award for best pop instrumental for the song Last Dance. The Halifax-born singer, who lives in Vancouver with her husband and drummer, Ashwin Sood, has garnered an international reputation beyond her music in the past year as founder of the all-female music festival Lilith Fair.
The big winner of the night was U.S. singer Bob Dylan, who won three awards, including the coveted album of the year for Time Out of Mind. Other Grammy-winning Canadians were Toronto-based tenor Ben Heppner, 42, who sung on the best opera recording, and Neil Rosenberg, 58, a folklore professor at Memorial University in St. John’s, Nfld., for best album notes. Singers shut out included: Céline Dion (who won two awards last year), Bryan Adams, Diana Krall, Long John Baldry and polka players John Gora and three-time winner Walter Ostanek.
Fun with some friends
For fans of Canadian humor, the new film The Wrong Guy provides a rare opportunity to catch several generations of comics at work. The movie stars Dave Foley, Toronto-born star of the hit NBC sitcom NewsRadio, as a dim-witted executive who, afraid nobody will believe he did not murder his boss, goes on the lam, not knowing that the real killer (Colm Feore) was videotaped in the act. Foley, 34, is backed up by a Canuck contingent, including his ex-Kids in the Hall troupe mates Kevin McDonald and Mark McKinney, as well as Joe Flaherty ISCTV), and Dan Redican (The Frantics). But Foley, who co-wrote and co-produced the film, says nobody was cast on the basis of their nationality. “When it came down to think about ‘Who do we want to have in this?’ those are the people who came to mind.” Foley adds, however, that it was a conscious decision to hire director David Steinberg, 55.
The former Winipegger was a regular on Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show—second only to Bob Hope in number of appearances. “It was weird interviewing Steinberg for a job,” says Foley. “I'd grown up watching him and never thought I’d be in that position.”
Portrait of an artist
There is a tradition in Canadian pop music of dedicating albums to renowned painters. The Rheostatics recorded Music Inspired by the Group of Seven, and now Vancouver singersongwriter Veda Hille has weighed in with Here Is a Picture (Songs for E Carr), a new album based on celebrated B.C. artist Emily Carr. Hille, 29, was commissioned by Mascall Dance Vancouver to write a score for a choreographic work about Carr’s life. While researching her subject, Hille discovered a fondness for Carr’s writings. “It was through the writing that I found my relationship with her,” says Hille, about the landscape painter who died in 1945 at age 74. Drafting most of the lyrics in a cutand-paste manner, Hille relates some of the despair of the driven artist. “I don’t know how many people really know what she was like,” says Hille, who, with her band, The Smokin’ Combo, is currently touring Canada. “She was a very passionate and extreme person.”
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