Monday, October 29, 2012

Allison Crowe Returns to the Dance as "The Doorway" Opens Wider with RWB Maritime Tour

“Working with the RWB is going to be such an awesome experience - even to just watch these amazing people dance is gift enough,” musician Allison Crowe told CBC TV “SCENE” Producer Andrea Ratuski this May - just before the World Premiere opening of “The Doorway” ( “I am humbled to be able to be a part of such a beautiful project, in tribute to such a wonderfully talented and brilliant man, Leonard Cohen.”

Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet is the first company anywhere in the world to stage a production melding works of the Montreal-born singer-songwriter, musician, poet, and novelist. In 1970, during the tenure of Artistic Director Arnold Spohr, “The Shining People of Leonard Cohen”, choreographed by Brian Macdonald, opened in Paris and at Ottawa’s National Arts Centre.

Again, in tune with the zeitgeist, RWB Artistic Director André Lewis today oversees an evolution of his company’s dance works wedded to the words and music of Cohen. For the 2011 Genie Awards, Jorden Morris, choreographer of tremendous successes “Peter Pan” (2006 premiere) and “Moulin Rouge – The Ballet” (2009 - and touring currently to record audiences), created a sensuous pas de deux embracing Cohen’s song “Dance Me to the End of Love”.

In “The Doorway: Scenes from Leonard Cohen”, Morris choreographs five songs/poems – “Bird on a Wire”, “Hallelujah”, “The Letters”, “Since You Asked” (written by Judy Collins, recited by Leonard Cohen), “Sisters of Mercy” - and lattices these with spoken word/interview segments.

“Leonard Cohen's music comes to life at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet” declared the CBC, Canada’s national public broadcaster, earlier this year. Pierre Meunier, writing in La Liberté, set it this way: "Chacune des cinq scènes est un petit bijou." En Anglais: "Each of the five scenes is a small jewel."

CHVN Radio’s Adrienne Daniels reported on opening night: “the triumph of this performance was Mr. Cohen himself. He wasn’t there, but the RWB used audio from interviews he did regarding the songs being danced to and it gave such an incredible insight into the performance that it took it to that magical level. Where spirit and art connect and you FEEL the music. You feel it in your soul, it’s tangible with your hands and you can literally taste it.” And the audience loved it. Longtime RWB subscriber Dan Aysan posted: “‘The Doorway’ was a wild mix of dance, live music and spoken word that surprised me with its depth and simplicity (how often do you get dancers' movements , Leonard Cohen's words & music with a smattering of Peter Gzowski's voice mashed up on stage ?!?)".

During the first run of “The Doorway”, Canada’s bi-coastal singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist, Allison Crowe, joined the RWB on-stage to perform “Hallelujah” – with the dance role alternating between Sophia Lee and Jo-Ann Gudilin (nee Sundermeier). “Spine-tingling” says Holly Harris, dance reviewer for the Winnipeg Free Press.

Allison Crowe, pictured here in Verona, Italy - returns to Canada and the ballet - Billie Woods foto

Crowe’s “Hallelujah”, first released in 2003, has secured a place as one of the most-loved interpretations of this Cohen masterwork – in her live performances, nationally and internationally, and on YouTube, where her single, first, take performance, captured for less than $100, has more than eight million views. In a rave review of a concert on her most recent European tour, Peter Baier, culture writer for "Süddeutsche Zeitung", Germany's largest national subscription daily newspaper, observes: “Allison Crowe performs the song without any trace of kitsch” and says it is “gooseflesh (bump) music”.

“Crowe's version is a living thing, a meditation and a celebration and a benediction," explains Canada’s anacronym blog. "Leonard Cohen's 'Hallelujah'... as performed by Allison Crowe, may be one of the most amazing things ever recorded onto magnetic tape," adds America’s Semper Ubi Sub Ubi blog. Blogger Stephen Thomas, a founder of the UK’s Folkroom Records, and a judge of Glastonbury Festival’s Emerging Talent says, “Simply, a song so beautiful has never been sung so beautifully."

Emotional honesty is the hallmark of Allison Crowe’s repertoire. Now, with “The Doorway” heading on tour to Canada’s Maritime provinces, she’s delighted to accept an invitation from the RWB to reprise this vocal/piano collaboration with the company’s marvellous dancers, and, also, to duet on a new arrangement of “Bird on a Wire” alongside legendary U.S.-based singer-songwriter Cris Williamson – whose acapella, live, recording of “Sisters of Mercy” featured incandescently in the debut, and returns – this time live-on-stage - for the next, steps of “The Doorway”.

Williamson is, in her own right, a cultural and social icon - an artist who's played Carnegie Hall, created an album, "The Changer and the Changed", that is to the independent music world what Michael Jackson's "Thriller" is to mainstream pop ie. a "game-changer" (released in 1975, the album’s sold over 500,000 copies), and one who’s thrived outside the establishment record industry for decades – and long before the internet opened new avenues for musicians. She's hero to countless women and men who've fought for sexual and social freedoms across America. Additionally, like Leonard Cohen, Cris Williamson is in the finest voice of her musical career and can bridge the wild spirit of youth and the wisdom of experience.

All this, and plenty more, is coming to the Maritimes – as the RWB includes “The Doorway” in its upcoming mixed repertoire program: “a virtuosic quadruple-bill which features Peter Quanz’s In Tandem, Brian Macdonald’s Pas D’action… and William Forsythe’s The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude,” notes the Fredericton Playhouse, one of the venues on this tour, in its neat summation of the action. “Experience the thrill of live dance performance with a stunning contrast in classical and contemporary styles courtesy of the foremost ballet company in Canada.”

For full details on the tour and the four exceptional dance works on the bill, visit the Royal Winnipeg Ballet @ , the Fredericton Playhouse blog post "RWB MAKES TRIUMPHANT RETURN TO ATLANTIC CANADA" @ ,  Halifax's Live Art Dance Productions @ - and sites of each venue listed below:

Royal Winnipeg Ballet - MARITIME TOUR:

Halifax, NS - November 7-8, 2012 - In Tandem, The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude, The Doorway, and Pas D’Action - Rebecca Cohn Theatre - 8:00pm

Fredericton, NB - November 9, 2012 - In Tandem, The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude, The Doorway, and Pas D’Action - The Playhouse 7:30pm

Charlottetown, PEI - November 10, 2012 - In Tandem, The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude, The Doorway, and Pas D’Action - Confederation Centre of the Arts - 7:30pm

Saint John, NB - November 12, 2012 - In Tandem, The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude, The Doorway, and Pas D’Action - Imperial Theatre - 7:30pm

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Saturday, October 27, 2012

I don't wanna pickle, I just wanna...

Musician Allison Crowe - ready for Halloween fun as Gemma Teller Morrow, the matriarch character portrayed by Katey Sagal in the television series "Sons of Anarchy".

Coincidentially, or not, biker mamas Katey and Alley have each recorded Leonard Cohen's "Bird on a Wire" - herewith, for your trick or treating pleasure: - Katey Sagal - Allison Crowe

Allison Teller Morrow - foto

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Saturday, October 20, 2012

Great Voice, Heart in World's Embrace

Musician Allison Crowe and her tour-mates, photographer-musician Billie Woods and road manager-driver Axel Dollheiser, depart today from lovely Quedlinburg, birthplace of the German nation.

This marks the final point in a magical concert tour – the stuff of legend.

Andreas Wiesentau reports of last night’s show “there was applause, applause, applause, applause, applause, applause, applause, applause!”

The standing ovations, and, on average, three encores a night, across this European tour are emblematic of a deep, and broadening, love between artist and audience.

Thank you, danke, grazie, merci – Mampf, Frankfurt, Osterkirche, Berlin, SHAPE Club, Mons, Inninger Spectacel, Inning am Ammersee, Teatro del Sale, Firenze, Palais Salfeldt, Quedlinburg – and all the people of Germany, Belgium, Italy, and all countries, encountered in every way!!!

May we meet again :)

Quedlinburg, Germany - nestled in the Harz Mountains, host to the final concert of the tour - Allison Crowe foto

Allison Crowe, one of the great artists of this, or any, time, soon returns home to Canada – following a loving, and smashingly fun and successful, European concert tour.

In North America, she’s been likened to Joni Mitchell, Eddie Vedder, Edith Piaf, Elton John… To these, continental perception now adds the names of modern-day composer, author and actor, Konstantin Wecker, one of Germany’s best-known singer-songwriters, and Modest Mussorgsky, innovative Russian composer.

Christian Meindl kindly provides us with this translation of a konzert review – published recently in Germany's largest paid circulation newspaper, Süddeutsche Zeitung. Chris notes that he's not a "native speaker" - still, this translation sure helps the English-language reader appreciate the universal appeal of Allison Crowe:


The Canadian singer Allison Crowe at the „Spectacel“ in Inning

Of course, she had to play her absolute hit, the song which was written by Leonard Cohen and gained her fame: „Hallelujah“. In doing so, Allison Crowe performs the song without any trace of kitsch, sings with a high sound intensity, a bit blues orientated and with a dedication which shows almost religious tendencies. Gooseflesh music. The renters of Inning’s musical center, the “Spectacel”, made it to commit Allison Crowe for one evening.

Already with her first introductions, Allison Crowe wins the favor of the audience and increases the expectations with her coloratural laugh. Allison Crowe plays the piano with a strong grip. Its sound fits perfect to her light-smoky, expressive, in short: great voice. Sometimes, her play remembers to the keyboard-capers of Konstantin Wecker and in the following moment to Modest Mussorgsky’s „Pictures at an Exhibition“.

Crowe’s vocals stay also steady at higher tones and enthused at the lows. Wonderful ballads alternate with hard played songs. The lyrics are always well articulated. Allison Crowe plays guitar as well, accompanies her vocals with mellow sounds. Followed by hard rhythms on the piano. She starts the „Hallelujah“ with a wonderful melancholic introduction, sings with great fervor and shows what her voice is able to perform.

Another strong voice has Billie Woods who opens the concert with her songs. The as well attractive as high-musical singer and guitarist surprises with her unusual chord structure for what she’d to retune her instrument a few times. And that the guitar is intrinsically a rhythm-instrument is proofed by Billie Woods with lots of persuasiveness.

Of course, both musicians have to play encores.


Süddeutsche Zeitung, Tuesday, October 16, 2012

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Thursday, October 18, 2012

A Brush of Hope 2012 ~ October 18 - 28

Allison Crowe's painting of the Northern Lights shining over Gros Morne National Park - ready to be shipped to the Kidney Foundation of Canada, for inclusion in its "A Brush of Hope" campaign. NB if you open up the full foto, discerning cultural critic, historian and wiener dog, "Linkers" can be spotted appraising things, in a characteristic, one-ear-back, pose of concentration.

For the next 10 days, October 18 – 28, 2012, the Foundation’s eBay gallery displays more than 100 artworks - all proceeds from the sale of which benefit kidney research in Canada. Since its inception, more than $100,000 has been raised for the cause by this artful approach.

In this year’s gallery Allison’s “Northern Lights” hangs with creations by a wide range of Canucks, including: a meditative rocker who helped Allison get her start in recording music – Bif Naked; Food Country chef Michael Smith; wrestling’s Bret “Hitman” Hart; musician and man of letters, Leonard Cohen; comedians Elvira Kurt, Ron James and Brent Butt; New York Islander hockey centre, John Tavares; and the Kidney Foundation’s own Linda Garwood.

Here's a link directly to Allison's painting in the eBay auction gallery:
And, here’s a link to Allison’s song, “Northern Lights”:

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Große Stimme - Allison Crowe

Published in the print edition of "Süddeutsche Zeitung", Germany's largest national subscription daily newspaper, is this review of the latest concert in the tour of Allison Crowe and Billie Woods. The article, penned by kultur journalist Peter Baier, is not yet translated into English language. Still, any discussion of Allison's musik that references Leonard Cohen and Modest Mussorgsky's "Pictures at an Exhibition" has a solid grasp of things, so, we're happy now, and will only become more happy :)

click image above to see full newspaper copy

Süddeutsche Zeitung, Dienstag, den 16. Oktober 2012

Große Stimme

Die kanadische Sängerin Allison Crowe im Inninger „Spectacel“

Inning - Natürlich muss sie den von ihr gecoverten Hit singen, das Stück von Leonard Cohen, das sie erst so richtig prominent werden ließ: „Hallelujah“, gespielt miteiner wunderbar melancholischen Einleitung. Dabei kommt Allison Crowe ohne jeden Kitsch aus, singt mit großer Lautstärke, ein bisschen blues-orientiert und mit einer Hingabe, die schon fast zum Religiösen tendiert. Gänsehaut-Musik. Die Betreiber des „Spectacel“, Innings musikalisches Zentrum, haben es geschafft, Allison Crowe für einen Abend zu verpflichten. Und Crowe zeigt, was ihre hergibt.

Bereits mit ihren ersten Ansagen gewinnt die kanadische Songwriterin mit eigenem Label die Gunst des Publikums, lässt mit ihrem Koloratur-Lachen die Erwartung auf Weiteres ansteigen. Mit kräftigem Zugriff spielt Allison Crowe das Klavier, zu dessen Klang ihre leicht rauchige, ausducksstarke, kurz: große Stimme hervorragend passt. Manchmal erinnert ihr Spiel an die Tasten-Eskapaden eines Konstantin Wecker, dann wieder gibt es Momente, die an den Stil von Modest Mussorgsky's „Bilder einer Ausstellung“ denken lassen.

Crowes Gesang bleibt auch in den Höhen absolut sicher, begeistert geradezu in den Tiefen. Wunderschöne Balladen wechseln sich ab mit harten Songs, die Texte sind stets gut verständlich. Allison Crowe greift auch zur Gitarre, begleitet ihren Gesang mit zarten Tönen. Und wechselt dann wieder zu hartem Rhythmus auf dem Klavier. Eine ähnlich starke Stimme hat auch Billie Woods, die mit ihren Liedern das Konzert eröffnet. Die ebenso attraktive wie hochmusikalische Sängerin und Gitarristin überrascht mit ungewohnten Akkordstrukturen, wofür sie ihr Instrument mehrfach umstimmt. Und dass die Gitarre eigentlich ein Rhythmusinstrument ist, belegt Billie Woods mit großer Überzeugungskraft.

Natürlich müssen beide Musikerinnen Zugaben spielen.


Allison Crowe's Europa Tour 2012 images can be viewed in Allison's facebook gallery - click here, and in the facebook album of musician and photographer Billie Woods - click here.

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Thursday, October 04, 2012

Here's looking at you - Allison Crowe Euro Tour 2012 foto album by Billie Woods

Musician Billie Woods shows another of her creative sides - as a photographer - in this foto album of the concert tour which launched last night in Frankfurt, Germany.

Here's Allison Crowe pictured at Mampf, Mischi's legendary jazzlokal. This is one of a series of images in a foto album you can explore on facebook - click here!

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Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Allison Crowe Concert Tour Launch: National Holiday in Germany

It’s "Tag der Deutschen Einheit" - Day of German Unity – today and Allison Crowe, one of the great performing artists of our time, or any time, launches her newest concert tour in Frankfurt amidst a wave of national celebration. As well as being present to mark the fall of the Berlin Wall and the re-union of West and East Germany in 1990 – Axel Dollheiser, Crowe’s European Road Manager, reports this visit to the continent will include a few pints at Oktoberfest in Munich.

Concert performances this month by the Canadian singer-songwriter, vocalist-pianist, Allison Crowe and special guest musician, and photographer, Billie Woods, include:

03.10.2012 – Frankfurt, Germany @ Jazzlokal Mampf
05.10.2012 – Berlin, Germany @ Evangelische Osterkirche
10.10.2012 – Mons, Belgium @ SHAPE Club
13.10.2012 - Inning Am Ammersee, Germany @ Inninger Spectacel
17.10.2012 – Florence, Italy @ Teatro del Sale
19.10.2012 – Quedlinburg, Germany @ Palais Salfeldt

We're ready!!" says Christine Geyer, who posts this foto from Mampf, Frankfurt

Before embarking on this tour, for the past year Crowe’s been extremely active in North America where she’s served as Music Director of Theatre Newfoundland and Labrador’sNewfoundland Vinyl,” a rollicking hit at this Summer’s Gros Morne Theatre Festival. As well, she’s super-busy off-stage with movie projects, including a “Tidings Live” documentary, directed by film-maker Peter Buckle, set to premiere in December 2012.

On-stage, Crowe’s performed “Hallelujah” for the World Premiere run of “The Doorway: Scenes from Leonard Cohen” – the Royal Winnipeg Ballet's thrilling, new, Cohen-inspired ballet. This November, she rejoins the RWB as the dance, choreographed by Jorden Morris (“Moulin Rouge”), delights audiences again - and she'll perform "Hallelujah" solo as well as duet on "Bird on a Wire" with Cris Williamson, the legendary American singer-songwriter, activist, and independent music trail-blazer.

Fuller details upcoming @

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