Photo by Brittany Willacy
Winnipeg-based songstress Raine Hamilton has been described as "a cross between a shorter, more musical Tina Fey, and a shorter, funnier Joni Mitchell." One of nine participants in the first-ever Manitoba Music Songwriting Retreat at FortWhyte Alive, held this past month, Raine is a relatively new favourite of the Canadian folk music scene. Her current project? Preparing for the release of her first full-length album Past Your Past at West End Cultural Centre May 27th. But your next chance to see Raine Hamilton on stage is this Thursday at the Manitoba Music Songwriter Concert at FortWhyte Alive.
FWA: What do you love most about playing and making music?
RH: For me, playing and writing music is deeply nourishing. It is like joy is a food group, and this is how I get my fill. Often it is a healing experience, and I welcome that.
FWA: Describe one of your most memorable shows, or moments performing.
RH: Last summer I performed at the Edge of the World Festival on Haida Gwaii, the islands way to the North and way to the West of BC. I had that great feeling of yes. "Yes. This is where I'm supposed to be. This is what I am supposed to do. This is a life well and joyfully lived." That was the farthest I had ever toured, and I did it alone, finding a community of artists along the way.
FWA: What's your ideal weekend?
RH: I've got a few ideal weekends. One involves me and the creative spirit, alone somewhere in the natural world. Another involves a lakeside cabin, friends, and Beatles jamming until dawn. Another involves sewing something - a dress, a skirt, anything ambitious. This is one of my favourite things to do.
FWA: What is it that makes the prairies special?
RH: We wrote a song about the prairies at the retreat. I savoured the experience of connecting with the prairie, of experiencing it from different perspectives. Our song, La plaine, written by myself, Arianne Jean, and Dominique Lemoine of À La Mode, is a bilingual roots tune, drawn from the vulnerability of the prairie. And that is what I think makes the prairie so special. It is beautifully vulnerable out there; the prairie and the heavens, the prairie and the elements, the prairie and all of creation, in touch, nothing in the way.
"Nowhere to hide, there is nothing between me and the stars
No one to lie to, there is nothing between me and my pride
FWA: Favourite outdoor activity?
RH: I love to run! I am a barefoot runner, and it is just the best!
FWA: One skill you'd like to master one day?
RH: I'd love to learn sound engineering. I've got long-term plans to be an engineer/producer.
FWA: Spirit animal?
RH: The deer. Want to see my tattoo?
FWA: What’s your favourite memory at FortWhyte Alive?
RH: We had a great time at the FortWhyte Alive/Manitoba Music songwriting retreat! My favourite memory is the first late-night recording session. Hearing everyone's songs, feeling miles away from the city, seeing the bright whiteness of the moon over the lake. That was pretty amazing. And this entire nature-inspired songwriting getaway was right inside the city! What a gem you are, FortWhyte Alive!