How many musicians fit on the head of a pin?

For June 2013 at Spirit of Rasputin’s the answer is 27. In numerology 27 symbolizes “light in darkness” since the lunar sidereal month is 27 days. And 27 (is this a coincidence??) is the number of musicians taking the stage this month at three enlightening SoR events.

Saturday June 8, 7:30p
6th Annual Amnesty International Ottawa Opry

St. Martin’s Church, 2120 Prince Charles Road (Google map… (https://maps NULL.380626,-75 NULL.768469&z=14&t=m&hl=en-US))
Tickets $20 in advance online here (http://www NULL.patmoore NULL.html) or $22 at the door

Joining Pat Moore and the Vinyl Frontier on stage are: Keith Glass who has just released a new CD, and is taking time from his launch tour to join us!; Amanda Bon, Ottawa’s sweetheart of the folk-country scene, and just releasing her second CD; Kate & Hollis, well known for their Appalachian style harmonies; and Maple Hill, a popular award winning bluegrass band. (That’s 12 musicians…)

Thanks to Platinum Sponsor Tracy Arnett Realty, the Ottawa Opry has donated close to $10K to Amnesty. More info…

Saturday June 15, 7:30p
Rasputin’s Beard

Westboro Masonic Hall, 430 Churchill at Byron
Pass-the-hat in support of in support of the Ottawa Food Bank
Featuring Salton Sea, J.P. Ranger Band, and Lost Colt (three great quartets)
Our June “Beard” always focuses on families in need and the vital work the Ottawa Food Bank performs. Donations always drop off in the summer season but the need for food doesn’t change. So we try to provide as much of the one thing the Food Bank needs to fill any gap: money. All the musicians donate their time and talent. So please join us for an excellent and diverse evening of music and help us to give a little back to the community. More info…

Sunday June 23, 3p
Cabaret Matinee

Westboro Masonic Hall, 430 Churchill at Byron
Featuring Call Me Katie
Tickets $7 at the door (kids 14 and under are free)
Featuring the dynamic voice of Sarah Hill, a veteran of bands in Ontario and the Maritimes, Call Me Katie swings from sweet ballads to driving up-tempo pieces. Hill contributes fiddle as well, while award-winning poet Monty Reid sings and plays guitar and mandolin. Mike Rivoche, with groups such as the Howlin C’s and the Black Donnellys in his twangy past, holds everything together with rock-solid bass lines and chips in with harmony vocals. More info…
(if you’re keeping score, that’s 27!)

Spirit of Rasputin’s Open Stage (7p Mondays at Whispers) and Folk-along Jam (Tuesdays 7p at the Georgetown) continue weekly all summer. All our concert series resume in September with a Beard, October with Rick Fines, and November with…wait for it…Valdy!!

Hollis Morgan
President, Spirit of Rasputin’s Arts Society

Bonan Kristnaskon kaj feliĉan novan jaron

That’s as close as I get to a seasonal salutation in Esperanto. Remember Esperanto? That weird language created by a guy (Dr Ludwig Lazarus Zamenhof) 100 years ago who meant well? For his day he was smart, contemporary, and just a little idealistic. He tried to make the world a better place through universal communication. Kind of like folk music today…but without the clever rhymes, beautiful melodies and intelligent lyrics. So may you enjoy health, comfort, prosperity and nice folk music (instead of irritating muzak) this holiday season.

Okay, irritating muzak isn’t likely to be outlawed anytime soon. But you have a chance this Saturday night to enjoy some folky grooves at our annual Santa’s Beard pass-the-hat charity extravaganza in support of the Ottawa Snowsuit Fund with the help of our sponsor The Public Service Alliance of Canada, National Capital Region. We have three great bands lined up.

Who: Bob Spelled Backwards, Terry McLeish Trio, Hurry Up & Wait
What: Rasputin’s Beard a.k.a Santa’s Beard
When: Sat Dec 15, 2012 8:00 pm – 11:00 pm
Tickets: No cover. Pass-the-hat to support the Ottawa Snowsuit Fund.
Where: Westboro Masonic Hall, 430 Churchill Ave – Ottawa

View Larger Map (https://maps,+430+Churchill+Avenue+North,+Ottawa,+ON&aq=0&oq=Westboro+masonic+hall+430+Churchill+&sll=45 NULL.392378,-75 NULL.753222&sspn=0 NULL.009358,0 NULL.026157&gl=ca&ie=UTF8&hq=Westboro+Masonic+Hall,&hnear=430+Churchill+Ave+N,+Ottawa,+Ontario+K1Z+5C9&ll=45 NULL.392378,-75 NULL.753222&spn=0 NULL.006295,0 NULL.006295&t=m)

Other news

Please note our holiday cancellations

  • Open Stage cancelled for Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve (Dec 24 & Dec 31)
  • Folk-along Jam cancelled for Christmas Day and New Year’s Day (Dec 25 & Jan 1)
  • Bluegrass Jam cancelled for December 29.

So translating my Esperanto to Latin we have “Natale hilare et annum faustum” or loosely to English as “Party ’til you drop!”


Hollis Morgan
President, Spirit of Rasputin’s Arts Society

Santa's Beard Poster

Folk music is busting out all over!

The 2011/2012 season is rolling home featuring home-brewed talent. The four remaining events before our summer break all feature local musicians in interesting settings.

Chrysalis with host Missy Burgess

When: 8pm Saturday, May 26
Where: Westboro Masonic Hall, 430 Churchill at Byron
Admission: FREE (pass-the-hat)

This year’s Chrysalis features a dozen local songwriters. Each will perform two songs not of their own composition. Always a treat, the format this year is based on a song circle with artists taking turns presenting their favourite Ottawa Valley compositions. Missy tells me there are still a couple of slots open, so if you want to sign up, contact her at (burgesm null@null algonquincollege
More info here…

Rasputin’s Next Stage

When: 7:30pm Saturday, June 2
Where: Le Michel-Ange Cafe, 35 Laurel St, off Breezehill north of Gladstone
Admission: FREE (pass-the-hat)
Who: Kelly Sloan, Motel Raphaël, and Blue Blue Satellite

Getting in three sets of great music means starting a little early. This should be a great show!!
Kelly Sloan (http://kellysloan
Motel Raphaël (http://www NULL.myspace
Blue Blue Satellite (http://www NULL.bluebluesatellite

Rasputin’s Cabaret Concert

When: 8pm Saturday, June 9
Where: Le Michel-Ange Cafe, 35 Laurel St, off Breezehill north of Gladstone
Admission: $12
Who: Greg Kelly & The Broken Windows Philharmonic, Jim Robinson opening

This is the Ottawa CD release for Greg’s new project “Slow Horses” which is already getting a lot of air play from Chopper McKinnon on Canadian Spaces. Greg says most of the various ‘shards’ comprising The Broken Windows Philharmonic will be on stage for this event including Hollis Morgan, Jamie Gullickson, and Andrew Snow. More about Greg… (http://gregkellysongs

Rasputin’s Beard

When: 8pm Saturday, June 16
Where: Westboro Masonic Hall, 430 Churchill at Byron
Admission: FREE (pass-the-hat)
Who: Cornflower Blue (http://cornflowerbluemusic, The Pilkingtones, Jazz Latté, Los Outliers d’Amour

This June’s Beard (our last of the season) will be raising funds for The Ottawa Food Bank. Food donations always seem to taper off as we approach the summer, so we will raise as much cash as we can…the Food Bank likes cash since it allows them to purchase items noone has donated. 100% of cash raised by pass-the-hat will go to the Food Bank thanks to the sponsorship of PSAC National Capital Region who generously cover our rent for the hall. More info…

See you out there!!

Hollis Morgan
President, Spirit of Rasputin’s Arts Society

The 40 Days of April…!

In this newsletter:

  1. A Cabaret Concert: John Bowman / Vince Halfhide with Chris White
  2. May Day celebration: Gil’s Hootenanny
  3. A Reeaally big showww! The Sultans of String

Ronnie Hawkins had a big hit with Chuck Berry’s song 30 days by changing it to 40 days. Sometimes you just have to try something new. So this “monthly missive” covers about 40 days of Spirit of Rasputin’s activities.

We all love the intimacy and acoustics of our concerts at the Westboro Masonic Hall, but this spring we will present two larger events at different venues so pay attention to the “where:” for Gil’s Hootenanny and The Sultans of String in the announcements below.

Who: John Bowman/ Vince Halfhide & Chris White
What: The first in the “Cabaret Concert Series”
When: 8pm Saturday April 21, 2012
Where: Westboro Masonic Hall, 430 Churchill at Byron
Tickets: $20 [ Click here to buy online now!! (https://www NULL.paypal ] or buy in person at the Ottawa Folklore Centre.

This is the first of a series we call “Cabaret Concerts” where the performers are members of Spirit of Rasputin’s. The series launch is at the Masonic Hall and then the series continues in June at Le Michel-Ange. More info on the “Series” will be in the next newsletter but here we present the inaugural event in this series.

Set 1: John Bowman and Friends
John divides his time betweeen Vancouver and Ottawa working in labour relations and performing in local clubs. He is a poetic composer with a thoughtful delivery and a beautiful finger-picking guitar style. Expect to hear quite a few songs from his CD “Beach on the Ocean” accompanied by the musicians from that project: Tobias Meis (bass), Mark St. Jean (harmonica), and Kristine St. Pierre (backup vocals). John donates the proceeds from sales of his CD to The Canadian Women’s Foundation – Shelter From the Storm. This is a man with a lot of class and a heart as big as Canada. (John’s website… (http://johnbowman

Set 2: Vince Halfhide with Chris White (and special guest Mary Gick)
Guitarist Vince Halfhide has performed and recorded with Sneezy Waters, Andrea and the Fun Guys, The Jivewires, Larry “the Bird” Mootham, Missy Burgess, The Mighty Popo, Chris White, The Toasted Westerns, Heaven’s Radio / Terry Gillespie and many others.  He is at ease with a wide range of musical styles, including folk, country, blues, R&B, reggae, jazz and African music. More recently, another Vince has emerged: a singer-songwriter whose original songs are as entertaining, evocative and far-ranging as his guitar work.

Chris grew up in a musical family and has been writing and performing songs all his life.  He plays guitar and ukulele, writes witty songs, teaches songwriting classes and directs Ottawa’s new Shout Brother choir.  As a community event organizer, Chris has played key roles with the Ottawa Folk Festival, Writer’s Bloc and CKCU FM.  His songs are at once humorous and touching, and provide lots of opportunities for audience involvement.  His two CDs of original songs have generated great enthusiasm.

In performance together, Chris and Vince blend voices and instruments to create a unique and memorable experience.

What: May Day: Gil’s Hootenanny
Who: TBA a wide variety of labour activists and performers
When: 7:30pm Tuesday May 1, 2012
Where: NAC Fourth Stage
Tickets: $15 [ Click here to buy online now!! (https://www NULL.paypal ] or buy in person at the NAC box office.

This event has simply outgrown the Masonic Hall! So join us for an evening celebrating working men and women in song and story. This good old fashioned hootenanny is always on May Day which is a Tuesday this year. Spirit of Rasputin’s thanks CUPE for their generous sponsorship of this event.

Watch the website for the official announcement of who is performing this year. Chris White is still busy lining everyone up as I write this.

Who: The Sultans of String
When: 8pm Saturday May 12
Where: First Unitarian Congregation, 30 Cleary Ave.
Tickets: $25 [ Click here to buy online now!! (https://www NULL.paypal ] or buy in person at the Ottawa Folklore Centre.

Each year we bring you a world class instrumental extravaganza. On Sat May 12, raucous world-roots string wizards, 2x CFMA winners & JUNO nominees, Sultans of String, serve up their spicy stew of Gypsy jazz, Spanish flamenco, Global roots, and Cuban rhythms at The Spirit of Rasputin’s!

“Canada’s ambassadors of musical diversity” include 6-string violinist Chris McKhool (Pavlo), guitar wizard Kevin Laliberté (Jesse Cook, guested on tour with The Chieftains), bass master Drew Birston (Chantal Kreviazuk, Amanda Martinez), and the jaw dropping talent of Cuban percussionist Chendy Leon (Alex Cuba, Parachute Club)!

Seamlessly traversing diverse themes of heart, place and tradition, fiery violin dances with kinetic guitar while a funk bass lays down unstoppable grooves. Throughout, acoustic strings meet electronic wizardry to create layers and depth of sound.

Since their formation only 5 years ago, Sultans of String have been riding a wave of success, from their debut CD, “Luna”, and 2nd offering, “Yalla Yalla”, both hitting # 1 on world/international music charts in Canada, to their triple Canadian Folk Music Award nomination, winning Instrumental Group of the Year.

In the 2 years alone, they’ve acquired a JUNO nomination, representation from acclaimed promoter David Wilkes (Emmylou Harris, Bela Fleck, Melanie), and booking representation in the US, UK and Australia. They also took home 1st place in the International Songwriting Competition (out of 15,000 entries), placed as finalists for two 2011 International Independent Music Awards, garnered 2 awards from Festival & Events Ontario, and Ontario Contact’s Artist of The Year.

The band just released their new and 3rd CD, MOVE, a perfect hat-trick presenting, once again, an exhilarating celebration of world music styles.

“Canada is a real meeting places of musical influences from around the world” says bandleader/violinst McKhool. “At the same time, as a band we try to tell uniquely Canadian stories, putting forth our vision of the world as one family.” Chris’ paternal Makhoul grandparents immigrated to Canada from Lebanon in the early 1900s, and his Egyptian-born mother, an accomplished pianist, also has paternal Lebanese ancestry. “Growing up, I was taught the values of tolerance, respect for all peoples and celebration of culture.” McKhool’s unbridled passion for exploring the rhythms and melodies has led him to the far corners of the world, incorporating instruments and styles everywhere he went. (Their website… (http://www NULL.sultansofstring ))

Hollis Morgan
President, Spirit of Rasputin’s Arts Society

p.s. Don’t forget about the Monday Open Stage upstairs at Whispers, and the Tuesday Folkalong Jam in the back room of The Georgetown.

Music and More in March 2012

In this newsletter:

  • News from the president
  • The Next Stage, March 4
  • The Great Canadian Song-along 20th Anniversary, March 9 &10
  • Intellectual Property Workshop for Songwiters, March 10
  • Spirit of Rasputins Second Annual General Meeting, March 18
  • Rasputin’s Bluegrass Jam, March 18
  • Rasputin’s Beard, March 24
  • Open Stage, every Monday, Folk-along Jam, every Tuesday

News from the president

After a pause where many of our key organizers, including yours truly, traveled to sunny and warmer climes, we are all back and hitting the ground running. In addition to a robust schedule of musical events, we have a workshop for songwriters and the second AGM of members.

Several events take advantage of our new relationship with Le Michel-Ange Coffee Roasting Warehouse and Cafe at 35 Laurel Street. And…drum roll here…we have a new sponsor. The Public Service Alliance of Canada (National Capital Region) has agreed to cover all hall rental expenses for the next four Rasputin’s Beard charity events. For those who didn’t already know, the SoR board of directors decided to remit 100% of all Rasputin’s Beard’s pass-the-hat funds to local charities. This month’s charity is the local Stop the Bullying program.

The Next Stage

Where: Whispers Pub (upstairs), 249 Richmond Road
When: 7:30pm Sunday March 4th
Who: John Casselman and Julie Element
This is a pass-the-hat event.
NOTE the start time is 30 minutes later than usual with two performers instead of three.

John says, “I began writing songs in 2001 after my guitar teacher encouraged me to perform at Rasputin’s Open Stage. It was at Rasputin’s that I learned how limitations could bring freedom: I didn’t have a manager, a producer, or a band; but I could still make cds that were worth serious consideration. In 2005 I recorded my first rock opera, ‘The Hosta Family’. ‘The Jasper Hand’ (the backstory to ‘Hosta’) was recorded in 2008. Through rock opera I see where it is that I tend to abdicate my ideals. I then try to move my characters’ strength, knowledge, and power out of the household into the street.”

Julie is a true folky with experience performing, composing, and hosting other folk events both live and on radio (CKCU). Referred to by Lynn Saxburg as “a witty Brit”, Julie writes “slightly wacky songs about trains and buses, and delivers them with gusto.”

The Great Canadian Song-along **20th Anniversary**

Where: Le Michel-Ange Coffee Roasting Cafe, 35 Laurel St
When: Two nights, 7pm Fri/Sat the 9th and 10th
Who: Many performers, hosted by Tony Turner and Greg Kelly
This is a pass-the-hat event.

It’s hard to believe but the Great Canadian Song-Along is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. Song-Along is Ottawa’s annual songwriting and performance event. The event is co-produced by Writers’ Bloc and the Spirit of Rasputin’s Arts Society. This is the first concert event we are producing at Le Michel-Ange. If you haven’t been there before, it’s a little tricky to find at 35 Laurel St (north of Gladstone, west of Breezehill) so here’s a map.

There’s a lot of more info on the Writers’ Bloc website (http://writersbloc including the song topics and how to signup. If you are not a songwriter, this is still a terrific evening of entertainment…and the coffee and hot chocolate are amazing.

Intellectual Property Workshop for Songwiters

Where: Le Michel-Ange Coffee Roasting Cafe, 35 Laurel St
When: 3pm Saturday the 10th
Who: Gilles Daigle, copyright expert and Partner with the law firm Gowlings
Free for SoR members. $5 for non-members.

Copyright, licencing, SOCAN, CRIA, YouTube, performance royalties, recording royalties, neighbouring rights, right of first performance… What does all this mean for you as a songwriter in the digital age? This workshop aims to equip songwriters with greater understanding about the shifting sands under our feet.

Spirit of Rasputins Annual General Meeting

Where: Le Michel-Ange Coffee Roasting Cafe, 35 Laurel St
When: 2-5pm Sunday the 18th
Who: SoR Members. Memberships will be sold at the meeting.

We are growing. We now have 92 members. A few days from now all members will receive copies of proposed resolutions and the slate of candidates running for the board of directors (three positions are available). If you are a member, we need your voice to help chart the future of this vibrant folk community. If you are not a member yet, come to the AGM and join.

Rasputin’s Bluegrass Jam

Where: Le Michel-Ange Coffee Roasting Cafe, 35 Laurel St
When: 5pm Sunday March 18th
Who: Hosted by Garry Greenland
Free. Just bring your axe of choice. This is a welcoming format to learn and perfect bluegrass styles and licks. For this date only, the Jam starts at 5pm and follows the Spirit of Rasputins Annual General Meeting.

Rasputin’s Beard “Band Showcase” and Charity Event

Where: The Westboro Masonic Hall, 430 Churchill at Byron
When: 8pm Saturday the 24th
Who: Sarah Drader & Friends, Three Little Birds, Tower of Song, SPECIAL GUEST: Maria Hawkins

This is a pass-the-hat charity event in support of Maria Hawkins “Stop the Bullying Program”. Thanks to PSAC National Capital Region for sponsoring this event. More information about this event will be sent out in the next newsletter.

Open Stage, every Monday; Folk-along Jam, every Tuesday

Whether you are a “closet performer” or experienced picker, these may be just right for you. The Open Stage upstairs at Whispers is usually well attended and quite entertaining. However several of our regular participants are also checking out several other open mics that have recently sprouted up around the area. As the saying goes, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. If you have been thinking about starting to perform in front of an audience, this is the perfect time and place for you. The Rasputins Open Stage is the oldest continuously running open stage in Ottawa and remains the most welcoming and supportive in the area of both novice and experienced performers. More info…

And if you just want to play along to with other musicians, try the Folk-along Jam at The GeorgeTown Pub. More info…

Sorry for the length of this missive. I’ll try to be more succinct in future.

Hollis Morgan
President, Spirit of Rasputins Arts Society

Do Volunteers Need to be Members?

The short answer is “no”. We welcome your help and assistance whether or not you choose to join.  But the members have deliberately decided to keep the cost of membership at a nominal $20 per year. There is value in becoming a member. Members are privy to more information such as minutes of board meetings. Members also receive targeted newsletters. Members also participate in a members’ raffle to receive free concert tickets.

But if what you prefer to contribute is just your time, you are certainly welcome to do so.

The Next Stage, Upstairs at Whispers

What: The Next Stage
Where: Upstairs at Whispers Pub, 249 Richmond Road
When: Sunday, October 2, 7pm
Who: Dan Arnott – Shannon Eddy – Rick Hayes

Spirit of Rasputin’s has a treat for you: Three local and truly excellent singer songwriters in a very intimate setting. Dan Arnott, Shannon Eddy and Rick Hayes inaugurate the very first Spirit of Rasputin’s Next Stage this Sunday evening. Each peformer will present a full set of entertainment. By intimate, I mean the room holds about 50 people, but don’t let that discourage you. Just arrive a little early, grab your spot and maybe sample Whisper’s excellent cuisine before the show. This is going to be a very fine evening.

Dan Arnott, on guitar, mondolin and banjo, will have you singing along to a mix of original and traditional folk songs. Shannon Eddy, a captivating performer on both guitar and piano, always delivers a strong, deeply moving performance. And Rick Hayes, who found a second home at Rasputin’s when he “emigrated” from his fabled Newfoundland, has as much to say about his songs as his songs say about him.

There is no cover charge. This is a pass-the-hat event. Come and have a great time.

Hollis Morgan
President, Spirit of Rasputins

All this for pass-the-hat?

A review of the September 17,2011 Rasputin’s Beard

by host and organizer Carol Noël

Well THAT was an exceptional evening of entertainment! Lucky us to be part of this full house, packed-to-the-walls energy! The fiddles and jigs of celtic big-band Fumblin’ Fingers put big smiles on faces and got toes tapping! Steel Moon’s romantic pop ballads – Lise’s vocals and Dave’s creative guitar, tasteful looper-use and harmonies – were soulful and beautiful; their upcoming CD will be the stocking stuffer! The intricate a capella harmonies, joyous energy and comedy of the Pouch Cotätoes quintet earned them an encore! Lost Colt’s alt-country originals were authentic, their lead-vocals outstanding and acoustic guitar solos all came straight from the heart! All this for pass-the-hat? Rasputins Beard is absolutely the best music deal in town! All these local groups have websites; check them out for gigs and CD-orders.Next Beard: December 17th…be there or be square!