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Mother's Day: a tribute from Bahamas, Jenn Grant, Martha Wainwright, more

Andrea Warner

Ahead of Mother’s Day, CBC Music is reaching into the vault, all the way back to 2013 for this tribute from some of the country’s greatest indie musicians to their moms. All together now: awwwww.

Afie Jurvanen, Bahamas

Jurvanen and his mom have always been close. She was his date to the Juno Awards in 2013. He also made this video of visiting his family home in 2012, spending the day cooking, eating and speaking Finnish with his mom.

"My mom is one cool lady. She loves gardening, cooking, swimming and anything to do with the Canadian music industry. Her online photo essay about Alex Cuba has received literally dozens of hits and she has "friended" Amelia Curran, Jim Cuddy and Terry Milewski. She gave me my first guitar and has always been my biggest supporter. I'm so grateful for her never-ending encouragement and enthusiasm. Happy Mother's day, mom. What's for dinner?"

Rose Cousins

"I grew up in a family with five kids so when we travelled it was all of us packed into a Suburban with every seat filled. Some of my favourite memories of music are family road trips when we'd sing to the likes of John Denver, the Rankin Family, Kenny Rogers, ABBA, Stompin' Tom. When we weren't listening to the radio or tapes, my mum would start a round and my sister and I would sing along. It was pure joy. Singing with my mum and sister are my earliest memories of music. I know I get my musical sense from my mother and I'm thankful for it every day."

Neil Quin, Zeus

“My parents played a huge role in my musical upbringing. My family always had a radio on somewhere in the house — sometimes all of them! I remember my mom pulling out the old record collection one year because we had bought a new turntable. She put on "Back in the USSR" and started telling me about how the Beatles recorded in stereo and how you could hear different things in the left and right speakers. That was so fascinating to me at the time and really, still is.

“My mom taught my brothers and I to forever hold a deep love in our hearts for Phil Collins and Huey Lewis. We would ask for records on Christmas and birthdays. Sometimes they had really shocking cover art or it was a Marilyn Manson record or something and she would be so upset. But she still bought it for us! So that's kind of hilarious. Thanks mom!”

Jenn Grant

Grant’s mother died on May 3, 2012.

“The biggest lesson that our mom kept going back to was ‘Find your passion!’ I live every day in pursuit of realizing my dreams, and to bring something of meaning to the world. My mom is the strength and love behind this. There could be no one prouder, more supportive, or just plain fun to share all of these moments with. I feel her bright spirit every day, shining a light on so many things in this world. Every day is Mother's Day in my heart.”

Carolyn Mark

From Mark’s mom: "As a teenager living in an isolated community between the Last Spike and the great metropolis of Sicamous, Carolyn yearned for such things as friends who lived closer, solo trips to the store and less dependence on parents for getting practically anywhere. What Carolyn neither envisioned nor wanted in her ideal teenage world were lessons from a series of music teachers (each expecting the mandatory daily practice) or enforced absences from school for participation in Royal Conservatory examinations and local music festivals.

"Was it all worth it? Yes, when I much later heard the words, 'Thank you for making me keep going with the music lessons.' Additional proof? Wikipedia’s entry for Sicamous, British Columbia, under notable natives: Carolyn Mark."

From Mark: “My mother gave me the mental confidence to try. She leads by example. After I graduated, she went back to school, became bilingual and taught French immersion. When computers came in, she took a diploma course in computers at U.B.C. and helped others [learn] how to use them. She always claims to not be musical, but honestly she sings everything all the time. It's a trait I picked up from her. It makes the whole world into one giant musical!”

Hannah Georgas

“My mom put me into piano lessons when I was really little. She would sit down at the piano with me every day and help me practice. She came to all of my lessons and would watch and learn what I was taught. I knew she always wanted me to do well. She put all of my sisters and myself into every extracurricular activity you can imagine. At one point I was synchronized swimming!

“I [also] love that mom loves to laugh really hard. It's the best thing to see her laugh uncontrollably. My whole family has a really good sense of humour and we all get a kick at trying to make each other laugh.”


From Rykka: “Growing up, my mom instituted a mandatory three-part harmony choir practice on the drive to elementary school (and back) nearly every day. She brought me to open mics in Vancouver starting when I was 14, she practically forced me to cold call for my first performances. She found a way for me to get out of high school a half year earlier so I could concentrate on music. Not to mention the following summer she drove me in a huge camper truck to folk festivals all the way from Vancouver Island to Regina to play the open stages and campgrounds there, too.

"I’ve never met anyone in my life as supportive of anything than my mom is of my music and she continues without fail. It’s such a deep, crazy support that runs strong even when I’m not.”

From Rykka’s mom: “Christina (Rykka) already had a vision when she was 10 years old. I remember her saying, ‘Mommy, when I grow up, I am going to be the lead singer in a band, I am going to audition musicians and they are going to play my songs.’ Two years later, I took her to Nelly Furtado at the Vogue, and as we were walking home arm in arm, she looked at me and said, ‘I can be just like Nelly, mom, I can write songs and sing!’ I said to her, ‘You should do it then Christina, you can do anything you want.’

“As soon as Christina turned 15, she walked alone from home to find a job. With her first paycheque she went to the pawn shop and bought herself a guitar. She played every day and I used to listen in at the closed door of her room.”

Shred Kelly

Sage McBride (vocals, keys)

From McBride: “On our first tour to Newfoundland in 2010 our van broke down and we had to borrow my parents’ Toyota Matrix to get us from Minaki, Ontario, to Toronto, and then to Newfoundland. We borrowed their car for a month and my mom drove a broken down old truck with brakes that were on the outs to get her 45 minutes to work every day so we could finish our tour. Awww mom! That's love.”

From McBride's mom: “There has always been an inner artist in Sage that we supported with wonder as we had an adventure camp and focused on outdoor activities. At seven, she wanted a piano and a Morris upright was advertised at her grandparents' general store. Five men, a barge trip to a remote island and hauling it over the rocky shorelines opened all our worlds to recitals, musicals and now so many Canadian musicians.”

Tim Newton (vocals, banjo, ukulele, guitar)

“My mom has always encouraged me to be musical. When I was five, she put me in a xylophone class and at age 10 I was taking piano lessons. When I bought a used drum set from my neighbor in grade nine, my mom put up with endless hours of after school practice and when I started playing the banjo and touring in a band, she has been only supportive. My mom was born in Regina and in our song ‘White River,’ which is about the family I come from, the lines ‘I am made of prairie’ and ‘I am nurse and I am wartime pilot’ is an ode to my mom.”

In The Hills by Shred Kelly

Jadea Kelly

"My mum was the first person to introduce me to vinyl and the ever so delicate needle of a record player. Through her collection I was introduced to Gordon Lightfoot’s ‘Carefree Highway,’ and Joni Mitchell’s ‘River.’ I have since stolen this collection, including my grandpa’s gigantic and startling Olivia Newton John discography."

Martha Wainwright

“I’m just slowly becoming my mother, sonically and emotionally and spiritually. I’ve always had a very distinct sound within the family. Well, everyone does. But it’s kind of an aggressive thing. We don’t exactly sound alike, but it’s like we’re from the same person. It’s like a giant matriarch has spawned us all.”

Divine Brown

“When I was about four years old, I was walking through the mall with my mother, and I saw a tiny electric organ that I had to have. I screamed until my mother bought it for me! I have been writing my own songs since then.

“I feel like having a mom who is a singer is like every teenager’s dream! But I'm one of the few teens whose dream actually came true — my mom is my best friend, and to be honest I don't know what I would do if I lost her. She is someone who I have a very special bond with, a bond that just cannot be broken! But that's my mom, the woman who I look up to and most importantly is my super woman. Without her, life wouldn't be the same. That's the kind of mom I want to be for my daughter.”

Hang out with me on Twitter: @_AndreaWarner


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