Juno Award Nominee Amanda Rheaume Co-Writes and Performs Virtual Duet With Australian Artist Monique Clare
By Jeff Morris
Barrhaven singer/songwriter Amanda Rheaume is one of nine Canadian artists featured in an international collaboration spearheaded by Folk Music Canada.
Rheuame, a former Juno Award nominee and a member of the first over graduating class at John McCrae Secondary School in Barrhaven, partnered with Australian musician Monique Clare to write and record the song ‘I’ve Been Gone’.
“It sounded like a really fun project,” Rheaume said. “I thought it would be cool to work with someone far away. I was excited when I found out I was chosen for the project.”
On June 11, Folk Music Canada (FMC) released nine original songs as part of the International Collaboration Recording Export Program. From a call for submissions, FMC selected nine Canadian export-ready folk musicians and partnered them with nine international folk artists/bands from Australia, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Iceland and Sweden. The goal was to help artists grow their international presence and networks during a time when touring is not possible.
“We understand the impact this time has had on creation and the live showcase model,” said FMC Executive Director Karrnnel Sawitsky. “This project has fostered a meaningful connection from across the globe; allowing for remote creations between artists with distinct perspectives and styles.”
FMC wanted to set the artists up for success in the remote collaboration process, thus all participants are financially compensated, with all production and promotion costs covered, and the rights of each song are retained by the artists. The collaborative recordings will be promoted on a global scale as a means of export for these Canadian Folk artists and to celebrate the importance, diversity, and cultural value of folk music in Canada.
“I was paired with Monique Clare, and we had never met,” Rheaume said. “We spent time on calls and on Zoom, and worked like any other co-write, except for the fact that she was in Australia and I was here.”
Rheaume said they worked very well together.
“Monique had this really great riff on her rhythmic cello, and we built around that,” she said. “She sent me her cello part, and that was the meat of the song.”
The entire project was done by the two musicians from their homes, with their computers. Clare sent her part to Rheaume, who would record over top of it and send it back. The recording went back and forth until they had a finished product.
Rheaume was not the only area artist to be a part of the collaboration. Leith Ross of Manotick was part of the project and recorded ‘I Remember’ with Ida Wenøe of Denmark.
While the pandemic has forced many artists to record and perform virtually, Rheaume says there is nothing like working with live musicians in studio or on stage. She was in Toronto last week to work on her new album, which will be her sixth. She is hoping to release a single in the fall with the album coming out next year.
“There is a magic that happens when people play with each other in real time,” she said. “In Toronto, I will be playing with musicians, and even though we will be in booths and wearing masks, it will be special to be playing together.”
Rheaume’s collaboration with Clare and the other songs from the project can be heard on the FMC website at folkmusiccanada.org.
FMC is a member-driven organization that supports and promotes the Canadian folk music community and is dedicated to raising awareness about the importance, diversity, and cultural value of all types of folk music in Canada. Founded in 2000, FMC operated for nearly a decade as ‘Folk Alliance Canada’, changing its name in 2009 and establishing a strategic plan in 2011. FMC is committed to the principles of inclusion, diversity, equity, and access in the folk music sector, the arts sector overall, and throughout all of society. FMC has adopted the Canadian Code of Conduct for the Performing Arts for all activities.