Songwriter’s Circle with Pat Maloney & friends

Wednesday, August 13 at the Supermarket in Toronto.  9 pm PWYC

I will be performing with my band for the 25th annual celebration of the Toronto Fringe Festival this July.

Fringe Festival Toronto Music

It’s a FREE concert for all ages in the artist’s alley at Honest Ed’s on Bloor Street.  For more info, check the Toronto Fringe Festival website here.

Happy summer!

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I’ll be doing some Ontario tour dates with these wonderful folks next month:

Stacey Kaniuk and Ash & Bloom


November 9 – WILLIAMSFORD – The Williamsford Mill
November 22 – ST. CATHARINE’S – Mathay Cafe
November 29 – TORONTO – The Rivoli – *with full band!

and Port Perry and Hamilton shows to be announced soon!

Rivoli November 29 2012 Music

For future updates, please join the mailing list here.

See you in the clubs!

I’ll be at the Ontario Council of Folk Festivals annual conference this weekend in Mississauga.

Here’s my performance schedule (solo sets are in bold):


11:00 pm – Room 302 – Babes for Breasts showcase hosted by Ana Miura (songwriter in the round, solo set)
1:30 am – Room 311 – Limehouse Woolner Skye showcase (solo set)


11:30 pm – Room 311 – Limehouse Woolner Skye showcase (solo set)
1:30 am – Room 311 – Limehouse Woolner Skye showcase (solo set)
2:40 am – Room 206 – LAMApalooza II showcase (solo set)

In between sets of my songs, I’ll be accompanying Paul Woolner & Limehouse.

Here’s the lineup for our Limehouse Woolner Skye showcase in Room 311 (click for larger):

Poster designed by Amy Campbell.

I’m back from the 2011 Ontario Council of Folk Festivals conference in Niagara Falls, Ontario — and I am really missing the music!

When my friend dropped me off at home yesterday afternoon, I found myself immediately clapping along to a passing car’s blaring radio.  Music is everywhere it seems, but LIVE music is just.. something else.  An experience.

I had a wonderful time playing in a few private showcases and meeting many very nice people.  Here are some highlights for me (in no particular order):

– Late night jammin’ in the hotel hallway with friend Drew Gonsalves of Kobo Town, Trevor Mills and Raven Kanatakta of Digging Roots.  (Look for a new Kobo Town album in 2012.)

– Discovering a very cool group from Montreal called Tricot Machine.  Here’s one of the slower songs they played that I loved:

– Hearing and seeing the hurdy-gurdy for the first time, played by a talented trio from Peterborough.  Such a cool instrument..

– Catching up with Mr. Jason Wilson (would have been better if I heard him sing though – great songwriter / reggae artist)

– Hearing Kevin Fox play; great voice with cello and a looping station.  He performed a spellbinding cover of “River” by Joni Mitchell

– The Dardanelles – a great group from Newfoundland that plays traditional music.  Made me miss St. John’s!

– Singing along with Tannis Slimmon in one of the private showcases — I love her energy

– Getting goosebumps from Matt Andersen‘s powerful blues voice and guitar playing

I’m looking forward to October 2012 in Mississauga.  Until then, I have an album to finish!

MINI-TOUR May 2011:

We arrived in Kemptville, Ontario an hour before showtime, and I was immediately reminded of my hometown of Newmarket, Ontario.  When people think of Newmarket, they often mention the urban sprawl and the rush-hour traffic which can rival Toronto’s streets.  But I grew up in the old part of town; living out my teenage years on Main Street where my parents operated their second-hand bookshop.  Walking down that quaint main street would take you to a park called Fairy Lake.  The neighbourhood around Main St. kept its small-town feel while the suburbs and big-box stores multiplied around it.

I fell in love with Kemptville’s The Branch Organic Restaurant; a high ceilinged historic building with charming rustic decor:

The Branch’s owner, Bruce Enloe, is the co-author of “The Artful Vegan” cookbook.  I had a smoked tofu enchilada for dinner.  Yum!

The crowd was lovely, and many drove out from Ottawa to hear me sing.  Here is a photo from the end of the night:

* I’m happy to announce that I’ll be returning to Kemptville this August to play at Lock 17 Bistro on Saturday, August 13!
Thank you for the warm welcome, and I look forward to the next show.



My first trips to the city of Montreal were with my best friend and former bandmate Rachelle.  We were 18 years old, and in our province of Ontario, you had to be 19 to get into the bars.  So we drove out to Montreal (problem solved).

Since then I’ve been back to the city a number of times. It certainly has culture, shopping, beautiful neighbourhoods… really — what is there not to love about Montreal? We stayed in Côte-des-Neiges with a musical friend, Jon Davis.

I soundchecked at the Upstairs Jazz Bar at 2 pm and afterward went straight to Aux Vivres, a great vegan restaurant on Rue Sainte-Catherine. I had a vegan gyro sandwich, with vegan tzaziki. Delicious!

The concert at the Upstairs club was great — such a joy to play with two fantastic musicians: pianist Vanessa Rodrigues and bassist Tim Nolan. Vanessa is so talented; the crowd was mesmerized by her soloing both on piano and on the keyboard. We played songs off the first album, jazz standards, a swung version of the Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams”, and in the last set, the new original songs. I brought my beloved electric guitar out for this show:


The room was full, and I met people from all over the world –London, NYC, New Orleans, etc.. it was a great night.

Hoping to return this August!


Pierrefonds, QC…

I had a bit of time the next morning to relax before the evening show in Pierrefonds — I walked to a cafe in Cote-des-Neiges and sat down to finish Leonard Cohen’s first novel, The Favourite Game, while I sipped tea on a patio.  It all felt very Montreal-ish.


We drove through the suburbs in Pierrefonds until we found the St. David’s Parish Hall (home to the Side Door Coffee House nights).  In the daytime, the basement performance hall was like any church basement; in the evening, the stage, sound system and lighting transformed the space into a beautiful concert venue.  Very professional.  I was second in the lineup, and after playing my set, I enjoyed some great music first by Robert Atyeo, and then the group Swift Years.  Robert came up to me after my set and said he was “blown away” by my performance — it was so nice to hear this from a musician I respect!  His lyrics were crafty; his performance raw and moving (also very humourous at times):

Swift Years was terrific too; great musicianship – a rockin’ folk trio of mandolin, electric bass and acoustic guitar.  The mandolin player Bob Cussen was playing so fast and with such fervour.  When I complimented him after the show, he smiled and quipped that if I played mandolin for “100 years” like him, I could sound like that too.  I actually own a mandolin… maybe I will give it a try again…


Video from my performance will be up on the Side Door’s YouTube page.  Here is a another performance from that night by Swift Years:

Before leaving Montreal the next day, I spent some time with electronic music duo EZLV – we are collaborating on a track that will be released in the summer/fall.  Also got to hear my friend Jon perform some of his music at a funky cafe.

I can’t wait until the next mini-tour this August!  And the Maritimes this fall.

Thanks for reading,

At the beginning of the month, an interview and live performance was broadcast on CBC Radio 1 99.1 FM.

For fans of the Toronto Vegetarian Association, I was a guest on their podcast this month. You can hear it at the link below. We talk at great length about many things, and at roughly 14:30 I sing a live solo version of “Pull Me In” (to be on my new album “Wishing Tree”).

Also I was interviewed for the City of Toronto’s Live with Culture blog. Read it here:


A look back on 2010.  Happy new year!

Winterfolk Festival (photo: PJ Slack)

Canadian Music Week Festival (photo: Sevrina Fernandes)

Video shoot with Spencer Heath & Simona Mindy (photos: Simona Mindy)

Video still


Hemingway’s old haunt..

Sitges, Spain; close to Barcelona

After a soccer game in Barcelona!

Becel Ride for Heart – after the rain.  Thank you to my sponsors for helping me raise over 1,000!

Acoustic Beatles duo – me and Kevin Zarnett.  Fun fun fun.

Gigging with Limehouse & Jason Wilson (below)

‘Lara’ on the poster.. that’s okay, I’m used to it by now..

Windfall Ecology Festival show in Newmarket, Ontario

Toronto Jazz Festival & mandolin debut 🙂

I don’t think this record is going to play…

Canola fields forever…

This is Lake Huron, believe it or not.. beautiful!

That’s a LOT of balloons.  With Kevin Zarnett before performing acoustic Beatles songs for a cool crowd!

Recording with Limehouse

With Sunray Grennan

On tour in Portland, OR – waterfall…

Marquee in Seattle, WA

Vancouver, BC

The Cellar in Vancouver

CBC Taping with the band

Host Garvia Bailey

Beautiful, snowy Montreal

.. all the best for 2011!

– Larra

Last month, I began my first visit to the rainy city by watching the film ‘Sleepless in Seattle‘ on the plane ride over.  After the movie ended and my tears had dried, I glanced through the airplane window, and punched my boyfriend in the arm. “Look,” I said, “There’s a mountain above the clouds.”  Before us, a gorgeous sight to behold; a snow-covered Mount Ranier breaking up a line of fluffy, white nuages.  Breathtaking.

I fell in love with Seattle, with its signature Space Tower skyline, the plethora of lakes, the Dusty Strings guitar shop, Pike Market and the many, many vegan restaurants.  Since returning to Toronto, I have dreams about eating just one more vegan donut at Mighty-O in Wallingford (with sprinkles on top).


Two budget travellers drive at breakneck speeds from Toronto in order to catch a flight from Buffalo to Chicago, and Chicago to Seattle.  Arrived in Seattle in the evening only to discover our reserved rental car was SOLD OUT.  So we sulked and they gave us this:

I know what you’re thinking — pretty sexy ride, right?

We were exhausted from two plane rides, but that didn’t stop us from driving the minivan to our first VEGAN BAR, a very cool place called Highline.  It was Tuesday Karaoke night, and it was the rowdiest karaoke I’ve ever been to.  An angst-ridden version of Ace of Base’s “All That She Wants” had the crowd going wild.  We ordered vegan reuben sandwiches and “fish” n’ chips.  I think the bartenders were having a contest to see who could grow the longest dreads:


My friend Paul Mathew is a great bassist and all-round cool dude who is on tour with Canadian singer/songwriter Sarah Harmer right now.  So he got us tickets to her show at the Triple Door in Seattle, the day before my show.  Perfect timing!

We spent our daylight hours exploring the city by foot.  Had to visit Pike Market of course.

I’m not sure how many levels there are to Pike Market, but there are quite a few.  We went to the lower level, into a great record shop that sold vinyl, CDs, and also a full wall of cassette tapes (!).  An older gentleman was rifling through the tapes when we arrived.  We previewed and bought a Willie Nelson record to give to a friend.

Our visit to the Market was capped off with drinks from the original Starbucks store, where the coffee chain began many years ago.

In the evening, we went to see Sarah Harmer at the Triple Door.  What a club!  We were escorted to our seats, which were angled to the stage.  The club looked like a place where you might go to hear Frank Sinatra, like the Copacabana (the club was formerly a vaudeville theatre).  The opening act was a 2-man band called Bahamas, and the songs were quirky and great.

I love Sarah Harmer’s voice and melodies.  The band was tight; the sound was good and she played some songs I recognized.  I think the band felt a bit strange about playing to a seated dinner crowd, somewhere in-between a bar and a soft-seat theatre.  But they played a good set to a very appreciative Seattle crowd.  We had a quick beer with Paul and then the band was off to the next tour stop.


Almost showtime!

So the plan for breakfast was to have a donut or two at a vegan bakery called Mighty-O.  But somehow or another, the plan started to multiply into this:

2 people.  12 donuts.  Not all in one day of course.. that would be too gluttonous, even for us.  But let’s just say I had more than two (smiley face).

With our bellies full, we went to the Dusty Strings guitar shop to rent a guitar for my concert that evening.  On our way there, we were accosted by a troll under the bridge:

I made a decision not to fly across the country with my acoustic guitar.  She’s been through a car crash with me (survived with only one scrape), but I didn’t want to end her life on Alaska Air.  I’ve heard the song ‘United Breaks Guitars‘, and didn’t want to take a chance with checked baggage.  Plus it might  be hard to write lyrics that rhyme with ‘Alaska’.  So I decided to rent a Taylor guitar at Dusty Strings for my show.  Easy, peasy.

The gig was in Ballard, a pretty neighbourhood in west Seattle.  Before the show, we went to the Hiram M. Chittendem Locks.

The show was at Egan’s Ballard Jam House.  The owner/soundman was super friendly.  I shared the bill with a Seattle singer/songwriter named Tai Shan.  Tai put up this video of the show on YouTube:

After the show, I went to Lucid Jazz Lounge where I jumped in with the funky house band and started improvising vocal lines. It was late and we did an upbeat bluesy number together to close the night. A couple tangoed to the song. Very cool place.

Before we left, the drummer shook my hand, exchanged a few words about working together, and invited us to another late show. Turns out we were in Seattle for the Decibel Music Festival. So we followed him to a club called Neumos where DJ Flying Lotus from Los Angeles was performing. Our new friend spoke briefly to the bouncer, and before we knew it we were all three standing side-stage in the sweaty nightclub and dancing right next to the sound crew. The drummer dropped his sticks a few times by our feet. It was loud and too much fun (and we even ran into a friend from Toronto, who was in Seattle specifically for the Fest).

And so our trip ended on a high note.  THANK YOU, Seattle, for listening attentively to my music, for your radio station KEXP, and for your great vegan cuisine (especially the food at Wayward Cafe). I will be back, armed with my new album, in no time.


Tai Shan, for putting the show together

Jason Parker for recommending Dusty Strings to me!

Vegan Score blog, for writing about my Seattle show here