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!

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

Hello there,

Wishing you a happy holiday season. This week, I performed in Norwegian and I want to share it with you. To sing this lovely song by Grieg, I sought out the Norwegian Club of Toronto and now have made new friends (who were witness to my pronunciation at last night’s performance). What a lovely end to a lovely year.

I’ve also been writing some new pop songs and am including a video of my new song ‘Pull Me In’. Please prepare to hear completely contrasting performances — one video is pop and one is classical. Hope you enjoy both!

Thank you for all your support, and all the best for 2010!

Click here to watch:


Today, I was strolling on St. Clair and listening to this song by the great French band Noir Desir:

… and I noticed that the man walking ahead of me was walking in time to the beat of their song!  My music wasn’t very loud so there’s no way he could hear what I was listening to.  It was just a coincidence that he happened to be marching like a soldier to my favourite French band.

I started walking faster so that I was walking right behind him, and over the sound of my headphones, I could hear his footsteps hitting the pavement, adding to the backbeat of my song.  He turned the corner after a minute, and I nearly followed him in my distraction.  He didn’t miss a beat!

I don’t know about other musicians, but I think loving something too much (like music) can cause these quirks and quarks.  Where you pick up on things that they rest would dismiss as part of a normal day.

Here are my top three music nerd admissions:

1. Sometimes I harmonize with the vacuum – it’s like a bluegrass song.  The vacuum does two parts and I add the third.

2. There’s a little ditty that I hear on the subway, three notes that they play before a TTC announcement.  It sounds like the opening to my song ‘Make Believe’, and I have to refrain from breaking into song in front of my fellow passengers…

3. I beatbox in time with the turn signals when I’m in a car and waiting for the light to change…

What’s your music nerd moment?


With fellow music nerd and close friend C.C.

With fellow music nerd and close friend C.C.