William Miller: “So Russell, what do you love about music?”
Russell Hammond: “To begin with, everything.” – Almost Famous (2000)
The ending scene in one of my favourite movies sums up the profoundness and impact that music has on our lives. My entire life has been a series of marked musical memories that have made up the songbook of my existence. The day I discovered rock ’n roll as a child; the first song I experienced my first kiss to, or ever played on my first guitar; to the day I decided to become a professional singer. But on a grander scale, music is also a powerful tool that can deliver a message to the world, and is the one true common denominator that has the ability to bring people together.
Looking back as a singer/songwriter for over 20 years, music has grown from the earlier stages of my being a listener, a dancer, and a singer, into creating songs, writing music articles, and even capturing its pure onstage magic with photography. And now, I’ve been able to go one step further by showcasing other artists while giving back to my community, with the creation of this wonderful sisterhood coalition called Maiden Canada.
Maiden Canada began as a conversation one night over drinks between myself, and two of my musician friends, Tara Heft and LeeAnn McLellan. The three of our bands had supported one another in the past by staging double or triple-billed shows throughout venues in the city. We talked about the wealth of other talented local female songwriters that exist, and how great it would be to offer them a platform to also showcase their efforts, while collecting for various women’s charities. Within a few short hours, the idea of Maiden Canada came to fruition, and since its inception in April of 2016, we have spotlighted over 18 Ottawa female songwriters, while having supported several women’s charity organizations in the process.
The latest development in Maiden Canada welcomes our newest member to the fold: Leslie Rohonczy, another very talented singer/songwriter who has had many irons in the fire on Ottawa’s music scene over the years. Together, we’d like to present “Purse Power” – a musical event being held at LIVE! On Elgin which will feature three female-fronted original bands: Leslie Rohonczy Band, Mystara, and O Neptune. There will be no cover. Instead, the idea is for people to bring a new or gently used purse filled with anything a woman might need: toiletries, personal hygiene items, gloves, socks, chapstick, etc. All purses collected at the door will be brought to various women’s shelters across town before Christmas. Come experience some great music, and the spirit of giving.
Maiden Canada’s “Purse Power” event will be held at LIVE! On Elgin Thursday December 14 at 8pm. Doors open at 7:30pm. Instead of cover, Maiden Canada is asking you to bring a new or gently used purse filled with anything a woman might need: gloves, socks, tissues, feminine hygiene products, chapstick, etc.