September’s Awesome Ottawa award goes to Paul Weber to support the free public release of songs about Ottawa past and present.
“On October 21, I will finally have a CD release for my album Ode to Gerry Barber. Song subjects include a famous local bouncer, the collapse of the Heron Road Bridge, the building of the Rideau Canal, Ottawa’s first train, homeless people on Murray Street, growing up in Eastview (now Vanier), the Great Fire of 1870, what it’s like to live in an Ottawa rooming house, and more,” Paul explains.
“Many of these stories are unknown to people in Ottawa, and many aren’t in the history taught in schools,” says Paul. “When I perform, I tell the stories behind the songs and I show videos linked to them. But to really reach people, I’d like to video record the show and make it available on Facebook and YouTube. This would be a great way to get the stories out and to celebrate our often stereotyped community.”
Paul is a bilingual singer, songwriter, guitarist, and storyteller—and also a federal public servant. Two of his songs were recently selected by the City of Ottawa for their Music on Hold program.
Awesome Ottawa is part of a global movement of self-organizing chapters forwarding the interest of awesome in the universe, $1,000 at a time. At each chapter, 10 or so “trustees” each contribute $100 every month, and review short applications received online to decide on the recipient of the pooled funds — usually a local project, but occasionally a particularly awesome one far away from home. Globally, close to $6 million has already been awarded—$156,000 of that by Awesome Ottawa. For more information, visit awesomeottawa.ca.