Pat Blythe – Women of The Traps Finale – Part Four and Music…


But first……

Excitement, elation, anticipation (with a dash of skepticism) followed by heartbreak, letdown, expectations and hope dashed….all in the span of 24 hours. Sound dramatic? It was actually. (It’s that emotional 5-year-old inside me) Cause? For the first time in my career as a photographer a selection of my photographs were about to be published in a national newspaper…the Toronto Star! Skepticism? The photo credit. It began with vagaries followed by  a number of confirmations (not without some prodding at my end) letting me know everything was well in hand. Well… can guess the rest. I opened the paper and my name was nowhere to be found, but someone else’s was…..

Not a unique situation, actually quite the opposite. In far too many cases, care and due diligence are tossed out the window (or ignored altogether) and the reasons or excuses don’t really matter. Now I’m not the first, nor will I be the last this happens to, and whether it’s an honest mistake or not in no way justifies the error. Trust is lessened. Yes, I was (and am) thrilled someone liked my photos enough to not only complement me on my work but to actually select four out of seven for publication. Yes, an online correction was made albeit three days later (no print correction I’m aware of) but only after I personally visited The Star building. Yes, a good thing was done for Black History Month and the particular benefit the pictures were taken at and for (although that information was also missing ). Positives all. This does not, however, make the issue any less impactful when every time I look at the print version I see someone else’s name. Yep, the proverbial pin in the balloon.

My point here is not to lay blame but to make you all aware that consideration, care, follow-up and due diligence are paramount in any line of work. “Ooops”, “I left the message”, “I sent the email” and “I’m so sorry” don’t cut it. Neither do comments like the old fallbacks “we all make them”, “shit happens”, “it’s nothing major” (I beg to differ) and my all time favourite “nobody’s perfect” (really!!!). Now, to those of you who don’t read your entire emails or memos, see the text or check your voicemails, “There is no defence. Clean up your act.” Finally, to those of you requesting the changes, leaving the messages, etc., “you don’t leave it to chance and walk away assuming someone notices.” Careful attention to detail is warranted, particularly the follow up, especially in unique situations. (In this particular case the other photographer has never used another photographer’s photos…..ever, so the credit change would have been unexpected).

We don’t always have control, on many levels, but something like this could easily have been avoided. Takeaways? Follow up. Pay attention and NEVER ASSUME…..a little care goes a long way.

…..and now the ladies….a finale with a focus on local

This the last in a four-part series on “the ladies who drum”. There are so many of you around the world, true artists of your chosen profession. It would be impossible to tell everyone’s story but I hope the lives and stories I’ve highlighted have provided a glimpse of the profusion of talent, opening up eyes and ears to their music. The influence these and other women have had, and continue to have, as role models and teachers, encouraging and promoting the next generation of women of music is heard around the world.

To some of those very high-profile artists who employ, encourage and promote the women of music I applaud you.

David Bowie – Gail Ann Dorsey (Bowie’s bassist for 20 years)

Wrecking Crew – Carol Kaye (also ranked by many as the number one bassist in the world)

Prince – Sheila E (drums/percussion); Rhonda Smith (bass)

Eagles of Death Metal – Jennie Vee (bass); Samantha Maloney (drums)

Motley Crew – Samantha Maloney (drums)

Lenny Kravitz and Santana – Cindy Blackman (drums)

Jeff Beck – Rhonda Smith (bass); Tal Wilkenfeld (bass)

Michael Jackson – Jennifer Batten (lead guitar)

Talking Heads/Tom Tom Club – Tina Weymouth (bass and founding member of Talking Heads)

Smashing Pumpkins/Hole – Melissa Auf der Maur (bassist)

Allman Brothers/Chick Korea – Tal Wilkenfeld (bass)

Gail Ann Dorsey

Sheila E

Carol Kay

Samantha Maloney

….and then there are the “all female” bands (Fanny, The Go-Go’s, The Bangles, Pussy Riot, The Runaways, The Raincoats, Warpaint) determined to pursue their dreams and desires to do what they love.  The bands where the ladies are in charge (Heart, Joan Jett and The Blackhearts, Suzie Quatro, Chrissie Hynde/Pretenders, Courage My Love). So you see, with all the testosterone strutting and poncing about on stage…. the estrogen crew is not just coming up behind you but surging ahead at full throttle….without the poncing.  I can’t compare the gals to the guys because the ladies, well they are simply incomparable.

Maureen  Brown

Toronto’s own Maureen Brown is an award-winning drummer (four-time Canadian blues drummer), vocalist (nominated for Female Vocalist of the Year – Maple Blues), percussionist, band leader (Maureen Brown & Big Hand, Maureen Brown Band), artist (painter), recording artist and writer. Big breath. She leaves everyone eating her dust. Classically trained, blues driven, Brown has performed with some heavyweights including Big Mama Thornton, Oscar Peterson, John Hammond, Otis Rush, Watermelon Slim….even the Edmonton Philharmonic Orchestra. Drumming for 30+ years, an interview with Sabian refers to Brown’s drumming style as “musical drumming that makes the music sound and feel great; the kind that makes you go ‘wow, nice grove’.”  Brown is married to well-known drummer, recording artist, drum teacher and author (Rick’s Licks) Rick Gratton. I can’t begin to imagine the drum-offs in that household.

Phoenix Arn-Horn

Elder twin (by 10 minutes) to lead-guitarist Mercedes, Phoenix Arn-Horn is the (heart)beat of the band. Although both sisters are classically trained in voice, cello, piano and guitar, Phoenix’s drumming is the backbone of Courage My Love, the band the sisters formed back in 2009 at the age of 15. Now, almost 10 years later, she is still custodian of the groove along with the pounding bass of Brendon Lockwood, matching her note for beat. The band’s home base is Kitchener, Ontario when they aren’t touring or recording. Social media savvy, the band has experienced some of their greatest successes by using the various platforms to interact with their fan base. Nominated for a Juno (Best Breakthrough Group of The Year) in 2014, Courage My Love has now released their second full-length album, Synesthesia, on the Warner Music label.  Focused more on the lyrics and music and less on the individual instruments, Phoenix and Mercedes write the majority of the material while Lockwood arranges, interprets  and adds his own unique sound. Phoenix, who announced her own “coming out” on social media in 2014, is a strong advocate for the LBGTQ community, offering support to young gay youth.

Zaynab Wilson

I first met Zaynab Wilson at a gig in Oakville when she was performing with Jason Wilson & The Perennials. An extremely talented musician….multi-award winning panorama  drummer, drummer, percussionist, pianist and vocalist, Wilson also holds a Bachelors in Music from Humber College. She began on the pan when she was five or six, segued into drums at the age of 12 when she picked up the sticks and taught herself a soca pattern she had heard her father play. Wilson holds percussion workshops whenever possible and is Director/Founder of  Your Time Music Programs designed tooffer students the opportunity to explore different musical styles, to meet and form bands with other students, to learn contrasting repertoire, record their preferred tunes with a professional studio engineer, and present their performance pieces at the final concert.” For additional information check out the site at With the travel itch never fully satisfied, she’s off on world adventures whenever possible.

Régine Chassagne

Founding member of Arcade Fire, musician/drummer Régine Chassagne is a multi-instrumentalist, known for playing the accordion, xylophone, keyboards, organ and hurdy-gurdy. Chassagne studied jazz vocals at McGill University and it was during one of her performances in 2000 she met Win Butler who persuaded her to join him and Josh Deu. The trio began recording demos and by the end of 2001 were performing live with membership in the band now expanded by four. Chassagne, who is of Haitian decent, co-founded Kanpe (Creole for “to stand up”), and along with Arcade Fire, continues to support Haitian people by raising awareness of the ongoing fight just to survive and the seemingly inescapable cycle of poverty the tiny country faces.

Although I know I’m not capturing the entire field of female drumming talent here’s a few more…..Toronto-based musician/artist/filmmaker G.B. Jones (ranked #46 in a list of history’s greatest drummers according to Ranker); solo artist and drum teacher Morgan Doctor, endorsed by Yamaha Drums she has released three albums through Aporia Records; Edmonton girl Mercedes Lander, founding member of the all-girl metal band Kittie, formed in 1996 when she was just 12-years-old and still together 22 years later; musician Lisa DalBello, multi-instrumentalist including drums, guitar, bass guitar, piano/keyboards and clavinet, nominated for several Juno awards throughout her career.

To all the women of music, I thank you, one and all!


There is a very important benefit coming up on March 22. United We Play will be taking place at The Hideout in Toronto in support of the Regent Park School of Music, a non-profit community music school. Jazz quartet The Strangers, comprised of 14-year-old jazz musicians, will be kicking off the evening’s event with Meg Moonbeam, Mimi O’Bonsawin and Sarah Smith rounding out the performances. To find out more about RPSM and to purchase tickets click here  GET OFF YOUR COUCHES!!!  Turn off that TV!!!! For a mere $15 come on out and support the kids while enjoying superb entertainment. ALL the talent are incredibly skilled performers, donating their time while encouraging the learning and education of our future musicians.

Sarah Smith

United We Play Benefit Concert

…..a now little music….

I absolutely love this song. Off their latest album Synesthesia

Stereo – Courage My Love

A rather funky, jazzy piece by Wilson, another “artistic” drummer….

Work and Play – Zaynab Wilson

One of my favourite performers, Sarah is amazing live!

Changing My Mind – Sarah Smith

Everything Now – Arcade Fire

Kim Wilson w/Maureen Brown – Barrie Bluesfest

…..a new discovery…for me anyway. I had no idea Jared Leto has his own band. Damn he’s good!

Closer To The Edge – Thirty Seconds To Mars

Stay – Thirty Seconds To Mars (Rihanna cover)


Photos of Zaynab Wilson, Sara Smith and Phoenix Arn-Horn are ©A Girl With A Camera “The Picture Taker”


Pat’s column appears every Wednesday.

Contact us at:

dbawis-button7“Music and photography….my heart, my passions.” After an extended absence —  33 years as a consultant and design specialist in the telecommunications industry — Pat has turned her focus back to the music scene. Immersing herself in the local club circuit, attending the many diverse music festivals, listening to some great music, photographing and writing once again, she is eager to spread the word about this great Music City of ours…..Toronto. Together for 34 years, Pat little-red-headed-dancing-girlalso worked alongside her late husband Christopher Blythe, The PictureTaker©, who, beginning in the early 70s, photographed much of the local talent (think Goddo, Frank Soda and the Imps, BB Gabor, the first Police Picnic, Buzzsaw, Hellfield, Shooter, The Segarini Band….) as well as national and international acts. Pat is currently making her way through 40 years of Chris’s archives, 20 of which are a photographic history of the local GTA music scene beginning in 1974. It continues to be a work in progress. Oh…..and she LOVES to dance! 


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