Pat Blythe – Mariposa …Final Hours, Melody Makers …and Music!

Today is a “schlep day”. One of those days when you roll out of bed two hours later than you wanted after a fabulous night listening to some funky, smooth jazz courtesy of Eddie, Quincy and Tre-Michael Bullen along with guests saxophonist Rob Christian and bassist Etric Lyons (Kush).

Your feel hit the floor and you wonder if anyone got the number of that truck that just sideswiped you as you stumble into the shower and just stand there.  One look in the mirror and those racoon eyes tell you the makeup didn’t come off last night before you fell asleep and the hair…..oh lord…..the hair….. Soaped and rinsed, schlep day means no bra, no makeup, one extra extra large t-shirt, feet up and coffee in hand…..I ain’t fancying up for nobody. Now it’s time to complete my weekly music musings.

We’re on to Day Three of a weekend of music. After the previous evening’s show with the surprise appearance of Gordon Lightfoot followed by Tom Cochrane with Red Rider popping eardrums eight miles out, the joy of photographing close friend Julian Taylor and his band and dancing around the stage to those glorious summer songs…..let’s see what Sunday holds.

Guess who I saw backstage….Carol Pope

I must confess, after 36 out of the last 48 hours on my feet, trotting from stage-to-stage, this Sunday morning my body was begging me to remain prone for at least another hour…..or ten. “Do you want the washroom first?” Nope. I think I’ll lie here and hope you are in the shower for more than five minutes. I’m just going to rest my eyes for a moment. Zzzzzzzzzzzz……….

Sunday morning congregation at the Estelle Klein stage

After bottomless cups of coffee Sandy and I hit the festival grounds at precisely 11am, just in time for gospel hour at the Estelle Klein stage. It’s all I can do to find a good camera angle. The grounds and the area around the stage are crammed with bodies. Wide swaths of early morning risers have decided to celebrate a new day with song. Joining Shakura S’Aida and that marvelous voice of hers are Terra Lightfoot, The Ennis Sisters and Martin Sexton to harmonize and lead the way into a gloriously sunny Sunday.

l-r – Martin Sexton, The Ennis Sisters, Terra Lightfoot

Then it was over to the Barnfield Stage for “a little bit more” Julian Taylor who was accompanied by Gareth Perry on lead guitar. Sharing the stage was Jennifer Castle. I barely caught the last few minutes of the LYNNeS just prior to the Taylor and Castle show. Nipped over to the Mariposa Pub Stage to see Danny Michel and then headed back over to the Estelle Klein Stage to catch The Suitcase Junket. Pit stop required at Sweet Dreams Ice Cream for an energy boost. By 4pm I put myself on pause and actually closed my eyes in the “green room” for about 30 minutes, lounging in a breezy and relatively quiet spot. With feed propped up on another chair it’s amazing how pillow-like a camera bag can be. Dinner at 5pm, Digging Roots on the Main Stage at 5:50, scooted back over to the Mariposa Pub Stage to catch Mexican act Los Pachamama y Flor Amargo and the evening is off and running….and so am I.

l-r – Julian Taylor, Jennifer Castle, The Lifers (Live & Anita Cazzola)

Digging Roots…..

A moment on stage between husband and wife Shoshona Kish (l) and Raven Kanatakta (r)

Los Pachamama y Flor Amargo…..

Los Pachamama y Flor Amargo

I finally have the chance to hear to the woman who needs no mic, whose commanding voice reaches across the far points of the festival….Shakura S’Aida. From Brooklyn to Switzerland she calls Canada home. S’Aida has received several Maple Blues Award nominations over the years, winning Female Vocalist of the Year in 2010. Prior to her solo career, S’Aida was lead vocalist for the 13-piece world music ensemble Kaleefah and received a Juno Award nomination for her work with them. She owns the stage and the audience. Her resonating bluesy, sexy, spiritual voice can envelop you like a soothing blanket or pierce right through you, setting your ears on fire, demanding your undivided attention. Multi-linguist, international artist, S’Aida is a consummate performer who leaves no audience unaffected and every audience wanting more… don’t want to miss a note.

(I love shoe shots and I love these shoes)

Mike Celia and Alysha Brilla

Following S’Aida were Colter Wall, Jason Isbell and closing off the weekend and the night, My Son The Hurricane, a vibrant, colourful and simply crazy 14-piece group that just seems to work. Their energy was explosive and spread like a tidal wave over the crowd. As far as the eye could see people were up and dancing.  Loads of brass and a “mountain” of funk, their mantra is “anything worth doing is worth overdoing.” With a voice coming at you from the 1930s through your grandma’s gramophone or rapping or harmonizing , a most unusual conglomeration of talent. I must confess I folded near the end of their show and decided to head back to hotel before I fell over (and the masses left all at once). A tad punch drunk, my bed was beckoning. Yes……I do get tired and yes…..I do actually require sleep. The batteries need recharging once-in-a-while or the charge starts to slowly peter out.

Jason Isbell with Amanda Shires

Amanda Shires

My Son The Hurricane…..

Sylvie Kindree

Colour and crowds

My absolute favourite moment…..Wandering through the merch tent and being captivated by The Ennis Sisters as they break into the most exquisite harmony, all for one gentlemen of a certain age who was extremely disappointed he had missed their performances. The sisters graced him with his own private little concert. What a thoughtful, beautiful moment and a memory I’m sure he will never forget. I know I won’t.

The Ennis Sisters

Summary….an extraordinary weekend, splendid weather you couldn’t barter a better deal with the devil for, mind-blowing music, kudos to all the volunteers and to those who decide what entertainment our ears will delight in year after year, the lost-kid finders, the artisans, food alley, the cleanliness and co-ordination….and did I mention the food…. Stellar year everyone. Thank you!!


Toronto premier night, Friday, July 12 at the Royal Theatre….I’m the official photographer for this event.  Melody Makers: You Should’ve Been There…..a ten-year labour of love and frustration, of ups and downs (and sometimes going sideways)…..has produced a brilliant depiction of the explosion of music and bands during the 60s and 70s as seen through the lens of photographer Barry Wentzell and the pages of THE leading edge, premier music publication during that time…..Melody Maker.

Barry Wentzell

l-r – Leslie Ann Coles, Danny Marks (who emceed the event), Dave Barrett

Q&A time after the show

Producer/director Leslie Ann Coles has beautifully captured the heartbeat of the times through photographs and live interviews with the artists and Melody Maker staff of the day. The documentary opens your eyes to all the craziness, the fun, the insanity, the excess, how the music was created and the artists who created it and possibly answers why there are so many of us who remain rather nostalgic for those times. We can never go back but we can certainly enjoy it one more time (and maybe even learn something) through this beautifully crafted documentary.  I’ve seen it twice and would go back to see it again and again.

If you want to relive the times the 93-minute director’s cut of the movie ($5.99) is available here Coles has also created an interactive iBook so if you want to test your skills and music knowledge, the iBook is available from the Apple iTunes store.


A new discovery…..or rather introduction…..


“Victoria Distillers of British Columbia has released Empress 1908 Gin, an all-natural, indigo blue spirit. During distillation, an infusion of butterfly pea blossom creates a distinctive hue. With the addition of citrus or tonic, Empress 1908 is transformed from indigo blue to monarch purple and then rose petal pink. Victoria Distillers is well-known in British Columbia as the producer of the second best-selling premium gin behind Hendricks. The eight organic botanicals in Empress 1908 are: juniper, rose, coriander seed, grapefruit peel, ginger root, cinnamon bark and the Fairmont Empress tea blend.”

I feel like a betrayer but this just may supersede my all time fav….Bombay Sapphire……and shockingly, IT’S CANADIAN!!!! It’s so smooth (not to mention my favourite colour). Add some fresh mint leaves, a slice of lemon, Canada Dry tonic water and…..mmmmmmm the best and most refreshing summer drink out there. Many, many heartfelt thanks to my good friend, Ginevere of Tonicum, Jain McMillan, who gifted me a bottle of this lovely lavender-coloured elixir. The photo? Research and quality control of course.

The Devil Only Knows My First Name – Shakura S’Aida

Your Light – The Ennis Sisters

This Is Not a Love Song – Shakura S’Aida

Recipe for Disaster – The LYNNeS

Smile – My Son The Hurricane

If We Were Vampires – Jason Isbell

Cover Me Up – Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires

Hwy 17 – Digging Roots

A friend introduced me to this movie and particularly this song….by the time I finished watching this video and listening to the exquisite version of this song tears were streaming down my face.

Let It Be (Across The Universe)

I’ve met or run into Jay Sparrow a number of times throughout my induction back into the music scene. A talented (that’s an understatement) singer/songwriter/guitarist (and so many other things), truly Canadian, a genuinely nice person and a creative force, Sparrow last release Bluebird, was recorded in 2014. He has since built a multi-channel network app called Record Mob which, according to his website, “is home to so many creative people and projects from around the world.”

Although this is a few years old, it’s just now popping up on my IG feed. Filmed in Paris at the Sacre Coeur Basilica, Until We Run Out is a powerful piece.

Until We Run Out – Jay Sparrow

Cold Winter Song – Jay Sparrow

Broken – Seether

It’s super late on a Wednesday evening so I better quit now. It’s been a fun but busy past few days which pushes this column forward (or backward depending on your perspective). Enjoy the fantabulous summer sunshine and heed the call of the BBQ and the outdoors.

Cheers! (literally)

All photographs ©2019 Pat Blythe, A Girl With A Camera


Pat’s column appears every Wednesday.

Contact us at:

dbawis-buttonIn “real” life Pat Blythe has spent the past 32 years as a consultant and design specialist in the telecommunications industry. After an extended absence Pat is now heading back to the GTA clubs, immersing herself in the local music scene, tasting what’s on offer, talking to people and writing once again — sharing her passions and her deep love of music. Together for 34 years, Pat also worked alongside her late husband Christopher Blythe, The PictureTaker©, who shot much  of the local talent (think Goddo, Frank Soda Little Red-headed dancing girland the Imps, Plateau, Buzzsaw, Hellfield….) as well as national and international acts,  Currently making her way through 40 years of Chris’s archives, Pat is currently compiling a photographic history of the local GTA music scene from 1975 to 1985. It continues to be a work in progress. Oh…..and she LOVES to dance!

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