Leela Gilday + Ellen Hamilton = Awesome

One thing I’m still getting used to is the small community feel of events up here. It’s very foreign to me. I come from the big city where everything has to be larger than life. I’ve seen bands like Rage Against the Machine & White Zombie at the Continental Airlines Arena, Stone Temple Pilots at Nassau Coliseum and  Metallica at the Garden with thousands of people on hand and yet this tiny little venue – inside a high school – left more of an impression on me than any of those mega-showcases. The Alianait Concert Series opened up this past Saturday (March 19th) at Inuksuk High School and drew in a  family friendly crowd of maybe 125 people (give or take a dozen… my estimations are awful). That totally blew my mind because you had practically every age represented there – something you don’t usually get at other concerts. I didn’t know what to expect prior to going. As mentioned before I hadn’t been to a concert since Massive Attack last year and I had no idea about the style of music other than a snippet I had heard while attending a craft’s fair with Suzanne. Nothing beats live music though so I knew we wouldn’t be disappointed.

The opening act was a wonderful music artist from right here in Iqaluit named Ellen Hamilton. Forgive me all of you who read this and have known about her forever. I write this primarily for the those who haven’t been put on to her yet. Again I should be shot for not knowing about these ladies because she was quite impressive in her showing. She’s classified as Folk / Adult Contemporary but she’s got a bit of a rocker’s heart in her as well. The one time lead singer for Night Sun has a rich and soulful voice and you can tell her songs come straight from the heart. She has a lot of passion in her lyrics and conveys it well with her on stage presence. You don’t have to like a particular style of music in order to like her. If you like music you’ll like Ellen Hamilton. She’s having a CD release concert for “Distant. Early. Warning” at the Francophone Center on March 26th at 7:30pm (for those few locals who actually read this blog). Check her website for further details and updates.

Leela Gilday was up next. It’s hard to use words to describe this talented young lady (but I’ll try). I didn’t know it while I was sitting there but she was standing behind us for a while prior to Ellen leading off. All I knew was just that there was this gorgeous chick behind me with a smokin’ outfit on. All my concert experience taught me that the musicians never really associated with the fans on a one-on-one basis. I didn’t put one and two together that this was actually the star of the night just hanging out and mingling with everyone. This is just a portion of the magnetic appeal this incredible performer has. She’s not above her own popularity and is as humble as anyone can be.

When she took the stage she immediately blew me away with vocal range. Her voice is golden and the sheer power can get your inner groove child dancing and have you foot stomping and head bobbing instantly. Her style is sort of an Arctic Mystic Acoustic Cowboy Folk Rock with a side order of Rhythm and Blues. Yeah I know. I should write for Rolling Stones magazine with descriptions like that but that’s what I got from it. Together with her equally talented bandmate Jason Burnstick their sound is one that takes from many different genres and in turn creates a whole new unique listening experience.  She connected with the crowd on a level I haven’t seen in a long time with a sort of giddy girl-next-door type of attitude. She joked, laughed and even got flustered on occasion due to the outpouring of support and cheers she received. All too often you see artists treating their craft as a job as opposed to something they love doing. This woman is all about the music and pours her heart into every note. She has one of those rare and stunning voices that sounds better in person than even remastered and reworked in a studio. Her wicked rendition of “One Drum” had the audience singing along with her. The few of us in the back were drunk off clean air, happiness and good music and were swaying arms and raising lit cellphones & cameras in tribute to her and earned us the dubious title of The Rowdies.

That was definitely one of many great nights we’ve been having up here. Whenever you can run into friends and hear some good music is always a recipe for success. I thank Leela and Ellen for opening our ears up to a whole new treasure trove of great music.


5 responses

  1. Thanks for telling me about Ellen Hamilton, Ian…will check her out! I discovered Leela Gilday on CBC Radio a few months ago, and immediately added her to my list of “Musicians I Like.” It sounds like she’s as nice as her voice is beautiful!

    Glad you guys had a good time at the concert…there’s nothing better than a show where the musicians are enjoying themselves!


    March 22, 2011 at 1:42 pm

    • I’m more than happy to spread the word about good artists. We’ll see about buying a couple copies of her new CD at the release concert and send one your way.

      March 22, 2011 at 3:34 pm

      • Thanks, Ian…I just listened to a clip of EH, and loved it! That would be really nice to have a CD…I haven’t gotten any new music for a while! Thanks again!


        March 22, 2011 at 5:28 pm

  2. I’m so with you on artists who enjoy what they do. It is almost sad to see someone musically talented who seems like they’re mechanical in their approach.

    Sounds like a great night!

    March 21, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    • Totally.

      They were both infectious with their enthusiasm and passion. It was like impossible to not enjoy yourself. Truly great performers that I’ll shamelessly plug any day of the week. 😉

      March 21, 2011 at 2:42 pm

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