is a talented and experienced singer living in Ottawa, Ontario, with a broad range of performance experiences.
The general information about Maura’s work remains true but the activities have had to be modified for the pandemic.
Meanwhile, join Maura on zoom through Folk at the Oak or songcircle, details below.
The shows and classes and groups will all resume when it is safe to do so.
Although she has explored many styles, she is essentially a tradition bearer, and her focus is traditional folk songs, mainly in English, some in French. Most of them were collected in Canada, with some from the British Isles and the U.S.A. She often sings unaccompanied but also collaborates with other musicians. Maura is passionate about traditional folk music, and enjoys bringing back into oral tradition songs that were once widely sung in Canada but have since been forgotten. She delves into folklorists’ collections, learning from the page and also from field recordings whenever possible. She believes the songs work best when sung in the traditional manner. These songs tell stories, and we hear the stories better when the presentation is simple.
Maura believes that group singing is a powerful tool for building community, and that folk songs are very well suited to this process. Folk songs are clear in their meaning and they have simple tunes and often repetitive choruses that can easily be learned orally. Maura is a strong advocate for inclusionary processes, and every performance or workshop is an opportunity for everyone in the room to be part of it. Maura creates an encouraging atmosphere, relaxed and accepting of every voice. In teaching situations, Maura focuses on strengthening the inborn abilities we all have to sing for ourselves, our families and our communities.
Maura is available for small and large groups, for performances, camps and workshops. She customizes her offerings to suit the situation, with the solid base of folk tradition unifying all her work. Please contact Maura to facilitate singing for your group. If you want to bring participatory singing to your events, See Learn page for more detail on how this can be organized.
Maura also teaches and calls contra dancing and simpler forms of traditional dancing suitable for all ages, often incorporating group singing into the dancing through the use of play party songs, which are sung by the whole group as they dance. See the Dance page for more details.
For a list of past performances and dances, see the Bio page.
For information about upcoming events in which Maura is singing or calling, see the Events page.
And check out the Watch page to see and hear Maura in some of her past performances.
Local Singing Opportunities: Ottawa Area
Some activities have continued in different ways. This list will be left here because it will be accurate once we start gathering again.
There are more opportunities than ever in and around Ottawa for those who love folk music. Maura participates in many informal folk singing events which are open to all. Here is a list of some of these opportunities:
Log Drive Café
Maura and partner Ranald Thurgood started up a folk coffeehouse in 2012, called The Log Drive Café and ran it for six years. It is now under the directorship of Chrissy Steinbock. This monthly Friday evening gathering features a variety of local performers doing traditional and contemporary songs. All shows welcome audience participation. The Log Drive Café has its own website: http://logdrivecafe.wordpress.com. Check it out for coming events.
There were livestream shows for a while, and then hybrid shows last summer and fall, from the porch at the NECTAR Centre. Check the website as the weather warms.
The Log Drive Café presented Maura & Fern Volante & Ranald Thurgood on the porch on September 19, 2020. The Youtube link is still active so you can catch the show anytime.
Folk at the Oak
After a few live sessions during the more clement weather, Folk at the Oak is back to zoom. It runs 2 to 4 pm, monthly on the 2nd Sunday. Contact Maura for access link.
And join Folk at the Oak at Home on facebook for sharing home videos.
Second Sunday of each month (except July and August), 2 to 4 pm
Royal Oak Pub by the Pretoria Bridge, upstairs
A project of the Old Sod Society (the organization that runs the contra dance series—the event is also on the ottawacontra website), this session is hosted by Neville Miller. You sign up if you want to perform. The emphasis is on traditional folk songs and there are many opportunities to sing along.
Almonte Trad Sing
There are no plans for this to go online. We will meet again at the Barley Mow when it is safe to do so.
Fourth Sunday of each month (except July and August), 2 to 4 pm
Barley Mow Pub, Almonte, upstairs
This session, run by David Baril, runs as a songcircle. The emphasis is on traditional or traditional style folk songs, and people are encouraged to know their songs before they come, so lyric sheets are discouraged.
We are continuing to meet twice a month on Zoom. If you are interested in joining us that way, get in touch.
First and Third Fridays of each month in various homes
This is a friendly and inclusive gathering. We start with an optional potluck dinner at 6:30, followed by singing from about 7:30 to 11:00 pm. We go around the circle of those present. When it is your turn you may sing a song alone, lead a song others can sing with you, request a song or pass. You don’t have to know your songs, though it helps if you have sung them before. Lyric sheets and songbooks are used by some. Instruments are also welcome though not required. Any kind of song is allowed, but most of the songs you will hear are folk songs and older pop songs. If you contact Maura she will get your name added to the email list so you will receive information before each songcircle with the name and address of the host and directions to the house.