Saturday, June 17, 2023
06:30 pm - 09:00 pm
In a world where language is forged as rushed texts and tweets, Toronto-based singer-songwriter Shawna Caspi takes her time crafting lyrics that are poetic and meaningful, often using unusual rhymes and surprising turns of phrase. She delights in nuance and detail – the way words sound, the way they’re shaped, the way they roll around on the palate. Her songs resonate with stories that are relatable, but told in new and unexpected ways.
Shawna spent years on the road playing festivals, concert halls, train cars, backyards, and living rooms, drawing energy from shifting landscapes and long drives through Canada and the United States. Those solo shows and unpredictable tours taught her how to be flexible and resilient in art and in life. Shawna is a skilled guitarist, supporting her warm, clear voice with intricate fingerstyle accompaniment. This is music that makes an authentic human connection, that conveys a sense of closeness, of being understood, of feeling less alone.
After touring her last album relentlessly, Shawna took a break to rest, reflect, and focus on songwriting. It was in those moments of stillness and solitude that she confronted her own experience of burnout, anxiety, and struggle with self-worth. In working through the shadowy parts of herself, Shawna discovered more ways to practice gratitude and appreciate little victories. This process of slowing down and looking inward resulted in her most raw, honest, and personal writing.
Shawna’s new album, Hurricane Coming, reveals a collection of songs that lie close to the heart, set against a backdrop of colourful and cinematic soundscapes, featuring a talented team of musicians who bring these rich sonic worlds to life. A story unravels – it begins with a breakdown, a vow to leave the past behind, then pauses for reflection, asks questions of trust, comfort, and belonging, follows the search for strands of gold, to conversations with old flames, through the swell of confidence that comes in the course of healing, and ultimately, to the acceptance of love and moving forward.
In addition to the music, Shawna also created original abstract artwork inspired by each song on the album. Known for her realistic depictions of scenic landscapes, these paintings are a stylistic departure from Shawna’s work as a visual artist. Much like the songwriting process that led to Hurricane Coming, these paintings combine the contraction of form and structure with the freedom of intuition and experimentation. Hurricane Coming is available as a CD, which includes Shawna’s artwork in the album design, and as a series of postcards featuring the paintings inspired by each song.
Hurricane Coming was nominated for a Canadian Folk Music Award for Contemporary Album of the Year and an Ontario Folk Music Award for Album of the Year, and Shawna’s songs have won awards from Folk Music Ontario and the Songwriters’ Association of Washington. She strives to tell the truth, even when it’s uncomfortable, to empower listeners to come to terms with the parts of themselves and the world that they might find scary, and to look for hope in the dark.