Stories From Home - Tamar Ilana

Every week, we ask a different local artist to provide their unique perspective on the pandemic experience from a musician’s point of view. Through words, video and music, each musician will share their story, along with an audio or video sample of a recent project, and a link to purchase their music so that you can support their work.

This week, singer, dancer, bandleader and organizer Tamar Ilana talks about learning to go it alone, learning new skills, and becoming a presenter.

"Living through the pandemic has completely changed the way I approach my work on many levels. I am a touring artist and bandleader. I sing in multiple languages and dance flamenco. I plan tours and perform live and have been doing so since I could walk. When my slate was wiped clean, I had to completely change my approach to be able to produce high quality online content. I am now more comfortable singing to a camera than a person! I got a job doing social media for Luminato. I started playing solo electro-acoustic sets without a band. I co-founded a presenting arts organization. I drove across the country playing solo sets from remote places using MiFi. Basically, my whole life changed, while simultaneously not changing at all.

I learned how to play solo sets for the first time, something I have aspired to my whole life but never had the time to do. Using a looper, drum machine and keys, or even just a looper and some percussion, I can now play a full show by myself, incorporating harmonies, dance, beats and melody, and I love it! This gives me the freedom to perform anytime, anywhere, without relying on anyone else. Although of course I miss my full band, Ventanas. I also learned a lot from joining the marketing team at Luminato - how to best engage with online audiences on an ongoing basis, for example. Finally, I learned how to found a company and about OBS live streaming. I learned a ton and I'm still learning!

My solo set - TICA - has emerged. I also further developed an electro-acoustic trio version of the set with long time band mates Demetri Petsalakis and Jaash Singh. And of course, I co-founded FabCollab.ca with my partner Ali Wasti, Producer Lia Grainger, Musical Director Justin Gray and Videographer Mike Fisher. We have thrown three large scale concerts under the name "Women in Song" during the pandemic, launched an ongoing interview series on IGTV called Curtain Call, and host a monthly electro-acoustic event called Girls with Gear on a new platform by Artery called Bramble. It is non stop and I love it. I love being on stage and I love producing shows. This is my main conclusion from the past year."

Support Tamar by purchasing her music at Bandcamp: ventanas.bandcamp.com.

Here's Tamar's performance as part of the URGNT series from June, 2020:

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