Ten minute tea with Afternoon Tea. Spend ten minutes with Afternoon Tea. In the time it takes to boil one kettle, and let one cup of tea steep, we will have your daily art + music fix covered. Take your afternoon tea break with our Afternoon Tea curators.
Today’s tea + soundtrack + visuals curated by Kalila Badali. Kalila is an alt-folk/art-pop singer-songwriter and psychotherapist based in Toronto. Aside from her solo project, Kalila is a lead vocalist and songwriter of the indie band, Shy By Shy. Music represents an ongoing avenue for Kalila to express her understanding of the world as a neurodivergent person.
Kalila wrote “Dotty Mae” after spending a whole summer working seven days a week as a new psychotherapist and an inclusion specialist at a summer camp in Toronto. To conclude this busy summer she celebrated with a little too much weed and her beloved co-workers at a cottage near Presqu’ile beach in Prince Edward County. It was there that she met Dotty Mae and had her tarot read for the first time sitting cross-legged at the edge of a forest.
Kalila first pitched “Dotty Mae” to her band Shy By Shy and played the song repeatedly in the early days of this project. Eventually, she opted to bring this song in a folkier, witchier direction and decided to begin recording it with her long-time friend and producer James Atin-Godden. Together they used auxiliary percussion to emphasize/allow for more dynamic space for Kalila‘s unique acoustic guitar style of fingerpicking.
Planning for the music video took place over the better part of 2022 and was eventually filmed at Wasaga Beach. To capture the right feel, Kalila wanted to feature dance at the center of the video. She had no previous experience with dance, so she worked with choreographer Bryony McCaughey for many months before the shoot and articulated a frame for the type of dance – “structured improv” and moving tableaus.
The music video narrative plays with similar themes to the song “Dotty Mae” – more specifically about inflated traumatic responses to relationships. It’s about protection, chronic doubt, hiding in plain sight, and reaching for solace in anything and everything that could offer an answer, education, therapists, drugs, and even tarot readers like Dotty Mae.
Tea: Thinking of a tea pairing was surprisingly challenging even though I repeat these lyrics twice in my song Dotty Mae; “Pass me Peach’s wooden Tea Box, I’ve had enough, don’t want it on my conscience, too late.” The first challenge is that the tea box in question was not for peach tea, I can’t actually remember what kind of tea it was. The second challenge is that the tea box actually had weed in it. So, should the tea pairing have some grass enhanced qualities? I think so. Peach Ginger CBD tea from Canna Cabana seems like the most fitting combo. If you don’t want any CBD in your day, I recommend buying some Celestial Peach tea and brewing it with a piece of ginger.
Music and Visual:
Kate Bush has been such a huge influence to my own song writing. In particular, Sensual World has always blown my mind. This beautiful song and music video was so influential to the creation of Dotty Mae the music video. I just love Kate Bush’s dancing backwards through a fake (I think?) forest while singing about book characters coming to life. Her music exists in a genre of it’s own and seems to have an emotion of it’s own too.
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