Ten Minute Tea: The Wintersong Edition, Part 1

The 4th edition of Wintersong Music Festival will take place in Stouffville, Ontario from January 20th-21st. The free annual festival draws thousands to the local area in the shoulder-season of winter, giving a much-needed boost to the local economy. Having generated over one million dollars in associated tourism revenue for the Town of Stouffville (Music City North), they were applauded as the single most impactful relief effort for small businesses coming out of the pandemic. Their stellar lineup is meticulously crafted with gender parity and diversity in mind, and hosts exclusively Canadian artists.

The first tea + soundtrack + visuals curated by Glass Cactus is a Toronto based indie-alt band formed in 2013. Catch their Wintersong performance at Earl of Whitchurch on Friday, January 20th at 8:30pm. They are best described as a blend of pop punk energy with the modern melodic appeal of indie alt-rock. Their engaging, and energetic live performances have captivated fans at events such as CMW, Stranded Fest, and Exclaim! Magazine’s Class of 2020. They have shared the stage with acts such as Good Kid, Cleopatrick, and Pkew Pkew Pkew and released 5 singles recorded with producer Nixon Boyd of Hollerado. Glass Cactus is back with a fresh sound and new direction, eager to take center stage once again to show people what they’re made of. 

The perfect cup of Tea, as everyone knows, is an elusive concept at best. To grasp the idea of a perfect steep can be as futile as trying to hold an ocean of boiling water in our bare hands. Sometimes we must try nevertheless. And Sometimes doing so begs the question: “what is Tea”? 

Webster’s dictionary defines it as: 

the dried and prepared leaves of a shrub, Camellia sinensis, from which a somewhat bitter, aromatic beverage is prepared by infusion in hot water.

Does this definition by itself render the perfect recipe for a soothing drink to start our day or perhaps accompany some light lunch sandwiches? 

No. But it is a start. Using this as a jumping-off point we can begin. Today we will start simple and gather the branches and leaves from the shrubs that grow in our front yard. Having picked them on a sunny day they are already dry and we may bypass the drying step by proceeding to directly add them to our cup of boiling water, bagless, so as to not lose any of the earthy bitter notes. We will allow the elixir a few minutes to percolate while we admire some art and take in an unfamiliar song. 

Our song choice today is by Akira Ishikawa, a native of Japan where the Drink at the centre of this article originates. The name of the song is “Pick up the Pieces.”

In itself, this piece of music feels like an embodiment of the tea-making process. A light simmer of horns and percussion gives way to a driving yet subtle groove from the rhythm section. The bass gradually increases in temperature until the band breaks into a rolling boil while Ishikawa’s saxophone solo announces the time for Tea is at hand. We take a sip. It is bitter. It tastes of dirt. It is the perfect cup. We can not put it down. Ishikawa’s band plays us out. 

As we sip our Tea we take in some art by internet artist Paul Schmid. His piece “Philip” is a part of a series titled “I Honor The Food I Eat With 14 Silly Portraits”.

It is, in a word, spellbinding. In two words it is utterly mesmerizing. We find ourselves being lost in the deep purple hues of Philips eggplant skin. We have to wonder what he has seen. What has he been through? Does he like Tea? A thousand questions race through our heads and only one answer comes to mind. The answer, of course, is Tea.

Today’s second tea + soundtrack +visuals is curated by Sagen Pearse. Sagen is a singer/songwriter and front man for his band Hollowsage & the Three Mile Islanders. Catch their Wintersong performance at Latcham Hall on Friday, January 20th at 7:30pm. Sagen works as a funeral director helping families navigate the intricate details surrounding death and dying. Many of his songs reflect the work he does, partially focusing on loss, but mainly placing love and forgiveness at the forefront. Sagen’s song “Haunted” was released in February 2020 a couple weeks before the first lockdown. The song was initially a response to a poem his at-the-time ex-girlfriend had written. That ex-girlfriend is his now wife and mother to their one-year-old son Sylas. Sagen knows the song isn’t the only reason things worked out but says it may have helped… Substantially…  

“Haunted”

Art: Ken’s Truck by Lynne Mcilvride

Lynne Mcilvride is an amazingly talented local artist in the Uxbridge area. I became friends with her and her late husband Kenneth Welsh through intimate outdoor musical gatherings through the pandemic. Ken was an amazing actor, who could recite whole Shakespearean plays from memory, and his truck which was painted by Lynne reflects this. Lynne’s use of vivid colours makes it difficult to be anything but happy when you see it. Even though grief creeps in, light, colour, and love definitely help console us and push back the dark. Lynne’s other works can be found here.

Song: Light Years by The National 

I find myself revisiting this melancholy tune more often than sometimes. The lyrics are obscure at times, which gives the listener a lot to interpret for themselves. The video brings a whole new meaning, which I really love. We often have these ideas of the perfect life, the perfect relationship, the perfect house, the perfect car, but these ideas are often not attainable or if they are they are not sustainable. Will these perfect things make us happy? It’s possible, but I have my doubts. I think there is beauty in the fact that things are not perfect, especially when it comes to people. We all have our traumas, our heartache, our grief, but we also have moments of joy and love. The hope is that these moments of joy and love outnumber the trauma, heartache, and grief at the end of one’s life, but that varies individual to individual. Working as a funeral director has given me perspective on what a good life lived is, it has made me very introspective, which helps when it comes to songwriting. It has also helped me be a better man, husband, and father. 

Tea: Apple Spiced Tea 

    1/2 cup apple cider or juice

    1/4 teaspoon minced fresh ginger root

    2 whole allspice

    2 whole cloves

    1 black tea bag

    1/2 cup boiling water

    1 tablespoon brown sugar

This Post Sponsored by our Proud Partners Home Love Hamilton.

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