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Prairie gals Oh My Darling headed for Dream Cafe stage
Special to the Western News
As the pull of a musical career became more captivating than her university studies, Vanessa Kuzina decided to drop out of school and is now a member of the country-fusion foursome Oh My Darling.
The Winnipeg-based group – which consists of Kuzina on guitar and vocals, banjo player and vocalist Allison de Groot, fiddler and vocalist Hannah Read and stand-up bassist and vocalist, Marie-Josée Dandeneau – is playing The Dream Cafe, Wednesday, Feb. 19.
Kuzina said she, de Groot and Dandeneau had already been playing together when they formed about six years ago. She described their band as country or old-time-bluegrass that plays mostly original songs along with some traditional older American music.
Kuzina started out playing the flute at age nine before moving onto singing and songwriting as a teenager and continued while she was attending the University of Winnipeg prior to leaving before her fourth year.
Even though she enjoyed university Kuzina found herself drawn to music and was picking up her guitar rather than her text books.
“I had convinced a few profs to let me write songs in exchange for essays,” said Kuzina.
“I knew I couldn’t get away with that forever so I thought, ‘it’s time to take a break.’ It’s been a 10-year break.”
She has no regrets about not graduating.
“I never looked back,” she said. “I may go back and continue one day.
“It’s been an amazing dream being an artist and I feel grateful to be able to do that.”
Kuzina said when they were trying to come up with a name for their group, they wanted one which evoked the femininity of the group, and sourced atlases, bird books and song lyrics before making their choice, a derivative of the familiar country song, Oh My Darling, Clementine.
When the band first formed, Kuzina was the prime songwriter but over the last two years they’ve started to collaborate on their music.
“The way our creative process works is that we still will generally come to the group with some ideas formed and then the exciting part is that we bring them to each other,” said Kuzina.
“The magic happens when we come together and the ideas become totally new.”
Inspiration for songs comes from a variety of sources that includes real-life experiences, dreams and books they’ve read.
Canadian artists Neil Young, Gordon Lightfoot and Joni Mitchell are some of Kuzina’s favourite performers along with artists such as The Beatles, Annie Lennox and Carole King.
“You couldn’t catch me not singing a Joni Mitchell song when I was a teenager,” she said.
The group has toured Canada and Europe and has opened for well-known performers such as Blue Rodeo and Tegan & Sara.
“It speaks to the dreams that we have,” she said.
“We’ve been playing this music and loving doing it which is really exciting and really wonderful and really the best part was just getting to hang out and meet these artists that we really admire and loved working with.”
Tickets are $10.
To reserve, call 250-490-9012 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.