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Raw Refrains is a great, recurring performance series that marries local music, film, and visual arts. Tonight’s event, at Leaside Manor, will include a songwriter’s circle style performance from Joanna Barker, and Chris Picco, as well as a screenings of Ruth Lawrence films, and an exhibition of art from Ally Baird.

Tickets are $25, and available at 39 Topsail Road, though it’s safe to say you can also pay at the door, capacity permitting. Call 722-0387 for more details.  This is the fifteenth installment of Raw Refrains, a series created, curated, and hosted by Patrick Molloy.

“Patrick, Why did you start doing this Raw Refrains Series?”

Admittedly, I started doing Raw Refrains for selfish reasons. I had been in and out of the St. John’s scene for a couple of years and was trying to find my own place within that scene. I lived in Iqaluit, NU for a couple of years and before moving home in 2007 I lived in Calgary for about 2 years. So, I wanted to start networking with songwriters that inspired me. First of all to network, second of all, to be entertained by them.

Songwriters circles have always intrigued me. There is something kind of magical that happens when songwriters are on stage together giving each other their full attention. They are all of a sudden very vulnerable and that translates into stories and inspiration behind the tunes, which is received so well by an audience who is there to actively listen. People leave with lasting memories of special moments.

After two shows that focused primarily on music, I started to see the influx of separate arts entities that were all doing their own thing. I was so amazed at the caliber of talent and the amount of art being created. For the third show, I brought it to a boat and had 4 VA’s, a comedian and an illusionist to accompany the songwriters circle.

At that point, I had transitioned from selfish reasons to seeing the value in bringing all the different arts scenes together into one intimate show and celebrating that. It felt like I was breaking down some barriers in a way. Plus, the feedback from all artists was so humbling. They loved the idea and were so grateful to have the ability to present their art to a more appreciate audience.

I have since taken the approach to mix established and up-and-coming artists into the show, so everyone can learn and grow together from each other. To find a mentor in this city, all you have to do is approach someone inspiring and pick their brains. I cant think of any artists that i’ve approached that did not want to share their story.

I have since incorporated dance, juggler’s, yo-yo-ists, film, etc. I basically tailor the show to the venue.

For RR#14 and RR#15 I decided to tighten it up a bit and the Leaside Manor best fits music, visual art and film.

I’d also like to add that the Leaside Manor have been incredibly supportive and enthusiastic about the show and love that they have an opportunity to give back to the arts community. They have been the most actively involved venue in the preparation, details and promotion than anyone to date.

“Share a little on all the artists participating this time. Why did you ask these particular people to be a part of Raw Refrains 15?”

Chris Picco:

I met Chris  shortly after I moved home at an open mic at the Rose and Thistle. He had such a fun stage presence and seemed so relaxed and comfortable. He was one of those artists that I aspired to be like with regards to exuding that confidence on stage and embracing that impact you can provide from an acoustic guitar. I’ve contacted Chris a number of times over the years about doing a show together, but timing was not right. Luckily, this time it worked out!

Joanna Barker:

About three years ago I met Joanna Barker at a St. John’s Days performance outside of the LSPU Hall. She performed before me and I was totally captivated by her performance. Every word seemed very heartfelt and from somewhere deep. Since that performance I’ve been following her career and it is amazing to see how much she has exploded since. She has a lot of respect in this city and I am honored that she agreed to sing next to Chris and I.

Ally Baird:

I noticed an article in an issue of The Overcast and that’s what first peaked my interest. I immediately added her to my list of VA’s to chat with for future shows. Ian Foster took part in RR#14 and highly recommended her as well. I saw some of her stuff and it was very natural and earthy. She presents the elements we encounter in NL in a very organic, yet abstract way. I love abstract art. I met with her on site at the Leaside Manor and an hour and a half later we were both thrilled to work together. Another thing that impressed me so much is that she committed to doing the show without anything created yet. She had just sold everything at her Hava Java exhibition, but she took it on anyway!

Ruth Lawrence:

Ruth is such a heavy hitter in our local film scene. She showed one of her films at a previous Raw Refrains, but it was through Roger Maunder at NIFCO who provided a number of artists films on their behalf. I wanted to approach Ruth directly for this show, have her show a couple of films, and speak to the audience about the inspiration behind each. I have a lot of respect for Ruth’s work and I think it’s safe to say that, So does St. John’s.