Festival of Small Halls recap


I was so thrilled to be asked to perform at this year’s Festival of Small Halls. It was a real treat to share the stage with my friends Catherine MacLellan and John Connolly. It was also very special to get to take part in the screening for the beautiful and important film The Song and the Sorrow, by talented filmmaker Millefiore Clarkes. For any of you who might not have heard, the film is a documentary that follows Catherine MacLellan as she explores the life of her father, world-renowned songwriter and performer, Gene MacLellan. This beautifully shot film tackles mental illness, which is a very important topic. (Check it out on the CBC Gem app, you can thank me later.)

 The second half of the evening was a songwriter’s circle where Catherine, John, and I shared songs we’ve written. I got to play new songs from the album that few people have heard yet, and I even busted out a brand new tune. I can’t quite explain how special songwriter’s circles are to me, but I’ll give it a shot. One of my favourite things has always been to get the privilege to listen to a song when it’s freshly penned. It makes you feel so connected to the “muse”. Like the muse is right there in the room, tapping her foot, nodding with her eyes closed, feeling the song right alongside you. Songwriter’s circles offer this same feeling to me, whether as a performer or as an audience member. As someone shares a song that is important to them, the other artists onstage are in something of a sacred space during that moment of expression. If they feel inclined to join in, it’s typically encouraged. The resulting musical moments that happen at a songwriter’s circle may never happen again. It’s musical magic! I love bearing witness to songwriter’s circles, and I really love participating in them. 

Nikkie Gallant