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Alysha Brilla gets Centre grooving

Chris Marchand

Chris Marchand served as editor of the Dryden Observer from August 2009 to April 2018.
Alysha Brilla on stage at The Centre, Sept. 22. Photo by Chris Marchand
Alysha Brilla on stage at The Centre, Sept. 22.
Photo by Chris Marchand

By Chris Marchand

The Dryden Entertainment Series kicked off a new concert season with a full band extravaganza, Sept. 22 as Kitchener’s Alysha Brilla and friends took the stage.

It was clear that Brilla had done her groundwork in the community. The audience was peppered with youth who spent part of their school day in workshops with the engaging Indo-Tanzanian/Canadian musician.

Maybe stocking the crowd with several sub-20 year olds is the key to loosening up these tightly-clenched Dryden audiences.

Imagine, I heard several hoots, even witnessed some bonafide chair-dancing (though I later heard that particular audience member was from Kenora). Regardless, Brilla had a Dryden crowd about as engaged as I’d ever seen. No mean feat.

Brilla performed a mostly original set of songs from among her five studio albums — a poppy collection of beats drawn from across various cultures, all delivered in a sort of socially-conscious Lily Allen-without-the-potty-mouth kind of vibe. The performance benefitted immensely from the talented band, in particular Brilla’s horn section of Alison Young and Marie Goudy.

Her one foray into other people’s music — a cover of Amy Winehouse’s ‘Valerie’ showed Brilla’s obvious talents in the jazz and blues realm.

The Dryden Entertainment Series welcomes back Terri Clark for a solo acoustic performance, Oct. 12. Showtime is 7:30 p.m.

DES performer puts out positive vibes at Open Roads

By Michael Christianson

Before her performance at the Centre on Thursday Alysha Brilla took time out of her schedule to meet with students at Open Roads School.

Brilla spoke of her own experiences growing up with bullying, something every student can relate to.

“I love coming to schools and speaking to kids about my experiences growing up and dealing with bullying or dealing with whatever sort of intersections of oppression or things that I felt maybe might have prevented me from following my dreams and then telling the stories of how I got past that because that’s I think the most important thing is that everyone is going to have a different set of challenges in their life and it’s how you weave your way through them,” said Brilla.

She recalled being thirteen years old and having her guidance counselor tell her to snap back to reality when she said she wanted to be a musician.

Being on tour she remembers to encourage dreams and she says her music is inspired by a message of healing and putting positive vibes out to the world; this was her first opportunity to do that in Dryden.

Brilla brought along her drummer Adam Bowman to the school and he led a workshop with the children. Bowman brought along his hand drum and he led many exercises including playing a beat and having the students play it back to him.

This was Brilla’s first trip to Northern Ontario and she said she feels lucky to have a career that allows her to engage with both young and old.

Drummer Adam Bowman of Alysha Brilla's band performs a percussion workshop at Open Roads school, Sept. 22. Photo by Michael Christianson
Drummer Adam Bowman of Alysha Brilla’s band performs a percussion workshop at Open Roads school, Sept. 22.
Photo by Michael Christianson


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