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Album Info - Maria



Jane Siberry: vocals, guitar
Tim Ray: piano
Brian Blade: drums
Christopher Thomas: bass
David Travers-Smith: trumpet
Ian Mclauchlan: percussion

additional musicians on "OH MY MY":
Ritesh Das: tabla
George Koller: sitar, esraj
the Cullen Singers: choir on "Puff The Magic Dragon"
(Elizabeth Crawford, Melissa Crawford, Leah Fritsche, Terri Goddard, Jessica Praskey, John Roberts Praskey, Sarah Rosete, Alexandra Sleightholm, Gavin Sleightholm & vocal director Louise Cullen)

recorded and mixed at Reaction Studios in Toronto, between September '94and April '95. bed tracks were recorded during a 3-day session in September.

produced by Jane Siberry

David Travers-Smith: recording engineer, production co-ordination, trumpet,mixes for "Oh My My", "See The Child", "Lovin' Cup", "Begat Begat" and "Mary Had"

Jeff Elliot: assistant engineer
Ormond Jobim co-engineer for 3-day session at Reaction Studios

Michael Brook mixed "Caravan", "Would U Go?", "Pumpkinhead","Maria" and "Honey Bee"

mastered by Gregory Calbi at Masterdisk

From previous writings on Siberry

"Jane Siberry takes her singing and songwriting into a new dimension with Maria, her fourth release for Reprise Records. Siberry performs with renewed excitement and spontaneity - the result of laying down the basic track for the disk in a three-day burst of creativity. Recorded in Toronto without an outside producer (Siberry says she forgot to hire one), Maria bristles with energy and inventiveness.

There were no demos for the songs on Maria. "I had lots of steam built up. It went straight from my head to the final tracks," Siberry says."I know more now technically, and I can get closer each time to what I want. I like it to sound like there's a live band in the room, very 'onyou' but enough space in it so you can walk in and look around. Like a Dutch painting."

For Maria, Siberry assembled a band from scratch. At the core is the rhythm section anchored by drummer Brian Blade, best known for his work with jazz wunderkind Joshua Redman and producer/recording artist Daniel Lanois. "I first saw Brian play with Daniel Lanois at a festival. He had on a pair of white pants made out of good quality linen. We understood each other immediately," Siberry recalls. "I knew if I were to do this record on such short notice, I needed a rhythm section that had already worked together, so I asked Brian to choose a bass player." Blade recruited stand-up bass player Christopher Thomas who also works with Redman as well as Betty Carter.

Siberry first noticed pianist Tim Ray, who brings a strong genius to the keyboard, with Lyle Lovett - and then later with the jazz band Blue Then Orange. "I thought these were the two best pianists I'd ever seen -until I realised they were the same man." Add in trumpeter David Travers-Smith(who also engineered and mixed much of the recording), and the sound is loose, fluid and electric with improvisation - the perfect protean underpinning for Siberry's unique songs.

The musicians recorded thirty hours of live music during a three-day session in Sept. '94. Siberry took the tracks home, chose her favourite segments of the extended rhythmic jams, then spent the following three months in her make-shift living room studio adding vocals.

Maria has two distinct sections: the first nine songs, and the final track,"Oh My My," a 20-minute piece that weaves like a dream spell.They are separated by a two-minute space. "I had many more songs,"she says, "but one would start elbowing the others, saying it wanted out, until I finally ended up with this particular gathering of songs."

Several motifs and themes recur in Maria: children and lullabies, lost people and found people, lambs, sacrifices, and a distinct interest in sex. But not even Siberry can say what it all means. "I just feel like a scribe sometimes. The songs tell me what to do. The less my brain is involved the more I trust the music. Often, I don't know what a song is about until after it's done - and not even always then."

"A song works across time the way a painting works across space. The energy of 'Oh My My' needed to be separate. I wanted it to be on a separate disc, but in the end, they were separated through time." everything you say...mama mama...cracking...dark harbour...throw away children...puff the magic dragon... almost sacrificed ...mama...ocean one...little lamb...puff...ocean two...up the mountain...where did that little lamb go? my own arms...gonna turn my life I go"