A surprise summer Safety Meeting concert is coming up next week featuring the Madeline Tasquin Trading Company.
Madeline grew up in Quesnel and this will be a first foray home in several years for this globe trotting singer/songwriter, multi instrumentalist.
She has toured Europe and the U.S. as a solo act for the past three years. This is her first tour with a full band.
“My mum would teach musical theatre at Island Mountain School of the Arts in exchange for tuition for my two younger sisters and I,” Madeline says. “With all these memories, it feels more than a little surreal to me to be heading home to the Cariboo on tour with my band from the San Francisco Bay Area.”
The concert takes place Thursday, July 30 at the Central Cariboo Arts and Culture Centre right after Performances in the Park wraps up at 8 p.m., says Safety Meeting concert promoter Brandon Hoffman.
Madeline is also in concert at the Occidental in Quesnel, Wednesday, July 29, starting at 8 p.m.
Hoffman says he has received lots of offers from artists wanting to hold Safety Meeting concerts through the summer but with most organizers busy and on vacation he has had to turn down the offers.
“But I couldn’t pass up this chance,” Hoffman says. “Madeline Tasquin is doing something really cool.”
Singing in both English and French, he reports that Madeline weaves nimbly from jazz-tinged folk to odd-meter soul, from twisted pop ballad to delicately dark fairy-tale, delivering it all with a radiant stage presence.
Her songs carry classical and folk traditions absorbed from her mother, the groove-oriented collaborative spirit of the rock band, and her signature odd-metered blues and soul, creating a genre-defying music — often labeled jazz — that is compelling and captivating, and features her inspiring, four-octave range singing about the natural world, the cosmos and the business of being human.
Raised in Quesnel by her opera singing, entertainer mother, Patricia Schreiber, and Austrian born gold-mining father, Werner Streicek, Madeline began playing piano as soon as she could reach the keys and developed her acute sense of harmony by singing on long car trips with her mother and two younger sisters.
In her teens, art rock bands Primus and Mr. Bungle played on repeat alongside Rachmaninoff, Satie and Chopin, Madeline says.
After earning a degree in architecture in Sydney, Australia and Berkley, California Madeline returned to her musical roots adding concert ukulele and guitar to her musical quiver.
Madeline says she always had an interest in music but was discouraged by her mother from making it a career. She says she loves math, physics and science and graduated at the top of her class in architecture but after working in the field for a few years she burned out on the intense computer work of moving pixels around on a screen and tight deadlines and naturally gravitated back to her first love, music.
Now that she has been in the music scene for a few years she says she is playing in the intersection of architecture, design and music.
Unintentionally, but fortuitously, she says she left architecture just as the U.S. housing market was crashing.
Madeline honed her performance skills, and tamed her stage fright, through four years as the front woman of the Oakland-based polyrhythmic funk/rock band Antioquia.
Since beginning her solo career in 2011 and releasing her debut Another Trip Around The Sun in 2012, she has pushed herself to dive deeper into her own sound.
She has collaborated with many artists and the Madeline Tasquin Trading Company is a recent merger of musical minds with bassist, composer and vocalist Giulio Xavier Cetto; drummer and singer/banjo songwriter Mike “Wolf” Quigg; and guitarist, singer/songwriter Justin Rock.
It is no accident that she chose the Cariboo as the northernmost destination for this tour.
“The Fraser and Quesnel Rivers make their way into a lot of my music, and the flora and fauna of the Cariboo have always been a part of my soul, whether I’ve lived in Vancouver or Sydney or San Francisco they continue to haunt me.”
She suspects that the week she and her band perform in Quesnel, Williams Lake, Wells, Prince George and McBride will result in another spurt of inspiration.
“I can’t help but write when I’m in the Cariboo in the summer, and this trip will be a particularly special one,” Madeline says.
A lyric excerpt from Spruce Tea that she dedicated to her parents illustrates her deep Cariboo roots.
“Whiskey jack, fire weed, balsam sap and bumblebee: proof that everything’s ok. And when all else fails we’ll set to sail and sing all day out with the whales and drink spruce tea for vitamin C.”
She grew up on a farm and was in French immersion until Grade 4. Her parents started Vaughn House Restaurant. Her fondest childhood memories are of swimming in the Cottonwood River, Billy Barker Days, tobogganing, seeing the northern lights in full colour, camping near Wells and eating old-fashioned candy in Barkerville.
Tickets are at Red Shreds.