Casey Mecija lends her unique vocals to The Acorn’s song “Lullaby (Mountain)”. The sweet tune is inspired by native Honduran music. In that culture, lullabies are traditionally sung by women. Since the band was great friends with Mecija, they thought her vocals vocals would be the perfect fit and I think it was an awesome choice.
The band also once shared a 12” split with The Acorn in 2008 where they covered each other. One of the Acorn’s contributions was this beautiful cover of Ohbijou’s “Steep”.
Ohbijou in return did them justice on a cover of their tune “Darcy”.
Ohbijou- St. Francis
The hungry wolves metaphor appears multiple times in the album this time tailing a friend that has also just moved to the big scary city.
"St. Francis learned the wolves lived in
towns with wives and with children
his eyes grew blind from this awful truth
the real wolves wore pants and shoes”
Last one from Beacons forthe night before we go backwards again tomorrow. This somehow made it into MTV’s Teen Wolf soundtrack.
"You’re fierce and spread like wildfires
So I run to take cover in sinking ships
And it’d be no surprise…
If the shore closed in on the water”
Ohbijou’s earlier works played endless tributes to the city where they lived, Toronto. “Memoriam” is about a fire that took place on Queen and Bathurst on a freezing winter’s day. The six-alarm fire destroyed homes and local businesses that were dear to the band. The reconstruction of the area created angst in the community as it was headed for gentrification.
"Young eyes ignite, burning city
No time to stop, life’s so busy”
Ohbijou - Balikbayan
In my previous post, I mentioned how Ohbijou’s music is often described with their ethnicity in mind. In their final post, they spoke about the frustrations of fans pointing out the “Asian influence” in their music when most of the time there is none. The only song that could render such commentary would be “Balikbayan” from their final album, Metal Meets. The title is a tagalog word from the Philippines “someone from another country returning home”. It is usually applied to people who have left the Philippines for somewhere else and return after a long period of time.
The word is also used for cardboard boxes used to send gifts back home to the Philippines. In the song both meanings seem appropriate. The repeated line "We’ll send it home" refers to the gifts and the rest of the song sings of the distance between family members and the reasons for leaving the homeland behind to provide for a better life.
"Our country, this in between,
the hours hang; we’re still not paid.
We’ll fold our clothes, and write our notes -
send them home, send them home.”
This wasn’t the only cultural or world reference in Metal Meets but I think it was the only Asian one.
This is: Ohbijou
Man, BSB is going to be hard to follow. I’ll start this week but introducing myself to you all. My name is Tiana Feng and I run a Canadian music blog called Ride the Tempo. My love affair with Canadian indie began while listening to CBC Radio 3 back in 2006, when I began University. It was also around this time that I read blogs for the first time in hopes of discovering new music. It was around then that I heard Ohbijou’s debut Swift Feet For Troubling Times for the first time. I adored the effortless vocals, organic sound and their endearing arrangements that included strings, xylophone and mandolin.
I approached Hendrik to write about Ohbijou back in August, after lead singer Casey Mecija had written her farewells on the band website and I attended their final show at The Great Hall in Toronto. In her final post, Mecija spoke about being continually labelled as “the multicultural band” due to the sister’s being Asian. Despite the coincidence that I am indeed Asian, it was something I never really thought about. When I first heard Ohbijou, I never liked them because they were “Asian” or misconstrued their sound as being so. In fact, I don’t think I even knew what they looked like until I saw them tour Beacons a couple of years later.
I chose to talk about Ohbijou because I wanted to bring up this discussion of bands being labelled as “multicultural” or “mixed-race” or even “exotic”, especially in North America where such labelling borders on ridiculous. Maybe when the band started back in 2006, it was less common for two Asian sisters to start an indie-pop band with their friends. Now it is commonplace. Their farewell show, had a myriad of special guests doing Ohbijou covers and proved how much of an influence the band had on the local music scene in Toronto. The guests included the Gentleman Reg, the Wooden Sky, The Rural Alberta Advantage, Evening Hymns, the Acorn, Kat Burns of Forest City Lovers and John O’Regan of Diamond Rings. Each gave their own heartfelt story of how they became intertwined with Ohbijou in some way.
The band began as a bedroom project started by Casey Macija while still in highschool in Brantford. It grew to include her sister Jenny, cellist Anissa Hart, trumpet player/drumer Jamie Bunton, Ryan Carlie on keyboard and Heather Kirby playing bass.