Shawna Caspi teeters between city girl life and the small town fantasies that come from weaving in and out of Canada's colourful landscapes. Her 2012 release, SKYLINE, takes the listener from Shawna's hometown of Ottawa, Ontario to her current base in Toronto, and out on the highway, through farmers' markets, bus stations, and alleyways, dodging lightning and passing rooftops peeking out through the trees, from sinking boats to subway cars, from a spectacular planetary crash to the peace that comes after the last flame is extinguished. Recorded, played on, and produced by Jason LaPrade (Jon Brooks, Tucker Finn), the album also features the outstanding talents of Murray Foster, Adam Warner, Joel Schwartz, Anne Davison, Rosemary Phelan, and Anne Lindsay, with each player adding their creative musical sensitivity to the project.
The imagery is vivid and detailed, shaped by Shawna's remarkable ability to highlight even the tiniest moment and give it the brilliance and weight it deserves, the reward of its mere existence against all odds. Each track is gently nudged and pulled by Shawna's peculiar song structures and delightfully surprising rhyme schemes and complemented by her intricate, classically-influenced fingerpicked guitar. In 2010, Shawna was recognized as a finalist in the Canadian Regional Round of the Mountain Stage NewSong Contest.
Shawna is equally at home under a festival stage tent or in a cozy living room. She has performed in venues from cafes, to theatres, from house concerts to the main stage at Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto, in the North by Northeast Music Festival, and even in a series of unplugged sets on VIA Rail's long haul train from Montreal to Halifax and back. Her solo show is easily portable and she has already taken it around Ontario and out to the east coast. With nowhere to hide behind one microphone and an acoustic guitar, Shawna's blunt honesty and authenticity is evident in her music and personality. She puts a crowd at ease with her warm demeanour and endearing awkward charm. With each live show, more secrets are spilled, more stories are shared, and Shawna sings it all with her powerful, shimmering voice.
With the release of SKYLINE, Shawna will be touring in Ontario and Newfoundland in fall 2012 and Nova Scotia in spring 2013.
"Shawna Caspi has the rare gift of presence, a warm presence that immediately invites audience engagement, from the first strum of her skilled guitar playing to the last exquisite note she sings...her songs are beautiful stories that stay with listeners long after the CD is spun, long after the gig is over."
- Andy Frank, founding partner, Roots Music Canada
Shawna Caspi - vocals and acoustic guitar
Skyline - 2012
Paint by Numbers - 2008
Trip the Light - 2005
For live video footage, visit:
Festival workshop ideas:
Canadian Musician Showcase
[+ Show ]
…The best thing about Caspi’s music is that there’s never just one thing to focus on. One moment dem...…The best thing about Caspi’s music is that there’s never just one thing to focus on. One moment demands attention to her lyrics, which play poetically with life’s everyday moments, while another moment demands the listener’s attention turn to her impressive musicianship.
Unsung Toronto: Celebrated local songwriter takes it to the next level with 2012 release.
[+ Show ]
…She’s one of those vivid, storied, shining talents…Coupling her virtuoso skills with a guitar—a pro...…She’s one of those vivid, storied, shining talents…Coupling her virtuoso skills with a guitar—a product of her classical training, sweetened with a natural grace for all things folk—with an affecting, undeniably beautiful lyrical sense of nuance, Caspi is an artist’s artist, a musician’s musician.
Joanna Mills, Toronto
[+ Show ]
Shawna Caspi is one of the most engaging performers to ever grace our concert series. A skilled comp...Shawna Caspi is one of the most engaging performers to ever grace our concert series. A skilled composer and lyricist; her haunting voice and stunning guitar accompaniment round out this complete folk package. Her personal stories, both humorous and poignant, are told seamlessly through her intriguing lyrics and between-song banter. Every song is a narrative whose clever rhymes and unexpected musical structures ensure that the audience listens to every word, from beginning to end.
NXNE Preview 2011
[+ Show ]
Some musicians make songwriting sound less of a craft and more of a life affirming obsession. Caspi'...Some musicians make songwriting sound less of a craft and more of a life affirming obsession. Caspi's compositions stand out as beautiful, complex and intricate even in an increasingly crowded folk scene.
Kim Jernigan, Waterloo
[+ Show ]
Shawna Caspi recently performed for a launch of the winter issue of The New Quarterly, a Canadian li...Shawna Caspi recently performed for a launch of the winter issue of The New Quarterly, a Canadian literary magazine. Music always warms an audience, but Caspi is not just any musician. First, there's her lovely, lovely voice, and equally lovely stage presence. Then there's her thoughtful programming, her gracious way with an audience: she'd chosen her songs to fit with the theme of the evening and she spoke warmly and, I think, from the heart about both the magazine and its writers. Finally, there were her lyrics. These matter to an audience of word people, and she didn't disappoint—she's atune to sense as well as to sound, and so her lyrics make you both think and feel. A truly captivating performance and without a lot of razzle dazzle--just an acoustic guitar, a soaring voice, and words you wanted to remember.
Dean Verger, Ottawa
[+ Show ]
Three elements came together to make for a wonderful show. Shawna Caspi's voice, being the first, ha...Three elements came together to make for a wonderful show. Shawna Caspi's voice, being the first, has a well-sounded tone, a smooth bottom end, and clarity, making for a richer, sweeter listen. Shawna's finger work on the guitar is assured love making of the neck and strings, bringing forth delightful melodies and rhythms. And of course, her rapport with the audience was light, and friendly. Shawna is a talented composer, musician, and entertainer, able to turn a small room of strangers, into a group of friends.
Andy Frank, Toronto
[+ Show ]
Shawna Caspi has the rare gift of presence, a warm presence that immediately invites audience engage...Shawna Caspi has the rare gift of presence, a warm presence that immediately invites audience engagement, from the first strum of her skilled guitar playing to the last exquisite note she sings. Shawna's lyrics show, her music and delivery tell; her songs are beautiful stories that stay with listeners long after the CD is spun, long after the gig is over.
Sandra Whitworth and Jeanne Ward, Morrisburg
[+ Show ]
Shawna Caspi's beautiful and confident voice, her sophisticated guitar playing and intelligent lyric...Shawna Caspi's beautiful and confident voice, her sophisticated guitar playing and intelligent lyrics delighted our audience. We've already had requests asking us to bring her back to the St. Lawrence Acoustic Stage. And we definitely will!
Paint by Numbers review - Der Schallplattenmann
[+ Show ]
www.schallplattenmann.de [English translation by Holly Hasted] There are many musicians whose co...www.schallplattenmann.de
[English translation by Holly Hasted]
There are many musicians whose contracts are questionable. In the time of MySpace there are also plenty of artists, where we know exactly why they didn't make it. And between these two extremes are musicians that are so mature and brilliant that one asks why their talent has not been recognized. I am thinking here of electronic songwriter Terami Hirsch and all-round artist Rachael Sage, the latter of whom has already produced eight albums, none of which have been released in the USA or Europe.
New amongst these is Canadian Shawna Caspi, who's independent debut Paint by Numbers hits all the right notes. The styles of Aimee Mann and Ani Difranco have been explored by many artists before, but the music production and lyrics here are of such a caliber that one might expect big names to appear on the album.
Excellent acoustic guitar meets soulful cello and Caspi's melodies remind us of a temperate Ani Difranco. With Bedtime Stories she succeeds in creating an outstanding song for which other successful musicians should have reason to be envious.
Paint by Numbers is not only a satisfying MySpace discovery, the album has a genuine and organic sound, and definitely deserves more attention.
[+ Show ]
I caught the first couple of songs Shawna gave us and would have liked to have heard more of her ori...I caught the first couple of songs Shawna gave us and would have liked to have heard more of her original tunes, clear voice and down home personality, and well crafted lyrics.
Interview - theMovementz.com
[+ Show ]
As guitar notes dance about Shawna Caspi's full, wholesome voice, audiences listen- no, experience t...As guitar notes dance about Shawna Caspi's full, wholesome voice, audiences listen- no, experience the stories that she has to tell. And while you might have to listen to them twice to get every single word, the journey is never painful. Do yourself a favour and experience what this emerging Canadain songstress has to offer...
Paint by Numbers review - rootstime
[+ Show ]
rootstime.be [English translation by Berrie Koetsier] Shawna Caspi, a young, talented Canadian s...rootstime.be
[English translation by Berrie Koetsier]
Shawna Caspi, a young, talented Canadian singer-songwriter from Toronto, already made an EP in 2005 called Trip The Light. Now she surprised us with her first full-length CD, Paint By Numbers. In her guitar playing, you can hear the classical education she received when she was young. Shawna's folky guitar and beautiful voice are the main things on this album. Despite the use of some percussion, keyboards, cello, and electric guitar, we may still call this an acoustic album.
The ten self-written songs on this album can be described as "naked songs", as we would say in Flanders. They are about everyday life, social observations, or simply about love. But within this apparent simplicity, she is often brilliant. While listening to this album, there is some reminiscence of the subtlety of someone like Joni Mitchell.
Die Laughing is about an unexpected visit to someone and the humor that this brings. The title track, Paint By Numbers, is about the desire to hide out with your lover until you are forgotten by everyone. The Disappearance of the Long-Sleeved Sweater is a nice title to discuss climate change. The beautiful lovesong Nothing On You reminds us of Norah Jones. But the biggest gem on this album is Bedtime Stories. The song starts like a Medieval classic: The greatest bedtime stories / Only made it halfway through / And the last lines best remembered / Were like the last words that I heard from you. The sound of a cello perfectly emphasizes the melancholic nature of the song. Finally, in Whole New Body, she questions the feasibility of her own body.
If you are looking for music that radiates simplicity and calmness within the contemporary folk tradition, you will definitely feel at home with Shawna Caspi. Paint By Numbers has the quality of a meditative breathing space. As we know, sometimes that can be a virtue.
[+ Show ]
Indie Week - The Rivoli - October 13, 2006 ...Following Everlea was the beautiful Shawna Caspi, w...Indie Week - The Rivoli - October 13, 2006
...Following Everlea was the beautiful Shawna Caspi, whose music and voice captivated this writer’s ears for the bulk of the set. Shawna presented a very mature sound to the audience, and was definitely one of the most impressive acts of the evening. I could easily see her music on my CD player on a rainy Sunday morning as I stare out the window, sipping on a tea, working over a hangover, or just basking in the sublimity of it all. Impressive stuff!
The Medium - University of Toronto at Mississauga
[+ Show ]
Indie Week 2006 infects Toronto "...the folksy Caspi was armed only with an acoustic guitar an... Indie Week 2006 infects Toronto
"...the folksy Caspi was armed only with an acoustic guitar and her powerful vocals. Blending slow love songs with songs about global warming, the Toronto native would
excite any Joplin/Baez fan with her poetic lyrics and soft guitar plucking."
Shawna plays solo, original material, and some select cover songs, in sets usually ranging from 30 - 120 minutes.