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Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada | SELF

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada | SELF
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"Süss Hits The Road With Guitar and Alot Of Gumption"

Süss Hits the Road with a Guitar and a lot of Gumption

MORE : queer folk music, Rae Spoon, Suss

by Laura MacDonaldon April 25, 2011
Quirky and unusual, Süss’ music finds a way of balancing the skill and wisdom of experience with a lust for life that is definitely catching. Süss performs with Rae Spoon on Sunday, May 1 at Casa del Popolo, 4873, boul Saint-Laurent.

At a time in her life when most professional musicians are starting to think about defaulting to their “plan B”, songstress Süss is instead bravely taking on new adventures. Stepping out of her comfort zone, Süss will be spending the next month playing the role of the travelling minstrel, wandering through Ontario and Québec on her first mini-tour to promote her first solo album, I Just Ride My Bike. Much like the title of her album suggests, Süss’ music is playful and whimsical. Her jazz-influenced style of folk pop pairs well with her eclectic lyrics, which are sometimes sassy and comedic, sometimes dreamy and romantic. Quirky and unusual, Süss’ music finds a way of balancing the skill and wisdom of experience with a lust for life that is definitely catching.

Excited about her upcoming travels, Süss is particularly excited about returning to Montréal, a town that she feels is infused with art and energy, something that she has tried to apply to life in her hometown. And even though she “sometimes feels a bit isolated” as an openly queer artist in Winnipeg, this tour is an opportunity not just to promote her music, but also to make connections with other queer artists. When Süss makes her stop in Montréal, she will be opening for Montréal-based post-folk wanderer, Rae Spoon, someone who has travelled the world as an independent artist thanks to help from an international queer network. A perfect pairing of travelling souls, the Rae Spoon + Süss show promises to be one for dreamers and rolling stones.

Check out more of Süss at www.sussmusic.com or www.myspace.com/sussmusic

Süss performs with Rae Spoon on Sunday, May 1 at Casa del Popolo, 4873, boul Saint-Laurent. Tickets are $10 with a “no one turned away for lack of funds” policy at the door. www.casadelpopolo.com - 2BMag.com

"Süss Quirky Take On The Everyday"

Süss quirky take on the everyday
SONGS / Midlife career change results in folksy album, first tour
Serafin LaRiviere / Toronto / Thursday, April 21, 2011
You’ve got to love someone who can write a catchy ditty about the loss of a fingernail and turn it into an allegory for grieving and recovery. Singer-songwriter Süss has a whole catalogue of quirky and ear-pleasing songs that cover a range of everyday subjects, from musings on lesbian sex to the innocent joy of nighttime bike rides. The sound is a clever mix of jazz, pop and folk-rock that tickles the brain without being overly cerebral or too cutesy.
“Often I’ll think of a moment, a scenario, and then find something to say about what’s happening,” says Süss, who goes by only her last name. “I wrote the song ‘It Didn’t Hurt’ about things you’re expecting to hurt a lot but don’t end up hurting much at all. Like when your pinkie nail falls off, it’s because it had already been really damaged. So it comes off after it’s already finished hurting.”
Listening to this material, it’s very easy to forget that Süss embarked on her solo career quite recently. Her debut album, I Just Ride My Bike, was released in 2007, just before Süss turned 40 — an age when many indie artists are beginning to wind down their music careers in favour of more stable and secure employment.

In fact, it wasn’t until reaching her 30s that Süss seriously considered a career in music. Her parents had encouraged their children to sing hymns in their Mennonite church, but Süss found herself increasingly captivated by artists like Bruce Cockburn and Jane Siberry. Enrolling at the University of Winnipeg as a mature student, she began to explore jazz piano improvisation and multicultural music in search of her own personal sound.

“I was really interested in different time signatures,” she says. “I mostly perform on guitar and piano, but there were 10 years where I played flute doing traditional Middle Eastern music. Well, as traditional as a white girl like me can pull off.”

Süss’s first serious music job came while working at the CBC, where she was producing a documentary about her experience as a gay Mennonite. Fellow staffer Clare Lawler commissioned Süss to write a piece that became “Waltz for Clare,” and the results encouraged Süss to start planning a full-length album.

Unlike pop or rock music, jazz and folk tend to have fairly long shelf lives in record stores and with online vendors, which allows a new artist space and time to catch on. Süss placed I Just Ride My Bike with the indie music site CD Baby for distribution and slowly began to build a dedicated local following that appreciated her sound. As sales and audiences grew, she began to look beyond her prairie borders in search of wider exposure.

Now embarking on her first multi-date tour, Süss is ready to introduce her music to new audiences across the country. It’s quite a step up from some of the jobs she was forced to take while honing her craft.

“While I was writing and working towards recording, I had to do a lot of odd things to support myself,” she says. “I pulled rickshaw in Winnipeg for a while. One night I pulled [Manitoba jazz performer] Wally Larson to the Franco Manitoba Cultural Centre. I made him give me 20 bucks.”

Money well spent, I say. The production on I Just Ride My Bike is crisp and clean, allowing Süss’s delicate musings plenty of space to have a solid impact on the listener. The lyrics are thoughtful, sweet and frequently quite funny, creating an intensely personal and affectionate atmosphere.

Whether it’s the gleefully goofy song “Lesbian Sex” (“Lesbian Sex is better than a gmail address, it’s better than searching the net, for a blogger who’s obsessed”) or the poignant “Lovers, Drugs and the Wandering Apostrophe” (“The drugs of her lover take her under… at first she does a little, just to be together on that same planet”), Süss manages a conversational feel that is both effective and affecting.

- Extra.ca

"TOP 6 of the week"

"Over the years Suss has been a go-go dancer for Vav Jungle, cabaret performer, actress and even drag king, but (somehow) there's even more to her than that: it turns out she's a pretty decent singer-songwriter too."
- Rob Williams, Winnipeg Free Press, January 25, 2007 - WPG FREE PRESS

"Suss on the Loose"

"If you've ever heard Suss (rhymes with juice) perform, you're already hip to 'Lesbian Sex' or 'Bike' ("I pass by three hippopotami / Their names are Mordecai, Lorelei and Gemini"), a song about the giddy freedom of staying up late and bike riding after dark. Suss's sweet 'n' scary pop songs are anchored by her multi-instrumental abilities (guitar, flute, keys) and her training in classical piano."

- Charles Melvin, Outwords.Inc - Outwords.Inc


Suss released her debut CD, i just ride my bike, in 2007 which she co-produced with juno-winning Winnipeg producer Dan Donahue.
You can hear a few of these tracks in the Audio section of this EPK, or on the myspace.com/sussmusic page.



If Joni Mitchell and Tori Amos went on a post-brunch bike ride, performing imitations of Laurie Anderson and Ricky Lee Jones, you would be watching Suss.

Suss's unique storytelling voice accommodates jazz, old tyme, hymns of the reformation and folk balladry with a comedic edge.
She loves the sonic beauty of the piano, and often lays out a grooving bassline or bed over which she spins her tales. Or Suss just might whip out her 12-string guitar and adventurously fingerpick a harmonically intricate accompaniment to an ironic tale.

Suss catches her audience by surprise. She can deliver shameless jazz balladry one moment, and the catchiest Sesame Street cover the next. But there's one sure thing: Suss is always playing and singing from her heart. That's part of what makes her do what she does.

A significant part of her life is devoted to a local drop-in music program for kids who wouldn't otherwise have the opportunity to record their rap rhymes, make beats, learn to play guitar, drums, bass and piano.
Her dedication to her community serves a greater picture. Plato said, "Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imaginations, and charm and life to everything."
This idea drives Suss in many aspects of her life.

After writing songs for a couple of years on the 12-string guitar, and taking a job playing keys for the Strange Angels, Suss decided that she could say what she wanted to say, musically, much better on the piano. So she took a break from writing and went back to school, meeting local jazz musician Jeff Presslaff (Manitoba Jazz Musician of the Year, 2005) for studies in spontaneous composition, collaborative jazz and standards interpretation. She also met avante-garde performer Dr. Cheryl Pauls, whose combined influences furthered Suss's values of improvisation and beauty on the piano.

Suss spent time studying gender and performance, which furthered her determination to lead the band, and lead the band she did.
Suss began to put together musicians to be the house band for various Winnipeg events such as International Women's Day cabarets to the International Drag King Extravaganza's live performances. After finding joyful collaboration with some of Winnipeg's best jazz musicians, Suss put her AAA brand of eclectica together for her debut record, "i just ride my bike".

Suss's original songs have gotten stuck in every one of her mentor's heads. Jeff Presslaff, jazz arranger and composer, describes her lyrics as ironic and comic, provided with necessary delivery space. "You can hear the smile in her voice."

Suss has released her debut CD, "i just ride my bike" and continues to catch the local media's attention.
more accolades:

"I dare you not to fall in love with her." - Charles Melvin, editor of "Outwords".

"Suss has really great songs." - John Sharpel, owner of Sled Dog Music, "guitar doc".

"Some of her stuff sounds quite symphonic" - Rodrigo Munoz (Papa Mambo).

"Guess which of the songs I have stuck in my head now?" - Jeff Presslaff, jazz musician of the year, manitoba, Canada, 2005, CD: Red Goddess

"I love her voice!" - Michael Johnston, singer/songwriter

"Suss has a great understanding of harmony" - Kristjanna Oleson, nominee for musician of the year award, WCMA's, 2006.

"Lesbian Sex is the new single." - Shawna Dempsey, performance artist, curator

"These songs are ingeniously constructed." - MJ Dandeneau, world-travelling bass player.