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Chris MacLean

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“One of the things I like best about Chris Maclean’s work is its levity; even when singing the most serious song there is still a sense of light in the work. It begins with her voice which is unmistakable, clear and ethereal all at the same time. There is something too in her melodies which always return to an uplifting theme even though the song may touch upon some sorrow. And then there are her lyrics which are more often than not redemptive and positive, particularly on her [new] CD Feet Be Still. All in all Chris’ work seems to be about a lightness of being and grace while walking through a very complicated life. Feet Be Still.” Ian Tamblyn, Singer Songwriter/Producer

“It all started with being the youngest in the family… always sent to bed earliest and not allowed to do the things that the older ones could do. This feeling of being excluded burgeoned into a need for independence, a voice, a way to belong. At thirteen, I bought a cheap guitar and became a picker and a campfire, dining hall and closet songstress. Fast forward through the years as the misfit daughter, more than one internal revolution and many other disquieting events I once again found solace and sense in words, images and sounds. Eventually an album called Learn to be Loved emerged and won some great reviews. Not ready to stand alone, the next several years were spent playing in a band but a persistent inner voice said “Try again”. Inspired by the spirit of a rugged landscape - granite, sky, water, fields, cliffs, snow - and the landscape of the interior, another collection of image-rich songs surfaced. From a need for kindness and caution in a mad world, the songs on Feet Be Still were written to quiet the thundering wheels of change, soothe the ache of struggle and to simply make meaning out of chaos."

"She posseses a passion for the music she creates; good songwriting; interesting arrangements; her own distinct voice; a dedication to practice; a compelling stage presence and finally and perhaps most importantly, a warm, vivid sense of humour and fun.” Paul Symes - The Black Sheep Inn, Wakefield QC

Chris is an award-winning songwriter and traveler hailing from the Gatineau Hills in West Quebec. Her songs are poetic and thoughtful, rich in imagery, heartfelt expression and a whimsical sense of playfulness. In July of 2012 Chris traveled to South Africa for intensive study in Voice Movement Therapy, an expressive arts therapy which primarily uses the voice and body to access and release emotional blocks and to facilitate authentic, uninhibited self-expression. During her 7-month South African sojourn, Chris spent time volunteering at an orphanage and hospice for children affected by HIV/AIDS. For more information about VMT and working with Chris in this capacity, please visit her License to Sing page.

Chris performs solo or with accompaniment (bass; guitars/fiddle/mandolin; percussion). She has two solo recordings, Learn to Be Loved (2000) and Feet Be Still (2009). She has been recognized by the Ontario Arts Council as recipient of the 2008 Colleen Peterson Award for Songwriting for her song Feet Be Still (Feet Be Still 2009) ; by the Ontario Council of Folk Festivals with the 2008 Songs from the Heart Award for Best Historical Song for Sisters of Charity (Feet Be Still 2009); by CHIN Radio in 2007 with Second prize in their annual World Music Songwriting Contest for The Road to Bamako" (Galitcha Blé d’Inde Celebration 2006); and with an Honorable Mention in the Unisong International Songwriting Contest for Diamond In My Heart and The Light of Day.

From 2001 until 2009 Chris was a core member of world music ensemble Galitcha. She toured extensively with the group including performances at the Festival au Désert in Timbouctou, Mali; Festival de Musique Spirituelle de Tunis (Tunisia) and Festival de Rabat and International Festival de Tetouan in Morrocco. From 2005 until 2008 Chris was a member of Frida’s Brow, a roots/folk trio who were nominated as Best Vocal Group in the 2008 Canadian Folk Music Awards for their self titled debut CD. Chris has performed with THE POMELOS, a collective of female performing songwriters; TLC (Tannis Slimmon, Laura Bird and Chris) and has performed and recorded as backup vocalist with renowned Canadian singer songwriter, IAN TAMBLYN. Chris has also performed with historical storyteller Ruth Stewart-Verger with whom she recorded the story/song CD 'In God Know's Where - Marie Anne Lagimodière in Story and Song '.

Chris has participated in hundreds of school performances and workshops through MASC (Eastern Ontario and West Quebec) and ArtStarts in the Schools (British Columbia) and ART BEAT with the OCFF. She has been invited twice as a guest facilitator at the Red Cedar Song Writing Camp on Pender Island, BC – along with Mae Moore, Lester Quitzau, Shari Ulrich and David Essig  – has taught songwriting at the Ottawa Folklore Centre and Algonquin College in Ottawa. She continues to work honing the craft and has attended workshops with John Capek, Rick Emmet, Lisa Dalbello, FERRON, Annie Gallup, Chuck Brodsky and Jon Vesner.

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