Lotus Collective Organizes First Sunday Soul Session Femme Jam
Mindful Bar Hosts Event Aimed At Women, Femme, Gender Nonconforming Musicians
When I stepped into Mindful Bar on Oct. 27, I was unaware of the wave of creativity, talent, humility, and genuine come-togetherness I was about to get hit with.
Marcelle Partouche Gutierrez, Monica Paraghamian, Salin Gas, and Sarah MK are the co-founders of Lotus Collective, the expanding community of Montreal-based women and femme musicians.
Their goal is to “support artistic development through collaborative music composition, mentoring, skill-sharing and performance.”
Together, these four push forward equal representation for musicians who are women, femme, or gender nonconforming in Montreal.
Isabel Tames, the bar owner, was eager to host Lotus.
“I really like that it’s women empowered. I think this is important as this is a business owned by a woman,” she said. “Also, I like supporting these types of events, [and] I see that [Lotus Collective] encourages a lot of People of Colour and marginalized communities.”
Mindful Bar is a sober establishment. “There is no alcohol served here. I think that raises consciousness because we [all] feel safer,” said Gas, the drummer in the core Lotus band.
The night began with vocal warm-ups. Through the oohs and ahhs and the Do, Re, Mi, Fa, So, La, Si, Dos, laughter filled the space, allowing newcomers to feel more comfortable expressing their talents.
Lotus houses a multi-talented and diverse group of individuals—not only great vocalists but also an array of musicians who demonstrated their skills on the keyboard, drums, bass, electric guitar, saxophone, a very cool harp-like contraption, and more.
The best part was seeing even the shyest of people get the courage to go up and sing on the makeshift stage at the bar. Even if they expressed that they didn’t know what to sing at times, they were still able to fall into the rhythm of the music and genuinely enjoy themselves.
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“In terms of organization, we’re trying to structure ourselves so that we can run according to a feminist business model and also just in a very democratic way,” said Paraghamian.
“We’re kind of fine-tuning our mandate and we’ve been applying for grants so that we can expand and provide more opportunities for jam sessions or for workshops—for events run by Lotus,” she added.
“I’m very happy that people have shown positive feedback about this as a space where they can come to experiment and try new things. It’s a good start.” — Marcelle Partouche Gutierrez
Running a collective group is no joke. It takes a lot of hard work, determination, and motivation to give people these kinds of means to explore a safe environment where they can be their true and authentic selves.
This Sunday Soul Sessions jam was just a peek into the kinds of things Lotus has been working towards.
“On the back-end of things, there has been a lot of work in order to make this a more official organization to live up to the vision that has been expressed from day one,” said Paraghamian.
According to both Partouche Gutierrez and Paraghamian, the collective is focusing especially on the educational component, which they hope to achieve through grants.
They want people to have access to as many facets of music as possible. They are working hard to create opportunities for those least recognized in the music scene in Montreal.
Partouche Gutierrez said that they have organized 10 workshops and internship programs over the course of the following year for Lotus members who want to pursue music more seriously with professionals who can provide the means to achieve their goals.
All in all, they are building towards a better future for local aspiring musicians.
With the night slowly coming to a close, and freestyles engaging audience members more and more, it is fair to say that the first Sunday Soul Sessions jam was a success.
“I’m very happy that people have shown positive feedback about this as a space where they can come to experiment and try new things. It’s a good start,” said Partouche Gutierrez.
“Although it’s new, it also gives us a little bit of a sense that we get to create this space entirely, and we are not borrowing or piggybacking on someone else’s night,” she said. “Rather, we are really creating our own scene. I’m very happy!”
Lotus Collective is one to watch out for. You never know; maybe one day, you’ll find yourself on that same stage.
If you do, let me know. I’ll hang around ready to cheer you on.
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