Typewriter percussionist taps out the beat

Alaska-based musician Marian Call next up for Folk Society’s club nights.

Singer, songwriter and typewriter percussionist Marian Call is performing live at Deep Cove Folk Society’s next club night, Friday, March 13.

Angela Cowan

News staff

Singer, songwriter and typewriter percussionist Marian Call is bringing her brand of musical mastery to Deep Cove Folk Society’s club night next Friday (March 13).

Call uses a late 1930s Underwood to add a unique flavour to her already singular collection of songs, and it must be said, the clack of the keys as she taps out the beat is most satisfying, as is her deft handling of lyrics and passion for ‘geek’ culture.

The Alaska-based musician has garnered a loyal and widespread fan base over the years, no doubt due in part to her passion to performing live.

“I think the magic of live performance has something to do with everyone experiencing something at the same time,” she says.

Call actively seeks out small venues when planning her shows, and is “very much looking forward to coming to the Island” and the Deep Cove Society.

“My fans have been telling me about it for years,” she says. “This part of the world is so unique and I love getting to talk to folks who choose to make their home here.”

The intimate nature of the Society’s club nights is exactly her cup of tea, she says.

“When I can see everyone in a small room, I sort of fall in love with them a tiny bit. It feels very special to play music for folks up close, and it feels special to hear it up close too.”

Having released (or re-released) four albums last year, the song list is guaranteed to have a wide variety of tunes, not unusual for Call, whose writing tendencies lean toward the less conventional.

“My shows alternate between very humorous and very serious,” she says. “I sing about very unusual topics, like phoning tech support or missing deadlines or trying to find a ripe avocado. But I also sing about very human things. Love, family, loss.”

The most recent CD, Sketchbook, is a bootleg album recorded on the road, the packaging hand-stamped by Call herself. Full of songs about “time, lightning, birds, books and hope,” it’s endorsed by geekdom hero Wil Wheaton (known for his role as Wesley Crusher from Star Trek: The Next Generation), who says “it’s like having a Marian Call house concert in your pocket all the time.”

Call also recently re-released Got to Fly, a love letter to spaceships and storytelling, with the title track Call’s attempt to answer the questions: “Why art? Why fantasy and sci-fi? Why NASA?”

Subject to the limits of ordinary time, Call, like so many other artists with a full stock of brilliant songs, will have to make some hard choices on what to include in the Deep Cove Folk show, but luckily, she’ll have five of her albums available for purchase.

As for what audiences can expect, Call says there’s something for everyone.

“It’s a bit like a musical, hitting a lot of different emotional notes, only not like a musical at all because I’m a terrible dancer and I don’t anticipate any costume changes.”

The evening begins at 8 p.m. Friday, March 13 with an open mic after which Call takes the stage. Deep Cove Folk club nights run the second Friday of the month at St. John’s United Church, 10990 West Saanich Road. Admission is $7, and coffee, tea and other refreshments are by donation.

For more information and to hear Call’s music, visit mariancall.com.

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