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Lineup Announces For First Birdsong Album to Support Canadian Musicians with Mental Illness

Birdsong: David Martin New Music Foundation has announces its lineup of Canadian singer/songwriters for first Birdsong album, with recordings set to begin in Ottawa and Toronto in October and November 2020. Also, the deadline for east and west coast provinces for the Music Fund has been extended to Jan. 1, 2021.

The Birdsong: David Martin New Music Foundation is a nonprofit National Canadian Charity dedicated to improving the lives of people with mental illness in Canada. Its message and mission is to help inform and inspire Canadians through new music, small local community concerts, promotions, and awareness campaigns to change the existing belief system around those with mental illness.

“We are excited to announce the amazing artist line-up that has been approved by our board of directors at Birdsong Foundation as the first recipients of the Birdsong Music Fund,” says Margaret Konopacki, charity founder/director. "Each of our seven musicians and songwriters will be recording their original songs alongside skilled and experienced producer/engineers in professional studios and mentored by other musicians who support our foundation.

“Our aim is to provide musicians a leg-up with professionals in the industry and to mentor and encourage them to keep working with music for self expression and transformation. We have a number of music funds in Canada, but none that pay specific attention to people who live with mental health issues. As COVID-19 rips through Canada, more and more people experience some type of mental issues, like anxiety and depression. Many of them, however, live with these conditions their whole lives. Birdsong is geared to helping them get their music produced and heard. My son David was one of these people, and through this foundation he guides me to help others like him who often have no voice.”

Comments BIRDSONG creative director Brock Shillington, "We don’t have to sell the idea that music is an incredible tool for enlightenment and transformation. This album – which we will release at the end of 2021 – will be beautiful, unusual and powerful, hence selling itself. That is our hope.”

Production for the new album begins in Ottawa on Oct. 14 at Up & Up Studio in partnership with Sound Decisions, a studio owned and operated by musician/sound engineer Ted Adler (Jesse Dangerously, The Reds, Techtoniks).

In Toronto Birdsong will be producing a number of original songs at B Musique Productions studio, owned and operated by musician/producer/engineer Bryant Didier (Trace, Tom Cochrane, Bruce Cockburn, Carole Pope, Shakura S’Aida).

In Vancouver Birdsong are employing the expertise of engineer/songwriter Nygel Asselin of NYG Productions (who produced David Martin’s first and only album and Juno Award-winning Half Moon Run’s debut album, Dark Eyes, in 2012).

David Martin’s album Waves Of Existence inspired the creation of Birdsong Foundation in Canada. The annual Music Fund was created to commemorate his memory. The deadline for submissions for the fund has been extended to Jan. 1, 2021 for east and west coast provinces. For more information on the fund and applying, go HERE.

“We had a good turnout from Ontario and Quebec, but due to this being a new charity and a pandemic year, our Fund will stay open to better represent other parts of this incredible country," says Birdsong music board member Greg Campbell, who many  will remember as part of Ottawa-bred comedian Tom Green’s rap group, Organized Rhyme.

Birdsong's selected musicians/songwriters heading into production include:

Allan Kinney (Ottawa), Jordan Gow (Kanata), Matthew Johnston (Russel), Mike Emmet (Montreal), Robin Benedict (Hamilton), Statia (Belleville), Ashley Bell (Hagersville).

This will complete phase one. Plans to produced other original music from across Canada in 2021 are under way.

Birdsong Foundation was established to provide an avenue, for musicians who live with mental illness, to get their music and message out to the world. In this creative way, we can stand back and truly listen to their sounds and lyrics, perhaps changing our own views toward helping put an end to the stigma attached to the diagnosis.

For more information, go to www.birdsongfoundation.com.

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Michael Raine is the Senior Editor at Canadian Musician. He is also a co-host of the popular Canadian Musician Radio weekly podcast.
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