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Murder, They Sang! Dark ballads and tales told in the winter parlour…


Murder, They Sang! Dark ballads and tales told in the winter parlour…

Saturday December 11th | 7pm Eastern Time (find your Time Zone here)

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Tickets are by donation; any amount is appreciated!

In this celebration of the traditional to the contemporary, with a nod to popular culture, we will be honouring murder ballads that have been "packaged in the cozy trappings of the holiday" for centuries. These ballads, illuminating shocking events, have travelled, evolved, and, in some instances, been created in more contemporary eras to memorialize both the miscreants and their victims.

Hosted by renowned storyteller and author of Stories from Songs, Gail de Vos, with vocalists and musicians Kim Michele, Heather Whaley, and a special debut appearance by Sarah Abušarar. Accompanying musicians Cassie Norton on violin and Peter de Vos on banjo. Artistic direction from Heather Whaley.

Questions? Email

This concert will be hosted on Zoom. You will receive a Zoom link in your confirmation email. Make sure to check your junk mail if you don't receive it right away. We will send the link again before the show.

Murder, They Sang! Dark ballads and tales told in the winter parlour… image

Sarah Abušarar

Sarah comes from a long line of storytellers on her paternal side. She tells stories to both adults and children. Sarah has told nationally and internationally at various cultural centers, museums, art galleries, festivals, libraries, parks, and homes. Because Sarah grew up in several countries, she tells stories from all over the world with the focus on Palestinian and Croatian stories, where her roots lie. For this concert, Sarah will be exploring composing and singing a ballad from the Croatian tradition. She belongs to a collective called Musical Story Studio where stories and music intertwine. While Sarah's role in this collective is as key storyteller with the musicians’ and their compositions, this time Sarah is composing and collaborating with Cassie Norton to share a unique and obscure murder ballad. This will be Sarah's first time joining balladeers and singing a ballad, she hopes that this exciting journey will further connect her to the folk art of her culture.

Gail de Vos

Gail is a professional storyteller, educator, and author of numerous books and articles on storytelling, folklore, and comic books. She is particularly fascinated by reworkings of traditional folklore in popular culture and media. Her interest in the ballads of Tam Lin and Thomas the Ryhmer instigated the publishing of three of these scholarly works, one of which, Stories from Songs: Ballads as Literary Fictions for Young Adults, is dedicated to a range of ballad genres including those of murder and dark tragedy. Gail is our host storyteller and commentator for Murder They Sang.

Peter de Vos

Peter enjoys playing a range of musical genres on several instruments. He spent 28 years working with brands, advertising, and communications, and now lives in Seba Beach, Alberta with Gail and their dogs.

Kim Michele

A diverse performer, Storyteller, Author, RCM Artist Educator and Professional Musician. Kim combines storytelling amid the sounds of the ancient harp bringing an eclectic mix of melodies, songs and ballads to tales of fairy, folklore, history, heritage, and original stories. She attended the Royal Conservatory of Music for Harp, Voice, Artist Educator “Learning through the Arts Program”, and the University of Toronto fulfilling her passion for the early periods including Medieval, Renaissance and Celtic Studies. Having a love for the old ancient/traditional ballad and taking workshops/courses that include most fondly Lorne Brown of Storytelling Toronto, and other various mentors of family and colleagues. A former VP of the Ontario Folk Harp Society, member of Storytelling Toronto, Durham Storytellers, and Storytellers of Canada. She is editor for Canadian Storytellers for Children Barrel of Stories and the author of a series of short stories including “Emma’s Garden”.

Cassie Norton

Cassie Norton is a Toronto based singer-songwriter, violinist/multi-instrumentalist and climate activist. Cassie tells the stories behind her lyrics with sound, using a wide timbral palette of voice, violin, octave violin, ukulele, and piano. Cassie has performed as an improviser with numerous musical acts and Story-tellers including: Erik Bleich, Hassan El. Hadi, Kobena Aquaa Harrison, Earthian Music Band, Wet Nose Hero and Sarah Abusarar at small and medium venues all over the world. Cassie has released 2 albums Little Strength 2009, Quiet Wilderness, 2010 and one EP with her current band, Lullaby for the End of Time, 2019 and has played on numerous recordings with other artists.

Heather Whaley

Heather is best known as a musical storyteller, singer-songwriter, and orator who brings traditional and original stories and songs to life by interspersing the narrative with rhyme, chant, song, spoken word, playing guitar, and using percussion instruments to create unique storytelling sessions. She has toured nationally and internationally performing and producing concerts for both children and adults, and was director for Storytelling Toronto's StoryFusion Cabaret concert series from fall of 2014 to spring of 2020, featuring many wonderful storytellers, musicians, and artists from the city and across the country.

Heather is the Artistic Director for Murder They Sang which was inspired by her curiosity with human nature and our intrigue with murder and true-life crime.

In 2009 she discovered Stories from Songs - Ballads as Literary Fictions for Young Adults by Gail de Vos which led her on a path to some interesting and challenging song writing and storytelling sessions with high school and college students - they love murder ballads!

Heather has a strong passion for modelling and advocating a professional image for storytellers. She is thrilled to have the support of SC-CC in launching what she hopes will become a regular ballad series.

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