Kaleb + Tanya at Cameron house

Sunday · October 19th · 2013

A few things I’ve noticed in my relatively short time here in Toronto: I spend a lot of time at Cameron House.

“Kaleb” is Kaleb Hikele, someone I saw open for one of my various Pigott Brothers gigs and I was thoroughly impressed with his smooth, heartfelt acoustic style onstage. Naturally, when I received a text a saying that Kaleb had a gig of his own with his friend Tanya (on August 19th), I went.

I was both impressed and unimpressed, but the feelings were balanced equally.

Opening his set with a song about a house/apartment fire I noticed a difference in mood from the last time I’d seen him; I had previously seen Kaleb as someone who wrote only happy go lucky songs in the vein of Jack Johnson or Jason Mraz. Clearly I was mistaken, and pleasantly surprised. He skimmed his way through an otherwise pretty laid back set which I enjoyed, although it was clear that he was more there in support of his friend Tanya than to push his own music which is a respectable trait in itself. I bopped along through a decent set of mostly darker material, much of which caused me to write the note “oooh growwwwlll” or “pretty fals.” Anyone who knows anything about me as a music fan knows I love a good raspy tone and a good male falsetto. Kaleb hit the mark on both of those, plus easing me into a style that I wouldn’t normally reach for if given the option. Pretty cool marriage of things and a pleasant surprise for me.

Anxiously, I awaited to hear the music that I’d just been given at the door live.

Earlier I’d been lucky enough to stumble in in the midst of sound check and was treated to a sea shanty that involved a single drum in a very pretty green hue and was absolutely captivated by the richness of the vocal and the uniqueness of the song. This song was called I’ve Got a Story and actually put a giddy smile on my face. It was second in Tanya’s set, it’s predecessor being Chasing Lights, a tune based on broken chords (from what I could hear, anyway) featuring warm vocals and a bouncy undertone. Then came Colourblind which is a song full of food metaphors. Given that I like to write using quite a few of those myself, I laughed and enjoyed myself quite a bit. In a set full of quirky, heartfelt pieces that really shouldn’t have made any sense structurally but did anyway. The darker pirate themed story song Hemp and Jig was my favorite as I’m a sucker for dark themes, even with my love for the light, the sunny, and the bouncy.

Tanya’s set was long as it was an album release and she played her whole album in track listing order, and I’m not about to complain because I’m the first person to beg that sets go longer and I got my wish this time. The one thing that unsettled me a bit was the harmonies between Kaleb and Tanya. Something that should have been so perfect and flawless was actually choppy and mismatched. There were a few times where one performer was thrown off by the other but they are both so professional that they both landed on their feet and jumped back in. Just going by observations, I would say that this was their first time performing live together and it will get better as time goes by. I look forward to the evolution.

Stay INtune for more with Kaleb. I sit down with him to talk music, his studio, his life, and the many fires he has his hands in.


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