It’s quite thrilling when one sees a well executed and imaginative idea come to life, especially when it’s literally in one’s own backyard. Such is the case with London, Ontario’s Oh! - The brief, exclamatory moniker for The Open House Arts Collective. (Oh!) is a dedicated group of musicians, artists and art enthusiasts with a clear mission. Working together to motivate, support and inspire the local arts community and to promote the community's endeavours within the Canadian arts scene. By encouraging open membership with active participation and involvement is precisely what makes this venture so exciting. It's also what ultimately renders their inspired charge a stroke of organizational genius. Yes, it’s certainly something this city has seen in it’s not to recent past. The community for instance, had an exceptionally vibrant arts community in the 1960’s. Not to mention extraordinary musical talent in every decade since! The difference this time out pure organization and dedication. And Oh! is all of that.
An ambitious plan? Yes. Lofty goals? Yes. Achieveable? ABSOLUTELY!
All ready the fruits of their collective labours are taking shape. Oh! has begun in earnest, organizing local music and art shows in a variety of traditional and non-traditional spaces. The difference this time out though is clearly the well planned organization and the huge amount of goodwill that is surrounding this enterprise. Good times ahead for the London arts community. Indeed, something that in these times we need more than ever. My hat is definitely off to the organizers and members of Oh! You’re doing an amazing job and really making a difference. I am but one voice, but you are making a difference in this city. People are getting excited about music again. What a novel concept.
Want some tangilble proof? A most incredible CD (near and dear to this bloggers heart,) the release of Oh! Compilation One - this past Saturday at the Fourth Annual London Indie Media Fair at the London Public Library, central location. Oh! Compilation One is a dozen song sampling of some of the best locally produced music. Everyone involved in the project waived fees on the new recording to help promote the Open House Recording Co. projects and collective events.
The idea behind this compilation began to take shape in November of last year at the London Music Club after a multi-artist salute to The Beatles' White Album on the 40th anniversary of its release. One of those artists and Oh! member, Blair Whatmore is credited with compiling and developing the compendium. Whatmore is a member of Olenka & the Autumn Lovers, (recent CHRW local album of the year recipients). His own outfit, (a solo outing this time) For Love or Money also appears on the compilation.
The complete artist listing:
Aaron Lozynsky, A Horse and His Boy, Bryan Pole, Davita G, For Love or Money, Handsome Dan and His Gallimaufry, Olenka and the Autumn Lovers, The Late Miss Mary Kingsley, The Lava Lamps, The Samuel Musical, The State Bird of Idaho, The Whipping Wind.
After a weekend of listening to the CD I am pleased to report this compilation is a great one. A release that offers that measured combination of amazing musicianship, lyrical excellence and fantastic artwork. In simple terms, a mix CD from the true heart of the Forest City- its artists. It succeeds on every level and is a brilliant lead off to a venture that will shine a positive light on this city’s vibrant music and arts community.
Check out their official website here.
Join their Facebook Group here.
Listen to a few samples on Radioh here.
Sooooo, want to own a copy of this CD? Head down to Grooves on Clarence St. in London and pick up your copy today. Affordably priced at $5.00, it will make a welcome addition to anyone’s music collection.
WIN WIN WIN!
As well, dear reader I have two copies of this terrific CD to give away. Just email me at sean dot thisispop at gmail dot com and tell me that you would like a copy and I’ll select two winners randomly this Friday March 27th.