The Sarah Slean Experience

This is going to be a bit of self-indulgence post as I’ve just returned from an AMAZING concert from my absolute favourite artist, the lovely miss Sarah Slean.

Have you ever had a favorite singer or musician, or author for that matter whose work becomes not just music or songs or lyrics, but they become intertwined into your own life fabric? Like the notes and words and emotions are tiny threads that woven into your heartbeat and your pulse? Sarah Slean’s music is that for me. When I hear her play, it’s like there is a part of my heart and mind that opens up just for her.

Here’s a back story:

Almost 10 years ago exactly, I was in 12th grade and suffering from either insomnia or stress and couldn’t sleep. While the rest of my family was tucked into warm beds, I poured some cereal and flicked on the TV, not expecting much to be on at 2am. In a moment of luck, or maybe fate, I happened to catch a repeat of a Canadian talk show. Normally I wouldn’t pay much attention but there happened to be this beautiful, pale skinned singer playing the most beautiful song I had ever heard. I was transfixed.  Now this was the age before YouTube and Facebook and I tried to find out more about this Sarah Slean but not much existed, in my half sleep/half awake mode I emailed the only address I could find, Sarah herself asking her when her CD would be released. A day or two later, I received a short but cute note answering me.   The connection had begun!



I picked up the CD the day it came out and I must have almost melted it in my stereo I played it much. Nightbugs was the name and it remains one of my favorite albums. A few months passed and I found out that she was going on tour, stopping in Banff, not too far from me. I coerced a friend to come along and I had no idea how amazing that first concert would be.  It’s funny the connections between that first show and the one I just attended. Both in sleepy snowy mountain towns, both very intimate in a heritage building with candles and beer flowing. That first concert was incredible, the band and Sarah played beautifully and just when I thought it couldn’t get better, we ended up backstage on the green room couch laughing with the band like old friends.

There have been many more concerts and several albums, but I don’t think that I could have ever thought 10 years ago that I would have had so many memories and key moments in my life thanks to one artist. A few years ago I ended up winning a contest to attend her art gallery opening in Toronto and through the beauty of friendship (friends I made through her website no less) I found myself flying to snowy Toronto and eventually standing in a fancy art-gallery shoulder to shoulder with some of Canadian music’s finest,  and having to pinch myself that it was real.


Fast forward to tonight, another concert in a snowy town. When Sarah steps on stage it’s like watching an old friend. She is as talented and beautiful as that first television broadcast at 2am and I find myself taking in as much as I can in the few hours she plays. After the show, she hangs out by the merchandise and if I thought seeing her play was like an old friend, than this is something even better. She gives a huge hug and knows me by name, asking how I’m doing and how nice it is to see me again before I can even get out a word. We talked for a while about many things; running, working, the beautiful mountains and snow that surround us. After we say goodbye and I thank her for an amazing performance, I find myself once again reeling with music inside my body.

I set back out into the cold mountain air, seeing my breath before me, hearing my shoes crunch on the snowy concrete and I smile for I am lucky to be exactly where I am right now.

Do you have a musical artist that evokes that passion inside you? If so, who?


7 thoughts on “The Sarah Slean Experience

  1. First, great post! I can really identify with what you’ve written. It is great you’ve got that kind of connection with one artist. I haven’t made anything like your real world connection with an artist. I have been moved by several different artists/groups over the years of my life and I have several discographies I never seem to get tired of hearing. There are songs that can instantly connect me to a variety of points in my life the instant I hear them. I may not be tied to the artist in the same way I connect to my favourites but these songs have indelibly left a stamp on my psyche based on some emotional connection (usually joy) with the music in that time of my life.

  2. What a powerful and wonderful post! That’s one of the many reasons I am fan, Joel. : )
    Harold feels the same way about Dolly Parton – he’s listened to her from a young age and identifies with her songs with different periods in his life. I have cetainly come to appreciate her as well.

    For me it was a series of books – The Belgariad by David Eddings. The books had humor, sweeping scope, powerful magic, and wonderful easy story telling. I read the books over and over again – I was so fascinated with the craft in them. They have influenced my artwork in so many ways.

    In the last 10 years it has changed to the Harry Dresden series by Jim Butcher. The title character continues to grow and mature and learn about himself and the world around him. It shares the power magic and humor of the Belgariad but it also incorporates the real life ethic choices that reflect a more adult view. Again I’m blown away by the craft that goes into this series.

    Tx for including the youtube videos! Sarah is wonderful! I’m going to have to get her work.

    All the best – Michael

    Unique and powerful Male Artwork
    Michael Taggart Photography

  3. I feel the same way with the score to Pride and Prejudice with Keira Knightley. Dario Marianelli took inspirations from classical artists and he intertwined them into his own works. Every time i listen to pieces, I picture sun flares, and big grassy expanses, and cliffs that lead down to nowhere, and big trees in the middle of a field. It’s so beautiful!

  4. Aww, this post is so touching! I can perfectly relate to it!

    As for your question: Marcel khalife. I never actually met him, and probably never will. My story with Mar began when I was a little kid and when he had a wonderful, wonderful song called “Rita”. Everyone used to sing this song to me (and still do, as a matter of fact) as my name is Rita, too. I was super excited about having a whole song written for me, and there was no use in explaining that there might be other Ritas out there as well.

    After that I got older and stuff and started to pay attention to the lyrics he sings which are awesomely unique and very deep in meaning. Then, he literally participated in shaping the Rita I am now.
    He sings Arabic songs mostly, but he also has music. Just breathtaking, plain music, with no lyrics.

    (Well, in case you’re curious you may listen to “Rita” by clicking on this link:
    And you can read the translation of it’s lyrics over here:

  5. Pingback: Comfortably Numb | Michael Taggart Photography

  6. Wow! I’m amazed by this post. I grew up with music all around me because both my parents are musicians so I appreciate everything about music, it’s a vital part of my life; seriously, I can’t imagine a life without music.

    Of course I have a musical artist that evokes passion inside me, well I actually have many of them.

    It’s not just some artists that makes me feel in heaven but certain kind of sounds, you may ask, what do you mean by that? Easy, I just care how I feel about their music, feeling their melodies is as pure as If I was looking right at their eyes, and we all know eyes and melodies never lie.

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