MUSIC: Beaches’ Jazz Fest: Liona Boyd
It was the perfect summer afternoon with blue skies and a comfortable 23 degrees celcius as people young and old gathered around the main stage at Kew beach. Anticipation mounted for the first lady of guitar, Liona Boyd, to take the stage. Once again residing in Toronto and with a new album “Return To Canada, With Love” set to be released in the new year, Liona graced the stage just after 3:30pm. Accompanied by fellow classical guitarist and Toronto local Michael Savona , the show started off with a classical composition entitled “ Spirit Of The Canadian North Lands” . This was the first taste of a performance chock full of odes to the great white north. Liona Boyd is a reminder of the phenomenal talent our country has to offer. Liona has performed for royalty, for presidents and prime ministers and has performed with such talents as Yo Yo Ma and Eric Clapton. She has performed on The Tonight Show and received both the order of Canada and the order of Ontario. Her illustrious career has brought her to seven continents, performing for audiences all over the world.
Following a diagnosis of focal dystonia, Liona had to change the way she plays guitar. During this period she developed her singing and song writing abilities which is evident in her current music. She now incorporates many folk elements. Liona has an ethereal presence and her music tells a story, whether she is singing about her own personal history or about a Canadian icon such as Emily Carr. One of the more poignant moments was a beautiful song entitled “Living My Life Alone”. A bittersweet song she dedicated to the single people in the audience, it was a very honest reminiscence of the could have beens in life, with a brief mention of her romance with Pierre Elliot Trudeau at the age of 21. A line from the song goes “Who would have thought at this time I’d still have no place to call home. Who would have thought at this time I’d be living my life alone”. It is apparent that Liona Boyd has put reflection in to the events that have shaped her. She talked a lot about Toronto, the city she now once again calls home. “Toronto, I knew you long ago….Toronto, I’ve missed you so”.
Her new album will include a song called “Canada, My Canada” a song that features Jann Arden and was written with the knowledge that there are not enough national patriotism songs being sung in schools across the country. The performance finished with Liona telling the audience “thank you for bringing me home”. Canada welcomes you back with open arms.