July 19th was a sad day for Canadian indie fans as Toronto’s beloved Ohbijou announced their indefinite hiatus after eight years of making beautiful music together. Leaving without a proper goodbye just wouldn’t be their style, so this Saturday there will be a farewell show where Ohbijou will be joined by their friends: The Rural Alberta Advantage, Snowblink, The Wooden Sky and The Acorn.
Raina got the chance to chat with Ohbijou’s Casey Mecija and her sister Jenny last week. Watch the video below:
From playing music with her friends in a basement in Brantford, Ontario, frontwoman Casey Mecija never imagined playing in front of an audience until she moved to Toronto. In 2004, Mecija collected a group of talented, like-minded friends and Ohbijou was formed. Needing a space of their own, the Toronto collective found a house in the Queen West neighbourhood of Bellwoods. A living space for some, a creative space for many, and a local venue for all, the Bellwoods home would turn into a place where friends were made and music flourished.
Ohbijou played a significant role in creating an independent music community in Toronto. To celebrate the intersection of art and community, Ohbijou put out the first Friends in Bellwoods compilation CD in 2007 that featured fellow Toronto bands such as The Acorn, Evening Hymns, The D’Urbervilles, The Rural Alberta Advantage, Timber Timbre, and The Wooden Sky, just to name a few. We recently caught up with Gavin Gardiner from The Wooden Sky at The Traveling Adventure Show and he spoke very fondly of Ohbijou:
“When I met those people and saw what great work they were doing and how inviting and how encouraging they were to all the people around them, it was really inspiring and exciting.”
Community became a prominent theme for Ohbijou. They released volume two of Friends in Bellwoods in 2011. Proceeds from both albums helped raise over $17,000 for Toronto’s Daily Bread Food Bank. In a recent blog post Casey writes:
“Our initial intention, and one we continue to hold dearly to, was to produce social change through music. It has always been important to us to support local initiatives that aim to take care of the city in which we live. In our own ways, we will continue to do so.”
Mecija’s blog post reflects back on her experiences with Ohbijou and articulates some of the obstacles they’ve faced as an independent Canadian band. She touches on issues concerning multiculturalism, sexuality, the changing patterns of music consumption, and her hope for the future of music promoting change. Read the full blog post here.
Although many fans feel like they’re losing a piece of the Toronto indie family, Saturday will be a celebration of the music. At 9:30pm on Saturday September 7, Ohbijou will take the stage at The Great Hall in Toronto to close one chapter and open a new one.
Doors open at 8pm.
Ohbijou will play first set at 9:30pm sharp (come early).
Ohbijou covers performed by our friends.
Ohbijou will play last set.
DJ’s Bahai Cassette will spin the hits through-out the night.
Projections by Jesse Yules.
We hope to see you at the show!