Kimberly's Blog: Dreaming is Free

FREE CHRISTMAS! 

 

                           Photo by: Bruce Toombs - Kimberly & the Dreamtime, Montreal, Dec 21, 2015

 

FREE CHRISTMAS! 

           by Kimberly Bourgeois

Nothing lights up my eyes like the sight of fresh starry snowflakes shimmering beneath street lamps. No matter how old I get, I still find something promising and magical about the month of December. 

Yet, it’s also around this time of year I start to hear folks grumble about the stress and cost of Christmas. Those of us who celebrate this holiday in North America know the drill: rack up credit cards with presents, ornaments, and vacation packages, then parcel it all up in paper and tinsel destined for the dump on January 2. We’ve probably all shared in these consumption rituals to lesser or greater degrees. And most of the time, we've probably meant well. After all, gift-giving is an important way of showing our appreciation for loved ones. And, as humans, we all want to love and be loved, right? It’s one of the things that’s cool about us.  

What’s not so cool is how our overconsumption is destroying the home that sustains us. 

I’ve been talking and singing about this for years, but this Christmas more than ever has me thinking about our future. With scientists now saying the Earth’s sixth mass extinction is underway, it’s clear we have to do more than just talk. As we witness the heartbreaking biological annihilation of wildlife, we humans are waking up to the fact that our own fate is inextricably intertwined with that of our planet's plants, animals, and microorganisms. They are the foundations of our web of life. Given how quickly they’re disappearing, it’s becoming evident that if we’re going to make it, we have to change—not slowly over time, but today. 

Please don’t read me wrong. I’m not suggesting that we turn cynical, stop celebrating, or curb our generosity.  At the core, there’s something inspiring and beautiful about all our efforts to surprise and delight our beloveds.  What I am suggesting is that we radically re-think the nature of our offerings. Must our gifts always be material, for instance? Or could they consist of something less tangible, yet possibly more profound, like our undivided time? Could our PRESENTS consist increasingly of our PRESENCE?  

I’m not saying that material gifts are always bad; in fact, if you look around, it won’t take long to find people in genuine need of such offerings. There are plenty of folks who lack basics, like winter boots and coats—and even food. Nor am I suggesting that gifts must be strictly utilitarian. Our souls need beauty—the kind Nature provides as well as the kind we create through our culture. But I do believe that if we buy anything new these days (vs. the often preferable second-hand), we need to consider our purchase’s impact and staying power. Is it useful? Is it made to last? How is it packaged? Will it delight, empower, educate, or enrich the individual in the long-term, or will it  quickly wind up in the trash, broken or replaced by something trendier?  

Within the context of climate crisis, buying frivolous stuff for people who clearly already have way more than enough (including ourselves), just for the sake of satisfying social conventions, seems reckless. Also, isn’t it crazy that in our consumer culture value is defined mainly by the amount we spend? Especially when you consider that, for all our spending, so many of us feel deeply impoverished?    

WHAT I’D LOVE TO SEE MORE OF THIS CHRISTMAS is the type of creative gift-giving mentioned earlier. Offerings of time and attention. As the pace of life continues to quicken, I suspect it’s what most of us deeply crave anyway. I know I sure do. Time spent carolling, dancing, journaling, storytelling, baking, crafting, tobogganing, strolling, reading, stargazing, snow-angel making, skating, meditating, talking, listening… Or, how about checking out local talent? Could the time formerly allotted to shopping be invested in visiting an art gallery, attending a poetry reading, or taking in a live, independent musical act?  Many of these things can be done at little to no cost and leave less of a footprint than buying a bunch more stuffespecially if you keep your activities close to home, so you can walk or take public transit, avoiding car and air travel. And let’s be honest: doesn’t RECONNECTING with each other and ourselves sound way more fulfilling than all those trips to the mall? 

There is a song on my first EP that addresses this very idea. It’s called BUILDING A TRADITION. You will find the lyrics at the bottom of this post. In the spirit of “freeing up” Christmas, I’m offering it for download at no cost, between now and January 2, 2018 (see link below). I’d love for this song to factor into your quality time this season, and maybe even become one of your listening traditions. If it gets you up dancing, all the better. 

If you’ve already purchased it, I thank you, and invite you to “gift” this link to your friends so they might also enjoy it. If you’d like to leave a donation in exchange for the work, you can (this is the kind of gift I appreciate most, as it helps me to keep doing what I do), but you shouldn’t feel obligated. Any amount—big, small, or nothing at all—is perfectly acceptable.  

What matters most to me now is spreading the message conveyed in the song, which is to shift our focus from overconsumption to CONNECTION.  It’s an important message year round, but since consumerism peaks during the holidays, let’s use this season to our advantage. 

This year, the greatest gift we could possibly offer our future selves is to finally awaken from the nightmare we’ve collectively created and BEGIN DREAMING A MUCH BETTER DREAM. Let’s free Christmas of its costly conventions and start building new traditions—the kind that actually support our magnificent selves and beloved Planet Earth.  

Wishing you much love this holiday season,  

Kimberly 

 

Until January 2, 2018, click link below for free download:

BUILDING A TRADITION - download link
 

BUILDING A TRADITION WRITING CREDITS: Lyrics by Kimberly Bourgeois; music by Christian Pelletier. MUSICIANS ON THIS RECORDING Voice: Kimberly Bourgeois; Guitar: Scott Diffee; Grand piano and organ: Daniel Loyer; Drums: Daniel Zanella; Bass: Jerry Catanescu; Violin: Norman Nawrocki.

 

building a tradition 

   Lyrics by Kimberly Bourgeois

  

Tonight, if it weren’t   

for the ribbons of light,   

the chaos of colour   

tying up the city  

like an overstuffed package,   

would we even know   

it’s Christmas?  

The heavens are dropping out,  

drizzling with the kind of disappointment  

that used to get buried   

deep within November  

And I’m coming home to you,  

my heart unfolding   

like the hand of a beggar  

while Ste-Catherine Street hustles a sky   

painted grey  

for the remnants of day  

Would you hold me   

like we’re building a tradition,  

a dream temple for two,  

a sleep so deep with healing  

that trust will grow anew?   

Do you remember   

when seasons used to dress up—  

December a radiant bride,   

sweeping the earth   

with her train of sequins,  

a diamond-studded blanket   

winking up at a honeymoon?  

There’s nothing green about this Christmas   

but the hurried flash of cash—  

this year’s gifts   

are next year’s trash—  

and tonight I long for something   

a little old-fashioned,  

something I know is going to last  

Would you hold me   

like we’re building a tradition,  

a dream temple for two,  

a sleep so deep with healing  

that trust will grow anew?  

Would you hold me   

like we’re building a tradition,  

a midnight mass for two,  

a sleep so deep with healing  

that trust will snow anew?  

 

Building a Tradition ©2005 Kimberly Bourgeois and Christian Pelletier All rights reserved.

Heart Wave in the Heat Wave 

             Photo by: Elizabeth Hanane Photo

September 23, 2017: I will remember you. This year, the second day of fall turned out to be the hottest day of summer. Go figure. Things got even hotter as we revved up the old dream machine and started to play. We had no sound technician for this informal gathering, so the resulting live, unedited footage below, captured by a friend with a smart phone (thanks, Liz Stevenson!), is about as raw and DIY as it gets. Yet, the energy raised felt right - musically and otherwise - which, at the end of the day, is what live music is all about: the people, the energy, and the memories. 

It's the kind of moment that comes to mind when I'm counting my blessings, as I'm doing right now on this Thanksgiving Monday. I'm reminded that nice things often come in small packages, which is how this recent gift-like get-together felt to me: small, simple, yet incredibly sweet. The occasion? Our singer-songwriter friend Matt Stern was visiting from BC, so we gathered a handful of friends and a load of good vibes in his honour.  Can’t think of a nicer way to spend a steamy September Saturday.   

So here you have it: Kimberly & the Dreamtime -  live, unedited, and sweaty - playing "Heart Wave" in the Heat Wave. 

Holding this memory tight as we head into the darker, colder months. 

Happy Thanksgiving, friends! 

Kimberly




 

 

DETOUR 

 


                                            Photo by Robert Saulnier
 

"Life is an adventure of our own design, intersected by fate in a series of lucky and unlucky accidents.”  

                                                      -spoken word from Patti Smith’s "Dream of Life" film.  

DETOUR


Bumpity bump, bump, bump. Sometimes what looks like a roadblock turns out to be a life saver. That’s a lesson I’ve learned repeatedly over the years. The trick, I guess, is to stay focused on the big picture, and keep moving, without getting too attached to a particular route or timeline.   

Easier said than done. Like anyone, I can get frustrated or frightened when the ride gets rocky.  Some months bring bodily aches and pains; others bring big, fat financial strains. Then there are those break-ups and break-downs, accidents big and small, betrayals and disappointments ten-feet-tall. But throughout it all, Life keeps inching along, winking through the cracks of my resistance, reminding me that beauty and blessings can wear some pretty strange masks. “Look again,” Life whispers.   

Admittedly, the ride has been particularly bumpy for a while due to a long string of construction projects in our apartment building and on our street. Jackhammers and drills: definitely not my favourite soundtrack.  Is it a convenient or comfortable time to move? Not at all. But, as I’ve learned, that’s not a good reason to stay.   

Some years back, I very reluctantly left a beloved home for similar reasons. At the time, I couldn’t understand why I was being so aggressively pushed out by endless construction. But, when I ran into a neighbour from that street later on, I found out  there had been a huge fire in the building after I left - which is when I realized: the disruption that displaced me might have actually saved me. “Listen closer,” Life whispers.   

This time, I hear you, Life. Loud and clear. I’m not where I’m meant to be. So, yes, we’re packing it up and pushing on.  But, in the meantime, last Sunday, my sweetheart and I stepped away from our mess of work and boxes to enjoy a few hours of  blessed goofy fun. As the above photo attests, this mini mental holiday helped me to reconnect with the big picture and remember some of the things that make my heart soar.    

Yes, I still have some songs left in me. One of them is called "Detour."  When will I record it? Don’t know yet. I’m not ready to worry about the how and when. What I do know is that I love to create and sing, and to connect with others through the ritual of concert. In other words, I’m looking forward to settling into our new home so we can get on with the show.    

This is a promise that gets me out of bed in the morning and continues to pull my hand across the pages of my journal - even on the bumpiest days. It’s a big part of my big picture, and it feels good to be reminded, detours and all.  

Keep dreaming,  

Kimberly

Making Musical Memories 

                                                                                       Photo by Kalina Veleva

I took a little trip down memory lane this weekend and sifted through my Kimberly & the Dreamtime photo archives. I’m reminded of how blessed I’ve been to work with so many fine musicians over the years.  

Robert Saulnier, Nick Truchi, Claude Hurtubise, Raymond Newton, Martin Saint, Julie Abel, Carole Senécal, Émilie Bernard, Scott Diffee, Daniel Loyer, Richard Ranger, Daniel Zanella, Jerry Catanescu, Myles Hildebrand, Norman Nawrocki, Shoukry Aboulehaf, Sean Madden, and Gonzalo Meza:  

Each one of you has added to the magic of this project, helping to shape the sound of the band—live or in studio. You’re all rock stars, my friends.  

A special shout-out goes to guitarist Martin Saint who, in recent years, helped rearrange songs according to the lineup—be it for the two of us as an acoustic act, or for the full band. You breathed fresh energy into older songs like Rock Candy and Hotel, and your influence, along with that of producer Bill Szawlowski, is palpable on the Heart Wave recordings.  

I also raise my hat to Claude Hurtubise and Nick Truchi for their contributions at the launch concerts last November. Somehow, in a very short window of time, you managed to prepare the songs in such a way that honoured the musicians who came before you while adding your own colours to the mix. No small task. 

I’ve uploaded a bunch of pics—old and new—to my website as mementos of this wild journey. Check out the slideshow I’ve created to honour these treasured memories.

 KIMBERLY AND THE DREAMTIME: MAKING MUSICAL MEMORIES

Looking forward to making more. 

À suivre,  

Kimberly

 

That Night I Met Leonard Cohen in a Dingy Dreamtime Diner 




A few years ago, I had one of those dreams you never forget:

It's late at night and I'm driving on an unfamiliar highway. I'm worried about getting lost so decide to pull over to a service station and ask for directions. There doesn’t seem to be anyone at the counter to help, so I walk into an adjoining roadside diner and plunk myself down in a booth. A man comes in and sits next to me, an older gentleman whose beautifully tailored suit contrasts sharply with our dingy surroundings. You guessed it: this man is Leonard Cohen.  

No words are exchanged, but Cohen’s energy is warm, reassuring, and generous. He has that mischievous twinkle in his eye—the kind he gets when he’s about to drop one of his depression-soaked jokes. In this case, an inside joke.  He discretely slips me a small package under the table. A gift. Inside this tiny box is the most exquisite and elegant pair of diamond earrings I’ve ever seen. 

                                                     ******************************

 

You are an artist’s artist, Leonard Cohen, the kind that makes me want to revisit my drafts and try harder, to polish each line until it sparkles like diamonds in a dusty old diner. Your deep dusky voice has soothed some of my darkest hours, refilling my pen with black inky purpose. You’ve kept me reaching for higher versions of myself, even when I’m lost. Especially when I’m lost. You’ve beckoned me off the beaten track, taught me to seek out the sacred gifts in sadness-swollen nights. You’ve shown me despair’s ornate offerings. You’ve led me to look for love in all the wrong places—reminding me there are no wrong places when it comes to love, only myopic hearts. 

Thank you, Leonard Cohen, for all your poetry gems. You have been, and will continue to be, one of my finest teachers. I will never speak of you in the past tense. Your musical diamonds dangle from my ears as I wish you safe travels. I doubt you’ll be needing a map since you're the master at finding filaments of light, even on the darkest of nights. I trust you’ll follow those threads, dear friend, allowing bright beams of beauty to find and fill your ears, forever and ever, Amen.  

Until we meet again: sweet dreams. 

Kimberly

SOLSTICE STAR PROPHECY 



It’s true… December days can feel too short. Seems you’ve barely finished your lunchtime latte, and already the shadows are carpeting Montreal sidewalks, the wind whisking another day under the rug. Until December 21, that is… What better time to fire up a little mistletoe mojo than Winter Solstice Eve? Sitting still, the sun will soon slip us a seductive smile that says: “I’m coming home.”

With the holidays brewing, I propose we jingle-bell-rock the socks off one of the darkest nights of the year and celebrate the return of the light. LOWER THE STARS and J.P. MORTIER will be joining KIMBERLY AND THE DREAMTIME for this lustrous soirée, tripling your sonic satisfaction. All that’s needed to complete this rock ’n’ roll ritual is YOU. Yes, that’s right: YOU. Each and every one of your smiles will add to the glow at Casa del Popolo, so, on Monday, December 21, 2015, please join us for a night that burns through the dark like a chic chandelier.

See you in the shimmer,

 

Kimberly

December 21, 2015

Celebrate Winter Solstice Eve with

KIMBERLY & THE DREAMTIME (full band!)
plus:
J.P. Mortier 
Lower the Stars 

Casa del Popolo
4871, boul. St-Laurent
Doors at 7 pm. 

Advance tickets $8 


Buy advance tickets here

$10 at door

To join the Facebook Event

 


 

SUPERMOON MAGIC 



Who doesn’t love a little moon magic?

 

On September 26, 2015, I was invited to read some poems at BBAM! Gallery in Montreal for an event hosted by Akim Kermiche: La couleur des mots. What better occasion to try out a new piece I’d been working on for a while, but which only came together that week. As mentioned on stage, some poems take a day to write; others take a year…. While this one, entitled “Reckless,” had had a lengthy gestation period, the timing of its first presentation felt perfect. It was the eve of the Super Blood Moon Eclipse—an excellent opportunity for transformation through reaching deep within. Sharing a poem that explores life’s cycles and “rocks the bottom, another ocean floor” felt like an apt way to honour this rare occasion.

 

“Reckless” is the second of three poems presented in the video I've included here (see 4:52). The first piece, “La machine à mots,”  which I read in French, is by Brigitte Therien, a poet featured that day and whose work I was pleased to discover (see 1:00). The third piece, “Release Party,” is another one of mine, which you may recognize from the Kimberly and the Dreamtime album (see 8:56). You can find the words for "Release Party" here on my website (under ABOUT - Words).

 

Wishing you much love and wonder this fall, I thank you for listening. 

 

Here’s to life’s rituals, rhythms, and rotations.

 

Keep dreaming,

Kimberly

 
To view the video on Youtube, click on this link: VIDEO: KIMBERLY BOURGEOIS reads poetry at BBAM! Gallery

A THOUSAND WORDS 

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and I gather this is particularly true when the person behind the camera is as adept as Bruce Toombs at helping his subject to unfold. 

 

I’m usually fidgety before photographers, but the generous amount of time Bruce allotted to preparing for our recent shoot helped me let down my guard.  Bruce met with me in advance to discuss the project, listened to my music, read my lyrics, and even came out to photograph the band during one of our shows. Not only did this process help me flesh out the concept for my next release, but it paid off with a batch of photos that support the sonic stories I’d like to tell.

 

Beyond his obvious technical skills and talent as a photographer, Bruce has an open spirit and a playful, creative edge that come through in his work. His enthusiasm is infectious, making collaboration fun, and his photography is infused with unique depth and mood thanks to the sensitivity he brings to the task.  Above are a few samples from our shoot. More will come as we get into recording mode! 

QUI JE SUIS. AUJOURD'HUI. 


Stuff speaks to us. Sometimes it says nice things; sometimes it fills subconscious ears with tired, limiting tunes about your own worth or prospects, hindering evolution towards higher versions of yourself.


I’m back in clutter-clearing mode. Having moved three times in four years, I’ve had no choice but to radically pare down my possessions. Yet, somehow, this still doesn’t feel like enough. The process has made me hyper-aware of how inner and outer worlds mirror each other. This year, I’m letting go because I feel like it, not because I have to.
 

I’ve begun my spring cleaning, parting with those objects which no longer reflect my new goals and visions. Making space for fresh music, ideas, and art projects. Celebrating by smudging freshly cleaned corners with sage, heightening the ritual and speeding up the spell. Switching my focus forward. Choosing consciously who I want to become, rather than letting “who I’ve been” shape my every heartbeat. It’s amazing how getting rid of even one object, or cleaning out a single drawer, can shift the rhythm of a room—and by extension, your life. 


Feeling a little lighter already. Younger even. This is me. Loving today.

GAMBLERS' HEAVEN 


Performance pushes me right up to the ledge. Hanging off a cliff invokes an incomparably heightened kind of focus. Time slows down, yet passes in a flash while I scale skyscraper songs. Gamblers’ Heaven. It’s on.