No More Bullies
The Aeolian in association with London Lesbian Film Festival presents Alysha Brilla, Carly Thomas, Lori Girard, and Jessica Vanden Boomen
All proceeds will be going towards My Sisters' Place!
Twice Juno Award nominated singer-songwriter, producer and community organizer Alysha Brilla is a critically acclaimed Indian-Tanzanian Canadian artist who just released her third self produced album, “HUMAN”. Brilla's new music draws on the influences of her unique background. An ancestral journey to her father’s homeland in 2015 delivered inspiration for Brilla to write and produce the 10 new songs on “Human”; a lyrically timely record blending Indian & East African sounds with a contemporary aesthetic. The first single from this newest release, “No More Violence”, is currently charting in the top 3 of the CBC Top 20 Countdown. Born in Mississauga, Ontario to an Indo-Tanzanian immigrant father and a European-Canadian mother, Alysha Brilla grew up in a household with unique discourse around the arts and social politics. Brilla is an arts educator; frequently conducting music and social justice workshops in elementary schools across Canada and internationally. TEDx speaker and Oktoberfest Woman Of The Year Arts & Culture Award recipient, Brilla has been a mentor for YWCA’s “Rock Weekend”, helping marginalized female youth develop social skills through music. A multi-racial child of the Indian diaspora, Alysha’s art aims to unite people through the Canadian cultural kaleidoscope and bring light to social inequity issues in Canada and abroad. Her music and workshops feature strong themes of cultural diversity, gender equality and inclusivity.
Brilla has been producing music for over eight years; inspired by producers such as Mark Ronson, Stephen Marley and Linda Perry as well as the talented producers she has personally worked with (Boots, Ron Lopata, Brian West, Marcus Kane).
Brilla’s production journey began through a studio co-op in highschool and continued to flourish throughout her journey working with various talented producers in Canada and the U.S.
In addition to musical works, Brilla produced, directed and scored the soundtrack for the short film “Supporting Indigenous Students”. This documentary looks at how Post-Secondary Institutions in Ontario and Canada can better support the influx of First Nations students and accommodate the varying histories and experiences they may have. “Supporting Indigenous Students” is set to be released January 2017.
Included in Chatelaine Magazine’s “Women Of The Year” 2015, Brilla is a certified yoga teacher; learned in Rishikesh, India and her philosophies of well-being can be seen in both her art and activism. 2016/2017 sees a busy touring schedule, many workshops in schools and producing new meaningful musical works.
Carly Thomas is an accomplished singer/songwriter who was born in Thailand and raised in Argentina, France, and various parts of North America. Aside from her powerful lyrics, Thomas’ music is characteristic of various sub-genres including modern folk, rock, and country. Having played everywhere from street festivals in Paris to the folk circuit in Manhattan, Thomas is a seasoned performer with 3 studio releases under her belt. Her albums to date include Distance (2003), Up This High (2009), and Explode (2014).
Spending almost a decade on Canada’s west coast, Thomas has recently returned to familial roots in London, Ontario where she received the 2015 Jack Richardson Music Award for Contemporary Singer/Songwriter. The return to Ontario’s music scene has been a welcome homecoming. Explode, which Thomas co-produced in London with Michael Marucci of Sonic Zen Studios, was nominated for EP of the Year by CHRW radio. She has also gone on to participate in various outreach projects and released a single in 2014 “I Remember You” in support of world suicide prevention day with all sales going directly to The Canadian Mental Health Association.
Having toured extensively in Canada, Thomas grabs listeners’ attention with gutsy stories of love and witty onstage banter. Her live performances are known for being dynamic and ever-evolving. She has recently been experimenting with electric guitar and plays predominantly with a full band where she is continuously pushing the boundaries of “Folk/Pop”.
She has shared the stage with countless artists such as Matt Barber, Trent Severn, and Jenn Grant, and has also performed at several festivals including Home County and NXNE. As an independent artist, Carly Thomas continues to enjoy success and creating an impact in the Canadian music scene.
In 2013, after almost a decade of work, singer songwriter, Lori Girard released her first independent album: Askher. During that decade, she gigged in and around London solo with her crappy acoustic guitar along with a fairly lengthy list of awesome musicians at a bunch of events and venues. After the album, she went on a small tour out west and came home and decided to buy a good guitar. But then, after many, many, many attempts at putting a band together, no drummer would stay and she had pretty much given up hope. It seemed like the end. No one would hear their old favourites from the album or any of her new lyrically blunt, catchy and melodic original tunes. But don't fret, this is not a sad story. Lori has recently got her groove back with the very talented and incredibly versatile musicians: Ryan Cruickshank on bass (Rail City Kings/The Wives); Joe Piotrowski on electric guitar (A fifth of Jazz/Friday Night's Alibi) and Warren Stinson on drums (Over the Eight/L.O.S.T.) Askher is alive again! They are a rock/country/pop/adult contemporary/folk-rock/classic rock/cover/original band. With influences like Alanis Morisette, Stevie Nicks, Sheryl Crow, Janis Joplin and Amy Winehouse while performing artists like Bruce Springsteen, Micheal Jackson, Led Zeppelin, the killers, Lorde and Prince, ears are delighted at the way they can perform a song's core while highlighting its passion. The best part is not only will they be playing live again, Askher will be writing and recording their next album, this time as a band!
Jessica Vanden Boomen
Vanden Boomen, who’s 25, started volunteering with PFLAG, where her mother, Lori Ward, is the chapter leader.
That work brought her into contact with groups of transgender people, and she became concerned that they were often forgotten, even within the LGBTQ community.
“They’re inspirational to me,” she said. “I just find that there’s very little room for them in our society and, for those who are out and living as trans, I find that inspiring to me in terms of living as my authentic self.
“No matter what society expects of me, I’m all for that.”
Vanden Boomen also sings and plays guitar in the local band High School Sweetheart, who gave the proceeds from their first album, There I Was, to PFLAG.