Tuesday, 05 October 2010 05:04

Rik Leaf - CD Reviews

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Reviews for 'Tribe of One' Released 2009

"Rik Leaf’s latest CD, ‘Tribe of One’ is one of those rare CDs that is both artistically excellent and spiritually uplifting. It is music that resonates emotionally, connects the listener to the meaning of community, and provides a window into the soul of our nation. As the Member of Parliament for Winnipeg North since 1997, I have witnessed the strength that flows from cultural diversity and from the presence of talented artists passionate about their own community. Rik Leaf is one of those artists and it is his passion to connect music with the history and identity of a neighbourhood that has had the effect of empowering others and effecting positive change.  It was Rik who saw the potential for building community through the arts and who was instrumental in establishing the North End Artists Collective. Rik’s latest CD is an important contribution to communities everywhere like Winnipeg's North End. It is also an invaluable addition to Canada's music scene with its beautifully written lyrics and instrumentals that create an honest depiction of our nation's history and its peoples' struggles, from our First Nations' communities, to our French/English duality, to our ethnocultural diversity.  I don't know of any other effort that has so completely captured the essence of Canada. From the beat of the powwow drum in "Hope" and "Silver Lining", to the haunting melodies in "Lonely" and "Blue Skies" depicting the vastness and beauty of our nation, to the bilingual songs of "Je Me Souviens" and "Beau Sommeil", to the typically Canadian cynicism in "Democracy in Drag," this CD just about says it all in terms of Canadian heritage and identity. Every song resonates esthetically and emotionally but none more than "The Maple Leaf" which ranks right up there with "This Land Is Your Land" as a nationally recognized trademark song of Canada."  Judy Wasylycia-Leis, Member of Parliament, Winnipeg North

"Rik Leaf is a category 4 hurricane slamming into the coast of Canadian Culture. Rik's latest album is a wonderful, eclectic, adventurous stomp. The songs radiate a blended atmosphere and a unique multi-cultural experience...a modern Canadian anthem!"  Karla Adolphe, Jacob & Lily

Rik Leaf's latest album, Tribe of One, is a collage of musical styles as varied as the Canada it celebrates in the opening track, “The Maple Leaf,” a toe-tapping, coast-to-coast road-trip of personal reflection.  Any hope of easy patriotism and sentiment, though, is soon dispelled by the next track, tellingly titled “Hope,” a blues song about the perils of trusting in the (White) Man which appropriately marries slide guitar and harmonica with First-Nations chanting and drumming.  This juxtaposition sets the tone for the rest of the album, which examines the struggle for intimacy amid conditions of estrangement and persistent longing for home, of both “dark night [and] silver lining.”  These songs are at once personal and political, detailing the struggle to find and maintain community in a complex world of social and personal complications. Built around the musical core of Rik (slide/acoustic guitar, piano, ocarina) and Marie-Josée Dandeneau, (upright/fretless bass) a collective of Winnipeg-based musicians add inflections of East-Coast, Québecois, and First Nations elements to a broad range of musical derivations, from jazz and folk to funk and blues. Rik Leaf has carefully positioned himself as a songwriter on the margins speaking hope diffusing joy to the disenfranchised and dispirited.  This album represents a maturing of that voice and a musical presence that gives us ears to hear." Brent Nelson, Ph.D. English Dept. University of Saskatchewan

"Rik Leaf has a new CD out!! It's hard to imagine an album being more Canadian than this one....and the music is top-notch. Folksy, bluesy, rootsy...and you can dance to it! Rik leaves you thinking, too. Check it out, friends, this is good music!!"  Paula Spurr, Blue Grass Orphans

"A multi-layered slice of Canadiana - while others try to divide the country, Rik has captured the sound of Canadian unity."  Broose Tulloch, 92.9 KICK FM


Reviews for 'now is the winter of our discontent' Released 2006

“Buoyed by a swooping, elastic voice that recalls Manic Street Preachers frontman James Dean Bradfield, Leaf dabbles in Cletic-sounding folk-rock, piano-based acoustic gems, funky dance jams and straight-ahead guitar rockers, all with a level of gutsy aplomb and intensity that belies his background as an activist. His songwriting chops are finely honed, he knows his way around a hook, and the back-up musicians he surrounds himself with all rise to meet his highly set standards. If this is winter to Rik Leaf, we can’t wait for the first signs of spring!” **** David Schmeichel

If I were to wait until I had formulated an appropriate description of all the warm, sad, ironic, exultant, comedic, quiet, relieved, grandiose, iconoclastic, patriotic and happy feelings that have been my companions since my first few moments with this new record, far too much time would pass before I could tell you how vastly proud I am of you, and how deeply satisfying it is to hear this incarnation of these ideas of yours. Oh, the way you go.  Brent (from Friends & Fans Forum)

Can I say...I opened up your album this morning and listened to it and it kicks ass...Especially track 1 and track 6, in my opinion, but i love them all. This morning I was super depressed and when I woke up and I took the liner notes and lyrics of the album up to my room and when I read them, they were so much like beautiful poetry and I felt every word that was there.  Like FELT, on a soul level.  I bawled like a baby and felt cleansed. I love your music, Dana (from Friends & Fans Forum)

A great opus of which you must be good and stoked ... i love the way the unsuspecting listener is set upon by the ensuing anthems like a desert creature upon a rocky ledge, drunken nay dulled by the sun's unrelenting morning splendor only to find its swift merciful end in the talons of a winged predator.  Grand tones guit and bass .. and retro scape / feel. It betrays grandeur beyond itself.                            Brian Wiebe, Solar Nest Arts, Kelowna, B.C.


Reviews for in 2 deep 2 stand, Released 2000

“As front man of Winnipeg-based Tribe of One, which seeks to combine a fusion of musical styles with professional dance to create a stunning live show, Rik Leaf is most clearly a musical innovator. Given the inviting space of a whole solo album, Rik imaginatively conjures a variety of edgy sounds that are as novel as ZARA’s cover design, which makes this reviewers task none too easy! Showing his familiarity with a whole range of styles within the musical spectrum, Rik experiments with the likes of rock, techno, soul/funk, dance, tribal and more. Lyrics, too, are drenched in Leaf’s own, poetic originality, as he transparently throws out spiritual thoughts, ideas and heart-inspired prayers. ‘Rescue Me’ is an ambient shuffle graced by gentle piano. The following ‘Simple Answer’ is an ethereal cry from Rik’s soul, exploring the deep meaning of love. Then there’s ‘Prepare the Way’ a brooding and intense piece combining strong percussion with searing guitar, and the more joyful ‘So Obvious,’ given texture by way of its quirky accordion vibes. Other less-obvious tones adding richness to this venture include Andrew Smith’s harmonica and mandolin (Andrew also provides first-class production) slide guitar and (as well as programming) a good half-dozen or more traditional forms of percussion. Musically this album twists and turns from track to explorative track. The result is not a pretentious and inharmonious melee of noises, but an intriguing 60 minute tapestry of true diversity/ingenuity. Tom Lennie, Gold USA.com

Last modified on Monday, 11 October 2010 15:00
Rik Leaf

Rik Leaf

Creative Director, 2005 - Present -  Recording Artist/Producer/Slam Poet, Published Author. Rik has released numerous CDs, worked in TV/Film tours internationally as a solo artist and with Tribe of One. Through his artistic activism he has worked with the UN and the Department of Foreign Affairs.


Website: www.rikleaf.com

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