02_gamma_knifeGamma Knife

Maria Kasstan

Independent (www.myspace.com/mariakasstan)

I’m almost ashamed to admit that it has been a very long time since I have heard someone of my generation producing a folk CD that rails against the establishment, but Maria Kasstan has good reason. Her partner of 25 years died as a result of a heart attack right outside of police headquarters. Allegedly, the officers who discovered him assumed the man to be homeless and neglected to administer CPR. Her sorrow and anger are deeply felt by the listener in the last few tracks of the recording. The tracks are arranged as a story of their life together, celebrating the fullness of the good times and grieving the loss with a voice both strong and tender. Upon first hearing, I absolutely fell in love with the first track, Act of Love. Kasstan is known for her work as a pollinator advocate or “seed lady.” This song is a catchy, happy tribute to Mother Nature, with a playfully whimsical arrangement by producer Bob Wiseman... I couldn’t stop singing it all day long! The simple joys continue with Beets in the Cellar and the romantic Didn’t Wait for the Moon. The poignant Saint Jude brings the listener’s awareness back to the stark contrasts existing in Toronto neighborhoods. This artist has not forgotten her beginnings as a folk singer in 1960s Yorkville and reminds us that even as grannies we can still have a powerful voice for change.

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