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Ohbijou take it to the bank

For many Canadian artists, a European tour is the stuff that dreams are made of

For many Canadian artists, a European tour is the stuff that dreams are made of — traversing across beautiful, historic landscapes and playing to new audiences while struggling with different languages and currency exchange. For Toronto’s Ohbijou, it’s about to become a recurring dream come true.

Having played some shows across England, as well as in Paris and Amsterdam back in May, the orchestral indie band released their sophomore album Beacons in June both in Canada and the U.K. European demand is taking them back in September for a tour that adds Ireland, Wales, Belgium and Germany to the itinerary.

“Touring Europe was an amazing experience for all of us, and we are very much looking forward to heading back, this time for even longer!” says percussionist James Bunton.

Although he and his bandmates look forward to going overseas, Bunton can’t help but show that a subsequent Canadian tour in October has the band even more excited.

“Touring Europe is a fantastic time, but there is something still unmatched about driving across Canada and getting to know the people and places that make up the beautiful country that we live in,” he says patriotically.

Before they board their international flight, however, Ohbijou have some business to take care of in Toronto. Specifically, they’re set to begin the second phase of their charitable drive called Friends in Bellwoods, which gathers together the community that has helped their music grow to benefit the Daily Bread Food Bank.

“(Band members) Casey and Jenny Mecija lived in a house on Bellwoods Avenue, which was quite the hub for bands and music,” explains Bunton. “Sometime in 2006, Casey and I were talking about how it would be great to have some sort of collection of all of the people and projects who had passed through there or were in some way connected to the house and all that it had fostered. The result was the first Friends In Bellwoods compilation.”

The album raised over $11,000 for the Food Bank, and now Ohbijou have assembled a second volume that includes music from The Acorn, Final Fantasy, Sebastien Grainger, and of course, Ohbijou, among 36 others. As well, some special concerts have been announced as release parties.

Adds singer/multi-instrumentalist Casey Mecija, “The parties being held are definitely massive love-ins — one show has 20-plus bands playing short sets. We wanted to go big with the release of this compilation because we are so proud of it and want to raise as much money as possible for the Daily Bread Food Bank.

Friends In Bellwoods
• The Friends In Bellwoods II Release Party takes place over two days — Aug. 28 at Lee's Palace and Aug. 29 at The Tranzac. For details visit www.friendsinbellwoods.com.

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