For Canadians, the arrival of spring is momentous: the scent of air is fresh and full of possibility as tender green shoots reach up towards the light and the cycle of growth, rebirth, and renewal begins again. It’s an apt theme for a musical collaboration named after Ostara, the Germanic goddess of the spring equinox. The Ostara Project, spear-headed by award-winning jazz musicians Jodi Proznick and Amanda Tosoff of Music Arts Collective, showcases the strength and creativity of Canadian women in jazz. Membership is fluid and what remains constant is that Ostara artists are all top-tier musicians, composers and bandleaders who reflect the geographical, cultural and creative diversity of Canada’s musical landscape.
Ostara’s self-titled debut album (Cellar Live, 2022) features the compositions and talents of seven outstanding musicians who collectively hold nine JUNO nominations and three JUNO awards. This first iteration of Ostara features Joanna Majoko (vocals), Rachel Therrien (trumpet), Allison Au (alto sax), Jocelyn Gould (guitar), Sanah Kadoura (drums) and Tosoff and Proznick on piano and bass, respectively.
Already looking ahead to expand upon this stellar list of musicians, the Ostara Project will embark upon several new projects this fall, including tour dates and a creative residency in Whitehorse, Yukon where each member will explore their musical heritage and identity as a Canadian settler and citizen. These upcoming projects will include new voices, such as Laila Biali and Shruti Ramani, Virginia MacDonald (clarinet), and Valerie Lacombe (drums).
In a genre and industry where women have been severely underrepresented, the Ostara Project is a beautiful example of perseverance, community, and a deep love for the music. New growth rising out of darkness, stretching for new life, propelled by hope. This is the music of Ostara.
Thank you to all the Canadian jazz festivals who presented us this year, and of course, thank you to the wonderful audience we had. We hope to be back in your town again very soon!
Thank you from us all:
Jodi Proznick, Amanda Tosoff, Laila Biali, Shruti Ramani, Rachel Therrien, Allison Au, Valérie Lacombe and Marianne Trudel.
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Check out some clips from our inaugural performance from February 2022 at the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts in Burnaby, BC, Canada.