by Evan James Ceretti
A shed in Oakar Myint’s backyard has been revamped into a tiny music venue, which is now the home of the Shed Sessions PEI studio. It’s probably the smallest venue in town where you can experience the wide-reaching sounds of Island musicians.
The idea was conjured up by Vinod Ramachandra while he was watching NPR’s Tiny Desk concerts on Youtube. “This could be a great place for a very similar project,” he thought, as the shed was already being used as a place to hang out and jam. Ramachandra shared the idea with a group of friends who quickly made Shed Sessions a reality.
The Shed Sessions crew is: Vinod Ramachandra, producer and social media; Oakar Myint, camera, editing, and director of photography; Aum Thiruvoth, second on camera and editing; Monica Lacey, art director; Devon Ross, sound engineer; Kirk Avery, graphics, social media, and host.
“The goal is to have a wide range of different genres. We’re really open to a lot of different styles of music and performers,” said Avery. Shed Sessions has already released videos featuring two Island musicians Zach Seals, and Jenni & The Hummingbird (with The Atlantic String Machine). The next artist to be featured is Vishtèn, with videos being released in early-mid July.
Every session will include the artist performing three songs, and each song will then be released individually throughout the month. The videos will consist of one song by the performer(s) and brief interviews discussing song meanings and creative processes, and maybe a little bit of friendly banter. “Just very organic conversations,” said Ramachandra.
For the next couple of sessions, there won’t be any audience other than people the performers wish to be present, said Ross. This will allow the crew to focus on having the highest-quality product by being able to move around with camera equipment and experiment with lighting. Having no audience, at least during filming, will allow for larger and more diverse acts. Every video will be tailored specifically to the artist’s style. The shed’s decor and video style will change, while other aspects will remain consistent.
There is talk of having live shows to accompany the recorded performances. The project hopes to have some funding in place in order to pay artists for the shows.
“Per capita, there’s an insane amount of talent here,” said Ramachandra, who has lived on PEI for three years and has fallen in love with the music scene. The main plan is to focus on featuring Island artists, but the crew has already been contacted by musicians from across the Maritimes, as well as from groups who will be passing through PEI. Any traveling group can contact the crew, and they’ll be considered if the music is high calibre and if scheduling doesn’t pose a problem. All-ages performers are also urged to get in contact if interested.
“We’re definitely looking for high-quality musicians, but it’s totally fine if nobody’s heard them play before,” said Lacey, of up-and-coming artists. “We’re trying to make every show unique in terms of artists and atmosphere. Not every video will look the same or sound the same,” added Myint.
Said Lacey, “Feedback has been great so far, she added. “It’s been kind of overwhelmingly positive and prolific.” On top of music, there’s talk of using the venue to host poetry or discussions for future video series.
Follow Shed Sessions on Facebook @shedsessionspei and check out the Youtube channel.
—Evan is a graduate of Holland College Journalism and a musician.