Citizen Jane is a Toronto-based ‘heartbreak chamber-folk’ duo whose songs tell poetic stories through interweaving vocals and stringed instruments.
The pair consists of queer, married couple Reenie Perkovic (vocals, guitar, mandolin) and Lea Kirstein (viola, fiddle, cello, vocals), who met while studying classical music on the west coast of Canada.
They blend the soulful melodies and introspective lyricism of alternative pop music, harmonic palette and shifting meters of jazz, and the instrumentation and layered rhythmic drive of contemporary folk.
Citizen Jane is returning to Chilliwack to perform at Tractorgrease at the end of the month after having a “wonderful time” playing the Acoustic Emporium here in January.
“The crowd at Acoustic Emporium was a receptive and excitable audience who were ready to come on a new journey with us,” says Kirstein. “We were really impressed with how open everyone in Chilliwack was to hearing new music, new original folk music, and hearing all the stories and places we’ve been and relationships we pulled these songs from.”
The two are currently touring through B.C., playing some festivals (Campbell Bay, Filberg, Vancouver Pride) and private shows this summer.
Their upcoming debut full-length album The Storm (September, 2017) is a reflection on the emotional side of our world’s political climate. A little darker, but full of hope, it touches on themes of war (internal &literal), displacement/isolation, self-doubt — and pushes to embrace differences, unite, and act with love to make the world a little brighter.
The duo has branched out from their original guitar-viola/fiddle instrumentation, adding mandolin and cello to this soundscape. Though primarily a song-driven project, Citizen Jane is delving into the fiddle world with a couple of instrumental tunes as well. The album will be brought to life by mixing engineers Adrian Dolan (The Bills, The Wailin’ Jennys) and Jon Kaspy (Thanya Iyer, Emily Rockarts).
They’re looking forward to bringing their sounds back to Chilliwack.
“As a queer married couple, we always aren’t sure how well things are going to be received in more traditionally conservative towns in Canada, but the people in Chilliwack who run the music venues like Acoustic Emporium and Tractorgrease create these beautifully safe and accepting spaces, for us to tell our stories,” says Kirstein.
“The care and attention that these venue owners take with amazing sound, food, hospitality and atmosphere attracts a great diverse crowd of people who are hungry for something new and different, who know that they can expect quality touring and local entertainment.”
The duo’s intricate arrangements and down-to-earth stage presence evoke a unique connection with their audiences, whatever the venue (a house concert, a church, a hall, or a festival).
“We can’t wait to share lots of songs from our new record that we were inspired to write this past year while living a stone’s throw from the ocean in B.C.,” says Kirstein.
Citizen Jane performs Thursday, July 27 at Tractorgrease Cafe (48710 Chilliwack Lake Rd.) at 7 p.m.
Tickets $12 and available at 604-858-3814 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.