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The singing started while Siberry was a student studying microbiology at the University of Guelph, just outside of Toronto. In 1981, she released her first recording (self-titled). It was financed by the tips she received from waitressing.
Three years later, the album No Borders Here -- featuring the hit "Mimi On The Beach" -- marked her major label debut. Then in 1985, Siberry released The Speckless Sky. It yielded Gold status and two People's Choice Awards (CASBY) for Album and Producer of the Year in her native Canada.
The Walking, released in 1988, marked her debut on Reprise Records. A subsequent tour of Europe, Japan, and Australia led to the accolades "heart stopping" and "spellbinding" from the press across both ponds.
In 1989, Bound By The Beauty was recorded in the middle of an apple orchard. It moved away from the multi-layered complexity of the previous two albums towards an acoustic simplicity and wry humor.
Angels and Gabriel
Siberry's next release would have to wait four years to see the light of day. Recorded between June of 1991 and January of 1993, When I Was A Boy yielded "Calling All Angels," which first appeared in Wim Wenders' film Until The End Of The World. (Another version of the song was later recorded for the soundtrack to the film Pay It Forward.)
Between releasing When I Was A Boy and her next album (Maria), Siberry was invited by Peter Gabriel to join a select group of musicians from around the world to participate in his Real World Recording Week in Bath, England. The results of the camp-like environment appear on three albums released by Real World Records. Says Siberry, "It was like a huge gift to me from Peter Gabriel. I was reminded in one week of the power of music generated by the musicians who pray when they play. The glamour of high tech manipulation (i.e., fix it 'til it's perfect) was returned to its appropriate place."
During this time, Siberry also co-wrote and recorded the closing title track ("It Can't Rain All The Time")for the film The Crow; recorded "Slow Tango" for Wim Wenders' film Faraway, So Close; and recorded "She's Like the Swallow" for Hector Zazou's collection Songs from the Cold Seas. In 1994, she was also invited to sing on the Indigo Girls album Swamp Ophelia, released on Epic Records. Jane's vocals lend warmth and expansiveness to two of the songs on that album, "Language Or The Kiss" and "Mystery".
Invigorated by her collaborative endeavors, Siberry returned to the studio to record Maria. The release of the album was followed by Siberry's first full band tour in six years, which took her across Canada and the U.S.
Maria to Sheeba
"Jane was born to wander," swears Rolling Stone. "It's what she does best." On the album Maria, meandering Jane sings jazz, a liberating form that fits her perfectly. Over the course of three days, Siberry recorded 30 hours of rhythmic jams improvised around "shapes," then spent three months adding vocal tracks. The resultant songs of lambs, butterflies and yes, sex, include the 20-minute suite "Oh My My," the minimalist ballad "Goodbye Sweet Pumpkinhead" and "Begat Begat," a scat/chant so unfettered Siberry almost seems to be speaking in tongues. "See the Child" is a nursery rhyme with bebop cadences which matches Siberry's aim of creating music with "enough space in it so you can walk in and look around. Like a Dutch painting."
Shortly after releasing Maria, Jane sang and wrote the lyrics to Nigel Kennedy's "Innig" on his recording KAFKA. Both works seemed to be the start of a new sort of wandering -- one that would take Siberry to her very own space.
On May 17, 1996, Siberry started her own label: Sheeba Records. Based in Toronto, Sheeba's primary purpose is to distribute "all things Siberry," including recordings, books, and video.
The Sheeba label is home to some remarkably intimate glimpses of Siberry's life and work. On Teenager, Jane shares some of her earliest musical efforts and family memories; on the New York Trilogy, the energy and fascination that is live Siberry transforms your stereo system into a concert hall ringing with wonder and laughter. And on the latest Sheeba release, Hush, Siberry's voice takes multi-layered flight on songs that are not her own -- and yet become surely, sweetly hers.
If you've followed the journey thus far, you know there's no predicting it. Stay tuned to the Sheeba site and this site for news of the next album, book, or mechanical pencil.
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