Jazz trio Maria in the Shower will be making a stop in the North Okanagan to play at Komasket Music Festival on July 29.

Jazz trio Maria in the Shower will be making a stop in the North Okanagan to play at Komasket Music Festival on July 29.

Inspiration for band’s name found in paper

It started with a story in a newspaper.

  • Jul. 24, 2011 7:00 p.m.

It started with a story in a newspaper.

“Jack (Garton) saw a story about a woman who said she had seen Santa Maria (St. Mary) in the mist in her shower,” drummer Todd Biffard, of Maria in the Shower, explains.

“He and Martin (Reisle) were still just a duo and they needed a name.”

He admits it’s a strange name for a band, especially when it’s four men, without a Maria to be seen.

“We started to see some concepts in the name after a while,” he says. “People feel comfortable singing in the shower when they would never sing in public.

“And we hope it draws people out to see us.”

One chance music lovers in the North Okanagan will have to see Maria in the Shower is at Komasket Music Festival on July 29. The band will be playing on the mountain stage at 8 p.m.

The group started with Reisle and Garton meeting each other at poetry readings while both were students at UBC.

“They both did a lot of very abstract poems,” Biffard says. “They found something in common, and then started putting some of the poems to music.”

Biffard joined them while playing with another band.

“I was playing in a cafe, and they asked if they could do some of their stuff between our sets. We said sure, and after I listened for a while, I jumped on stage and joined in.”

They played the same club each week for about four months. Then Garton brought bassist Brendon Hartley on board, and the band was set.

“The funny thing is,” Biffard says, “we never really sat down and said, ‘Let’s make a band.’ It just happened.”

While their musical influences have changed over the years (“We were originally spoken word and early jazz. Then we went through a hootenanny phase and a Gypsy phase.”), the core style hasn’t, Biffard says.

“Everyone wants escapism, everyone wants to hear something that will raise their spirits.

“We want to break down the distinction between the audience and the performer.”

And for a band which seems to have a touch of anarchy about it, there is one important ritual.

“The creating of our set list is one of our strongest rituals,” Biffard says.

“We make a conscious effort to tailor our shows to the environment. When we’re doing our sound check, we’ll get a feel for the acoustics of the room, for the size, for how many people we’ll be playing for.”

The Komasket Music Festival runs from July 29 to 31. Other performers include Buffy Sainte-Marie, Jon Anderson (former frontman of YES), Mikhal Waters Band, Digable Planets, Sweatshop Union and many more. For a full list of performers and vendors, or for ticket information go to www.komasketmusicfestival.com.

Allan Wishart

Black Press