You can also Search

Debbie Ridpath Ohi reads, writes and illustrates for young people. Every few weeks, she shares new art, writing and resources; subscribe below. Browse the archives here.

Twitter Facebook Instagram
Subscribe Pinterest Flickr
My other social media.

Current Projects




Search Blatherings

Use this search field to search Blatherings archives, or go back to the Main Blatherings page.

***Please note: You are browsing Debbie's personal blog. For her kidlit/YA writing & illustrating blog, see

You can browse by date or entry title in my Blatherings archives here:

 1997 - 1998 - 1999 - 2000 - 2001 - 2002 - 2003 - 2004 - 2005 - 2006 2007 - 2008 - 2009 - 2010+ (current archives)

I'm Bored Bonus Page
I'm Worried
« obsessed geeky fangirl | Main | e-mail vs snailmail »

urban tapestry

Went out with Allison and Jodi last night. Swiss Chalet for dinner (hey, it's Festive Special time!), then to Allison's place, where we talked about ideas for our next CD. This project is in the very early stages and we are purposely not deciding on a release date for now (so if you ask us about it, don't be surprised if you get a "no comment" :-)).

Anyway, 'twas a good get-together...I really missed our weekly practices during my sabbatical. Partly because I missed doing music with Allison and Jodi, but mostly because I missed the social aspect. Some people comment to me how surprising it that Urban Tapestry is still together. Eight years (nine, if you count our days as Northern Retreat) is a long time for any group to stay together, particularly in filking.

I attribute this to the fact that our friendships with each other have always taken precedence over the group entity. I would be disappointed if Urban Tapestry dissolved, but I would be devastated if our friendships with each other did.

I don't remember when I first met Allison. I remember seeing her at some Toronto conventions; her red hair made her easy to spot. There weren't many musicians with guitars back then, so I always got excited whenever Allison joined a filk circle. She was pretty shy back then. So was I...which is probably why we didn't actually have a real conversation for a couple of years after we first met. :-)

Allison and I eventually ended up together in a music group called Northern Retreat. One of the group members, Kevin Davies, introduced Jodi to the group...they had met through gaming. I remember being blown away by a tape that Kevin played for us, where Jodi performed with the group she was with at the time ("Group of '77"). Our group went through a bit of an upheaval during '93, and by the time everything settled, Jodi, Allison and I were a trio called Urban Tapestry. I lived out in Hockley Valley near Orangeville at the time, so my interaction with the two consisted mainly of e-mail and exchanging cassette tapes by snailmail. From time to time, they'd come out to Hockley Valley to visit for the weekend and from time to time, I'd be able to make it to Toronto for a practice.

1993 was also the year my brother and his wife were killed in a car accident. Allison and Jodi were incredibly supportive; the bond between the three of us grew much stronger. One of my favourite Urban Tapestry songs is Days We Spend Together, a piece that Allison and Jodi wrote around that time. They also helped me record Song For Jim, which I wrote in memory of my brother two months after he died. I remember how the three of us crammed into a sound booth at Sound Techniques recording studio and did the song live, in only one or two takes. I gave the recording to my sister as a Christmas gift...Jodi, Allison and I later decided to include the song on our Myths and Urban Legends CD.

Each of us has grown musically over the years, both as individuals as well as in our musical collaborations. We encourage and support each other, acknowledging and accepting each other's strengths -and- weaknesses. Ten years ago, for example, I would rather have jumped naked in a vat of boiling marmite than sing in public. Jodi and Allison have convinced me that I don't suck at singing as badly as I thought I once did.

As a group, Urban Tapestry has been invited as guests to various conventions across North America as well as to the UK. We'll be Guests of Honour at Conchord next year in California. Unless we have a gig coming up, our weekly get-togethers tend to be more social gabfests than actual music practices...I'm sure professional musicians would be horrified. :-)

But for us, this is exactly what we want. Allison, Jodi and I are friends first, a group second. We've been through much laughter, some tears, and we've seen each other at our best and (a TRUE test of friendship) worst. The going hasn't always been easy, but somehow our friendship has survived through this rollercoaster journey, becoming stronger over time.

And I feel very lucky to be part of the ride.


(This entry was written as part of On Display. Assigned topic: "Journey".)


- During our concert at Didgeri-Douze in the UK. Photo by Godfrey Joseph.

- Outside of Sound Techniques studio (where we recorded our first album). Photo by Carl Gardiner, our sound engineer for the "Castles and Skyscrapers" album.

- Cover painting for our CD, Myths and Urban Legends. Artwork by Beckett Gladney.

- Our promo photo. Photo by Gary Rush.

- During practice. Photo by Beckett Gladney. Beckett took a boatload of photos in prep for doing the cover painting for "Myths and Urban Legends".

Today's Poll: (Courtesy Chris Conway)

Have you an autograph of someone you are/were a fan of?

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>