A video from that impromptu showcase session, taken by Dennis DaCosta, is posted on Youtube and can also be viewed on her website. So, a€?Wowa€? being the operative term, when the opportunity to feature her presented itself, we jumped at it. Layah grew up in the east end of Toronto in an area called a€?The Beaches,a€? near Lake Ontario.
This was the point at which Layah connected with long-time friend, Oliver Johnson, to handle the studio end of making the demo. As Oliver recounts it, he was lucky to have gotten supportive parents in both his father and stepdad.
When he was at his fathera€™s house, theya€™d jam till the wee hours and sometimes the police would come.
In order to learn musical theory, Oliver approached a guitarist, Wayne Cass, to show him what he needed to know to get into the Humber jazz program. Toward the end of his first year at Humber, he damaged his hand while moving a heavy table. At a certain point, the road started to wear Oliver down and he decided to focus on production.
At this point, Layah approached Oliver to produce the demo for which shea€™d gotten a grant.
In the statement that follows, we can see the wheels turning as she weighed her options: a€?I came home knowing that I really wanted to pursue music and I made my first recording.
Layah enrolled in and completed a three year program at The Toronto School of Homeopathic Medicine and received a DSHomMed, Homeopathic Certification. While involved with her studies she was pursuing music as well, performing quite a bit with Oliver. Not strictly a purist, she believes that a mixture of alternative and traditional Western medicine, a€?the best of both worlds,a€? according to each patienta€™s needs is the best solution.
For two or three years, Layah and Oliver remained friends while they played music together. Layah says that Oliver has influenced her, injecting some jazz, R & B, soul and funk, given that he had gone on tour with some of the better Canadian players in that realm.
Ita€™s easy to see why The Ontario Arts Council, and the Foundation to Assist Canadian Talent on Records (FACTOR) came through with grants at critical moments. Additionally, Acoustic Live will be hosting its own annual guerrilla showcase at the Northeast Regional Folk Alliance and wea€™ll get to watch Layah and Oliver play a set in our own room.
The new CD, Honey, from Layah and Oliver is just about ready for release and wea€™ve gotten to hear a few sample songs.
When Oliver was 9, his mother married a Canadian folk artist, a childrena€™s songwriter, and he then split his time between Toronto and New Hampshire.
After high school, following her year of touring and playing, the artistic and practical sides of Layah collided. We here in the Northeast can thank our lucky starsA  for a number of chances to see her live. During the 2009 Northeast Regional Folk Alliance Conference, he said, a€?Youa€™ve got to head over to the DJsa€™ afternoon meeting. He played Bruce Cockburn, Joni Mitchell, Dire Straits, The Pointer Sisters, Bruce Springsteen, The Beach Boys, Cyndi Lauper, Kate Bush a€¦ I never did any rebelling against my parentsa€™ choice of music. The question concerning what direction to take with her life still hung in the air and she appears to have approached it with a calm deliberation in incremental stages.
Although music was primarily a hobby, he had an array of musical instruments in the living room, including a drum kit. Hea€™d jam with friends at his dada€™s all summer and then spend the school year with his mother and stepdad in Toronto. Hea€™s still amazed at the way his father would cajole the officers, claiming the sound wasna€™t all that bad. He never really studied a€¦ until he went to Humber College in Toronto, which has a program similar to Berklee College of Music in Boston.
Cass was a€?a great guitar player and a great teacher,a€? a favorite that Oliver would watch play in clubs. He found a partner and opened up a studio that, today, works predominately on television projects. She got the grant for her first demo and began recording, but decided that she wanted to pursue a degree in homeopathy as well. In addition, some readers might remember the Dove Self Esteem Funda€™s 2006 a€?True Colorsa€? TV Campaign. Each time Layah had any doubts about music as a chosen path, every time she needed it, a grant would come through.


Layah had to put the guitar aside and let Oliver provide the instrumental accompaniment solo.
When I touched on this, Oliver demurred, saying that Layah had brought her own wide range of influences for him to have had all that much effect on her sense of style.
Layah and Oliver will be playing Music on 4 in Manhattan on November 18th and Our Times Coffeehouse on Long Island on November 19th. Theya€™ll also play a formal Tricentric showcase and numerous other showcases (see the performance list below). Layah will always have a keen ear for the vagaries of love and relationships, but she has her eye on the fate of humankind as well. During the 2009 Northeast Regional Folk Alliance Conference, he said, a€?Youa€™ve got to head over to the DJsa€™A  afternoon meeting.
TheA  question concerning what direction to take with her life still hung in the air and she appears to have approached it with a calm deliberation in incremental stages. Hea€™d jam with friends at his dada€™s all summer andA  then spend the school year with his mother and stepdad in Toronto. He never really studiedA  a€¦ until he went to Humber College in Toronto, which has a program similar to Berklee College of Music in Boston. Her soaring, pitch-perfect vocals and melodic sense are mesmerizing.A  Then, therea€™s the writing. Layah and Oliver will be playing Music on 4 in Manhattan on November 18th and Our Times Coffeehouse on Long Island onA  November 19th. When I started taking piano lessons at home at 8 years old, I started studying show tunes, so I could sing along with what I was playing, and I got into musicals.
Their families were close friends and theya€™d have various holiday dinners, celebrating a variety of spiritual doctrines together as they saw fit. During those 3 months, he got a job in a computer store that sold software for digital recording. During the first few years of pursuing music, I had some questions about how it would pan out and whether this really was a good spot for me. We have home videos of me prancing around in my diapers, singing along with the music that he loved.
He learned about the software and about producing and, as an employee, was able to purchase the software at an affordable price.
The a€?lemonade-from-lemonsa€? character of both accidents might lead one to believe that a certain magic guided them. Their style is what might be termed a€?jazzy folk.a€? I asked if shea€™d be singing for the DJs and she responded that it had already taken place.
In 3 months, Oliver learned everything he needed to know to get into Humber, entering at age 22.
When it came time to re-enroll in school, he was tapped to play for a group that toured all over Canada. Stepping off the stage during a pause, she fell when the overturned plastic bin that was placed as a makeshift step collapsed [too late for a lawsuit at this point, I suppose].
He learned a lot of theoretical things that allowed him to communicate ideas, rather than hashing them out by demonstrating on the guitar. He chose that and, between playing on the road and producing when he got home, he never went back to school. Even though Ia€™m primarily pursuing music at this point, it enriched my life in such a great way, in terms of being able to help myself and my family and friends and broadening my understanding of the human body. A couple of other interested presenters showed up, as I suggested we go to my own guerrilla showcase room.
Thus, about six of us got our very own private Layah Jane showcase performance a€” about 3 songs.
It wasna€™t like one day it occurred to me, a€?Oh, I could do this.a€™ It just naturally grew, I think. In concert, sometimes she sings solo with just Oliver on guitar and on some songs, she and Oliver both play guitar.
I wrote in the following montha€™s NERFA wrap-up issue: a€?Shea€™s like Diana Krall with a guitar. Layah Jane would be the result.a€? On paper, that might not seem like much, but seen live, it packs quite a wallop. So, on a week day which  I think was a Wednesday, we (myself  Rajkumari Joshi, my father C.N.
Additionally, it happens that Oliver is a brilliant, seasoned guitarist, having toured Canada with top-of-the-line acts. We must have walked just one or two yards when we saw Mother Mary standing before us, in human form, around 5’8 in height, very delicate, almost translucent fair skin, thin, pink lips and sparkling blue eyes, so full of gentleness and love.


We were so taken aback that I at once turned to my dad and said, “She is the same lady that I drew.” He said, “yes”. I at once turned behind to ask my mother whether she had seen the vision and she said that she did. For a while, we were stunned and asked the candle seller whether she had seen anyone in front of us as she was close enough to have seen her as well.
However, she said that on weekdays not very many people visit the church so she saw no one else. I then asked her whether she saw any lady like a nun – in white and she said that she didn’t. My father immediately felt the need to go and pray in the church to which I said, “But she has just left the church”. This incident is known to most of my acquaintances, and though I feel that we were blessed, the one regret that is constant is that I did not embrace her or touch her feet.?? Mother Mary has been part of our lives even before this incident.
In 1958 when I was 9 years old, I told him to visit the church as Mother Mary would make him alright. Due to the crowd he could only stand on the outer steps of the main entrance.? He prayed there and as we moved down, he said, “My leg has stopped paining”.
He is 91 now and his leg has never given him that trouble again. Another prominent incident is when we were living in a rented apartment and were being constantly harassed by the landlord. I again told my dad that if we offer a little wax house in the church and pray for our own house, Mother Mary will give it to us. Doubtless, she gave us an opportunity to buy a small plot of land in Khar and my dad built a little cottage. Our faith in Mother Mary is truly an undiluted faith and we do not even repeat our requests because of that. Believe it or not, if we pray to her, our house is filled with fragrance – sometimes lavender, at times sandalwood and even frankincense.
I suddenly heard her tell me that before I returned next week I should get a mammography done.
She was insistent that I don’t get it checked with a doctor but get myself tested on a machine.
But I found I could not leave the church until I gave her an assurance that I would obey. So I did the test and suffered a bigger shock when the doctor discovered the beginnings of a tumour. Immediately, my life and my world that had been stable, steady and safe until then, turned upside down.
All my achievements and relationships seemed unimportant, almost illusory in the face of death. There was no person or power that could console and support me. My doctor advised that no time should be lost and the surgery was fixed for 25 May. Three days before the surgery, a young boy who was praying for me got a message to be given to me. He was not able to understand it himself but he was told to give me the message exactly the way he got it. I want your life.” The young boy was initially hesitant to give me the message because he thought it was contradictory. He wanted my talents, my abilities, my attributes and my time for the advancement of His kingdom. I had disregarded them because at that time, I was fully caught up in the professional challenges of my career, completely involved in the process of rising in the ranks of a large organisation. While I was a regular church goer, I was unwilling to give up all the material benefits I had received and hoped to receive to devote my life to God. The boy’s message seemed to disentangle several knots in my heart. I remained anxious about surgery but I no longer felt that my life and all existence was fleeting, fickle and meaningless. The day I received the boy’s message, I went before Our Lady and promised her that after my recovery I would not return to the position that I was holding but would offer my services for the work of her Son. My recovery was just as quick as the detection. In fact the oncologist who is a leading doctor in Mumbai called me aside and asked me which doctor had detected the cancer. I told her that it was no human being but divine intervention and narrated the entire incident.
She said she could fully believe it because it was beyond human detection at such an early stage.
She said very few people get the chance I did. That is the power of Mount Mary and I consider it a privilege that she has chosen me as her humble servant to work for her Son my Saviour and Lord.




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