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Put another nickel in
Songwriting duo move out of the pubs and onto the city's airwaves
September 17 to 20
Rose & Crown Pub
It's easy enough to dismiss pub entertainers. The one or two-man/woman bands with keyboards and synthesizers who sing "American Pie," "Piano Man" and "Hotel California" night after night to a gaggle of drunken bar patrons who may or may not be paying attention. While generally good musicians, most people look to them as little more than human juke boxes.
But if you did dismiss all of those acts then you'd be dismissing Minervah, and that would, believe it or not, be a mistake. True, the local duo spend most of their time in smokey drinking establishments performing contemporary radio hits (a scan of their playlist yields tracks by everyone from Soul Asylum to CCR to Oasis), but their ambitions, accomplishments and talents reach far beyond those walls.
"It would be fantastic if, instead of being just background music in a club, people actually came to see us," says vocalist Signe (rhymes with Xena) Jakobsen.
"It doesn't bother me, but it's a second choice, for sure," admits her songwriting partner Martin Cepicka. "It's a good learning experience."
"But I do enjoy the covers," Jakobsen interjects optimistically. "There are so many inspirations out there, too. I try to embrace the songs and make them my own - everyone from Melissa Etheridge to Jewel."
Undoubtedly their covers are good, but it's their original folk rock material that has earned them a good deal of attention. Jakobsen's buoyantly beautiful voice and the pair's simple yet catchy arrangements push their songs into a league that makes their own material seem anything but out of place among their cover selections.
Since their formation in December of last year, Minervah have already won three rather high-profile songwriting competitions in the city: they'll be featured on radio station Lite 96's promotional Brite Lites CD; they just finished wrapping up filming for Shaw Cable's Project Discovery to be aired next January; and the pair were also sent to Toronto where they placed second nationally after being chosen to represent Calgary in another songwriting contest co-sponsored by CJAY 92 and Fast Forward. Not bad for human juke boxes, huh? And even better considering their meeting was the result of Jakobsen answering an ad that she almost ignored.
"I was on my last legs with music," she remembers. "I'd been in bands before and everything had fallen apart so I thought, 'Well, maybe I'll just embrace academics and do a masters or something.' And my friend said, 'Here, try music one more time.' So I called Martin and right away my plans just totally changed."
"I had about 30 people that called up," Cepicka says, " so I met up with most of them. I had actually started a project with two guys. But then Signe came along and I heard the voice and said, 'I can't pass up on this - she's the one.'"
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