Sister Speak brings its varied musical tastes to Humphreys
by Bart Mendoza
Published - 11/13/13 - 04:29 PM | 16105 views | 0 0 comments | 139 139 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Sister Speak core duo Sherri-Anne, left, and Lisa Viegas will bring their eclectic sound to Humphreys Backstage Live on Nov. 15.                                                                 Courtesy photo
Sister Speak core duo Sherri-Anne, left, and Lisa Viegas will bring their eclectic sound to Humphreys Backstage Live on Nov. 15. Courtesy photo
It’s no secret that San Diego’s vibrant music community, not to mention its great weather, has been a major draw for musicians around the world to relocate to America’s Finest City. This has been particularly noticeable at the annual San Diego Music Awards, where transplants from Belgium, Scotland and Canada have not only been nominated for trophies, they’ve won. One such combo is Sister Speak, appearing at Humphreys Backstage Live on Nov. 15, 5 p.m.

Originally from Canada, Sister Speak performs under various lineups, up to four people, with the core duo of singer/songwriter Sherri-Anne and drummer Lisa Viegas augmented by guitarist Tolan Shaw and bassist Jacob Miranda. Influences range from acoustic music to beats and funk.

“It’s kind of a mesh of old school analogue Beatles and more acoustic stuff like Ben Harper,” said front woman Sherri-Anne. “I love clever simplicity.”

Following up a series of three demos, the group recently finished recording its debut album, “Rise Up From Love,” in analog sound, at Santee’s acclaimed Analog Chew Studios. With Grammy Award-winning producer Alan Sanderson, who has also worked with the likes of Fleetwood Mac and Elton John, at the board, the 10 songs feature Sister Speak, as well as notable guest players like Leo Dombecki (keyboards), Pedro Talarico (guitar) and Todo Mundo multi-instrumentalist Meir Shitrit.

“This is a group with real strength,” said Sanderson. “They have great songs that touch on roots rock, blues and more. They play with real passion and that’s a big part of what music is about.”

The album will be released digitally in December, with hard copies out in the spring.

Like many musicians today, Sister Speak went to a state-of-the-art studio that was modern, but also knew how to capture old-school sounds.

“It was real important to us to work in a room that had analog recording capabilities,” Sherri-Anne said. “Analog just has a warmth that is lacking in so much music today. That’s a really good room and being able to record with our regular band and bring in some great musicians, as well, really made for a great album.”

While the music biz has been in doldrums for some time, Sherri-Anne said things are changing rapidly.

“I think it’s a good time for music,” she said. “We’ve already sold a couple of hundred CDs in advance, and the support from our friends and fans has been great. This is our livelihood and at this rate, it’s been going very well. I feel that the longer that we go, the more experience we’re getting. I’m seeing that a lot of independent artists are making headway.”

She said that to make it in music these days, an artist must immerse themselves completely in their art.

“We are working every day,” she said. “Writing, rehearsing recording, booking, communicating with fans. It’s a full-time thing, but it helps that we really love what we do.”

Plans are for the band to hit the road for a tour up the West Coast and into Canada, with more recording on the horizon, but for her part, Sherri-Anne is thrilled to have the album finished.

“I went through a lot in the last year and a half — a major injury and intense heartbreak, things that we all go through,” she said. “In the end, some of the songs talk about social issues and some of them talk about relationship issues, but they all show that you can rise out of anything, if your heart is in the right place.”

Sister Speak: Friday, Nov. 15 at Hum-phreys Backstage Live, 2241 Shelter Island Drive, Shelter Island. 5 p.m.
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