Monday, July 22, 2013

Norine Launches Conventus The Eye of the Heart Pre-Order and Media Help Campaign

Norine Braun Conventus Pre-Order

0 Commentsby Norine Braun - Jul 22, 2013

Help get Conventus The Eye of the Heart launched with an advance purchase known as a pre-sale.

Conventus The Eye of the Heart is my new and ninth album born out of life’s unions and connections and the word Conventus is Latin for union or coming together. The past couple of years I encountered many unions in different disguises. I was diagnosed and cured of colon cancer. I underwent a colon resection surgery last December and I am forever grateful for early detection and the skilled doctors and good care I received. This experience was a catalyst for me to record this album. As I lay in my hospital bed in January, I listened to my roughly recorded demos of these songs and I let them show me the way to health. Music was a healing activity that held my interest and focus in my recovery. The intro for the song Conventus was a lullaby I wrote 2 weeks before surgery and the song comes from a deep inner place of love. The music felt so powerful and I encountered a coming together as I listened to these songs in my healing. When I returned home I completed Conventus as the rest of the song seemed to write itself. I contemplated at how there was a theme of union running through each of these songs and the concept of the album emerged.

This past year I also embraced a most magnificent union. I married my partner of 25 years on Halloween 2012 the anniversary of our first meeting. Our hearts were joined long ago but with a deeper realization of the preciousness of life I wanted to seize the moment and celebrate our great love and anniversary. In 2012 and 2013 I watched my partner and her mother slowly change their roles as my mother-in-law’s dementia advanced. I witnessed a great love, a wonder and amazement in the strength of a mother and daughter coming together to go through this challenging life transition. I looked at the union in my own family of origin relationship and how my life’s journey as an adoptee has greatly shaped who I am and my gratitude for receiving so many gifts in my life. All of these unions, union of self and body, self and spirit, family union, union of love and marriage are found in the creation of these songs and my new album.

This music is the most important music I have ever written but it’s not only my story, it’s also your story in fact it’s our story, it’s everybody’s story. We have all known someone who felt lonely, defeated, betrayed, rejected, scared, and yet found the strength to get back up, fight and win. We all know when we find that union with someone, something or within ourselves we can overcome and celebrate and cherish everything. This is what Conventus is about for me and this is the path that I am on. The path has led me here to you. I want to be able to help those who have gone through similar experiences by sharing mine. I am so thrilled to invite all of you to help in this process. That makes this new album much more special.

The recording process is now entering the final stages with mixing and mastering. Conventus is truly the best work I have ever done and deserves to be heard and embraced by as many people as possible. I am always challenged when describing my music because for me music has to be experienced not explained but to give you a sense of direction or genres I am in keeping in my most soulful, bluesy funk and roots rock oriented tradition. For radio the new album will fit into an AAA format. I am blessed that Vancouver’s finest musicians have joined me again on the musical journey for Conventus. The amazing Adam Popowitz has produced, engineered and performed guitar/ bass on Conventus, the groovemeister Elliot Polsky performs on drums and percussion. Queen of the Trills Alice Fraser (my spouse) performs on keys and the Harmonica King Huggybear performs on blues harp and penny whistle.

The goal of this campaign is to raise funds to get Conventus released and publicized with the pre-sales of the new album and assorted offerings. Funds raised go toward the manufacturing/pressing, shipping, promotion both online and local publicity, marketing and music video production.

Thank you for taking the time to read about this campaign and my new project. I will continue to work hard and do my very best. Please know I deeply appreciate your support in this pre-order campaign and my music. I wish you good health, great joy and love in all of your unions. “Alis grave nil” - Nothing is heavy to those who have wings.

Love Always,


PS Please let your friends, Facebook friends and Twitter followers know that you think this is valuable and they should support it. In other words: click those "Share" buttons!

$1 and you get the first single as a digital mp3 at least a week prior to release.

$10 gets you a digital download of Conventus at least 1 week before the official release

$20 a copy of a signed Conventus The Eye of the Heart and the digital download at least 1 week before official release

$50 for all of the above and a cool Conventus tee shirt +1 cd for a friend, you’re gonna love Conventus so much you will want to share it!

$100 and your name listed forever as a Great Benefactor of the Heart in the Conventus liner notes, a signed cd, tee shirt + 4 cds for your friends, because once you hear the album you will want to share Conventus with more than just one friend J

$150 for all of the above plus Norine’s entire catalogue a complete library of 8 cds. Know that Modern Anguish, Miles To Go, Acoustically Inclined and Norine Braun and the Mood Swings will soon be available only as digital copies so these limited cds are destined to soon become collector items!

$250 for all of the above plus a usb containing the collected works of Norine Braun (including digital singles and ep), songbook pdf, music videos, posters, promo shots. This is a very special package for those who want it all.

$500 for all of the above plus at a mutually agreeable time and place a home concert for you and all your friends. The concert will be performed as a duo with Alice on keys (plus travel expenses of course if it’s not local or on our tour schedule) or as a private skype concert from our home to yours J

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Studio Day 19 Blues Harp and Penny Whistle

Our last day to record instruments wowowow! Huggybear graced us with his soulful blues harp and a special treat of an ethereal penny whistle for our special last day of recording.

We started the session with the bluesy funk of No More. Huggybear took a supportive role in his first few takes and with some direction from Adam went more toward a soloist showcase shine. Next up was Lightening Strikes Twice which is bluesy rock tune and Huggybear fit the genre to a tee and gave the bluesy feel authenticity especially when he doubled the melody of  lyric, Lightening Strikes Twice very cool! The trippy, spacey Take The Sleek Train was further entranced with the train like long tones of Huggybear's harp.

The final track was Today and Huggybear started off doubling Alice's gorgeous keys but since we have her doing that part so well Adam suggested Huggybear to be more of a soloist in the no vocal sections and he sounded great once he got the feel of this rock tune!
Huggybear had the next trick up his sleeve when he brought out his penny whistle and he had an idea for the ending of the song. He played a lush and haunting riff that really sounds like a beautiful flute! We loved it so much we added it to both endings of the choruses very lovely! Huggybear was reticent about recording this track but I think its a stand out for sure.
After giving Huggybear a lift to skytrain we began editing his tracks and finished all except No More. Next week will finish the edit and let the MIXING begin!
So very exciting how all the pieces are fitting together and having great musicians Alice, Huggybear, Elliot and Adam sharing their wonderful talent I am truly blessed! Adam's great and amazing ears, ideas and editing skills are another source of excellence wow he is so fast and we agree on almost all the best takes too which is even more wonderous! Feeling very grateful and thrilled.
Huggybear is Harmonica King

Huggybear's secret weapon a 42 Setchell Carlson tube pa head  (yes as in 1942) Adam thought maybe it was used in a prison.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Studio Day 18 Harmony Vocals

Our session today began with harmony for Boy, these were simple harmonies a third up on the oy in boy and joy :) I was able to get these down in one take. Next up was a harmony for part of the bridge in How Would We Know. This was a tad trickier and I needed a few takes to get just the right approach and pitch. Adam asked me to try to harmonize to the chorus and I had tried at home with Alice but it didn't sound good to me and he thought so too after hearing my attempt lol. He came up with a call and answer at the ending tag and I tried that idea and wow it works really well, I love it.

Next up was Dizzy, Adam and I had differing ideas for the harmony but ended up combining both ideas for a three part harmony that is very lovely. My harmony for the bridge was a dissonant harmony at first which worked but I switched to Adam's idea for the harmony as it sounded great, he asked me to add a harmony to the ending of the track as well which is a cool addition too!

We moved on to Conventus, Adam found interesting choir voices for my ascending lines. I realized I hadn't even considered a harmony for the chorus of the title so I just came up with it on the fly in our session and the sound is awesome! Adam added some fx to my harmony and isolated it for the intro and it truly is out of this world. He then added some gorgeous strings and a haunting vibraphone (Alice loves playing vibraphone on her keys so she will love playing his new piece live!) This is the only tune that is electronic in sensibilities though with organic elements at the onset and is quite the grand song now.

We were wrapped up and ready to go when I remembered about doubling the piano riff  with vocals for No More. When Alice and I play this live, I start with the vocal riff and she comes in on piano to get locked in on my groove but we changed that up for the recording and I come in on the solo and ending. One take in 5 minutes and we were done for the day and a great day it was!

The icing on the cake is Monday when Huggybear enters the new album with his ever amazing and oh so delicious bluesharp!!

Monday, July 08, 2013

Studio Day 17 Vocals

Our last day recording my lead vocals, it is now fait de complete!
We started the session editing Dizzy from our last session and decided to cut one of the doubled choruses to just one set as the funk song is over 5 and 1/2 minutes so it cuts the track down to just over 5 and wow its sounding so groovey this retro funk throwback.

My first vocal track today was How Would We Know, the reggae upbeat feel good chill tune and I sure felt good singing this tune. I had a smooth vocal vibe happening ( Adam thought Karen Carpenter influences here, now that's a new comparison lol)  and the tune flowed in about 3 takes.

Next up was Boy the rock star tune and I saved it for last as I knew it would be the track most out of my comfort range and it was. The song builds in intensity and needs a full out projected voice in the chorus. I delivered the quiet introspective beginnings very well but the chorus needed some work. The first two takes were painful for me to hear back, very wobbly and shaky as this is not a usual style of singing for me but by the fourth take I was in the zone and gave Adam and the recording what was needed. It made me realize how I don't write songs with my voice in mind which is not necessarily a bad thing but I sure set up challenges for myself.

I read somewhere that a woman reaches her prime vocally in her 50s. After today's session I can see my weak spots in projection and where there is much room for growth especially when I will be singing the song Boy with a full band. I do have the vocal technique for it but psychologically it is hard for me to let go and fill up the whole space. The growth for me will be in the letting go in my mind and allowing the hugeness to have expression. I found this thought symbolic of my life and quite profound on my drive home. The beauty of music is you never stop learning, finding out new things about yourself and always getting better!

The last vocals of the session were the harmonies for I Found You which is the entire song like a duet and this one was a breeze with 2 takes. Another new thing I learned is if I can hear the harmony in my head it's a snap like this song, but if I don't  I really have to learn it piece by piece with practice.
I have 3 days to practice the harmonies for Dizzy, How Would We Know, Boy and Conventus. Though with Conventus I have an idea to use a choir sample which would be so cool if it works. I was singing ascending and descending lines which gives it an ethereal and sublime feeling but many voices might knock it right out of this world!

We spent the rest of the session editing the vocals and organ on How Would We's all sounding like a fantastic dream. I am incredibly pleased and proud of how this project is evolving and I know you will soon love these new songs!

Where magic happens.

My view.

Magic happening :)

The disappearing list...Adam started out this project with a list of all what we need and as we accomplish the tasks (ie vocals, guitar, keys..) they get erased.

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Studio Day 16 Vocals

A good and productive day in the studio! I forgot to mention in the last post that Adam also played and recorded the tambourine for Today and shakers on No More in the last session. The vocals were not a cinch this time like last session, I had to work hard getting some of the vocals just right. Starting off with Dizzy, most of the song just flowed for me but the chorus I was consistently sharp on the first note grrrrr. What was most annoying or more like frightening was I couldn't hear it! Adam looped the chorus for me to sing along and sang along I did! I sang for a couple dozen until I got the note right but even stranger I still didn't hear it when singing. I could hear the note on piano and when separated but not singing, I seemed to have a mental block of some kind because I sing the same damn note and word twice more in the same phrase and with no problem. At least I finally got it and is an unusual occurrence thankfully!  This is the biggest difference between a vocalist and a pianist or guitarist, the latter 2 can see and play the note on the keyboard or fretboard, a vocalist hears and feels the note internally and the voice is organic susceptible to climate, sleep, food, stress...mental blocks.

Luckily, I breezed on through Perfect Love Affair and Conventus was much snappier to record too, though the intro had a couple sections I had to concentrate on the delivery. I was timid to sing Fire Flames as Adam wanted me to perform with much more passion than on the scratch tracks. I was also uneasy about my ending and didn't feel confidant about my approach in the ending . I actually hear a singer with a huge voice to project and build the ending and alas I am not that kind of singer but I had an idea to hold a long tone which is not my usual style and it worked. Adam thought my intensity and authenticity was there for the whole song so that helped assure me and in the playback/editing I felt I captured the song completely and very happy it all came together!

We also edited the piano/organ parts in this session and we have a gorgeous Fender Rhodes on Alice for Perfect Love Affair and sounds fantastic as does the haunting piano on Fire Flames wow!

Two more vocal tracks next session and then harmonies!

Thursday, July 04, 2013


Studio Day 15 VOCALS

Wow what a terrific first day recording vocals, the planets 

and stars were perfectly aligned. Well, more likely proof that 

practice pays off I have been working hard at it! I recorded 5 

songs with only 2 takes each and nailed them, I am so very 

happy with the recordings.

I started the session with No More as I have been singing 

that one for along time now and knew it would be a good 

confidence builder. Next up I stayed on the bluesy side of 

things with Lightening Strikes Twice and let my inner Elvis be 

released and I smoked it :) Switching gears into rock Today, 

a breeze and though a brand new song I felt I resonated with 

the writing and words, I really connected with the song and 

production. Adam suggested to do the harmonies

immediately as I doubled harmony only on the word today 

but it did take me a few minutes and attempts to switch into 

harmony. We turned it upside down with Sleek Train and  

its slow, trippy groove. I wasn't fully confidant I had arrived 

with this tune but surprised myself with my flow and my 

performance was exactly where I wanted. The session ended 

with my I Found You Adam asked me to change my approach 

after the first take and hold back, more softer and gentler 

in my delivery and I loved the idea and it truly fits it better 

more personal and intimate.

After recording vocals (about one hour) we edited them and 

also edited the piano/organ on four of these songs. Adam 

then sent the new tracks to Huggybear so he can get familiar 

and ready for his session in 2 weeks! 

Next up 6 more songs for lead vocals and then a few 


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