Birthday greetings to singer/songwriter/poet Jane Siberry, who spent three years known as Issa — not to be confused with, or in recognition of, the California congressman of the same name. Siberry celebrates No.56 today.
Siberry might be mostly anonymous south of the border, but not in her native Canada. If you didn’t know her home country, you might have guessed if you ever heard her song Hockey. Who else but a Canadian, or Canadiens’ fan we presume (she’s from Toronto, but we don’t hear any Leafs references in the song), could work the night of the riot at the Montreal Forum and Hall of Famer Jean Beliveau into the same song (“this stick was signed by Jean Beliveau, so don’t f——- tell me where to f—— go”).
Siberry’s work is hard to categorize, except as . . . varied and different. You can easily decide for yourself since Siberry’s website, janesiberry.com, runs on the honor system. Visitors are invited to download her music from the site and pay what they can or nothing at all. According to Alexandra Gill on osdir.com, less than 1 in 5 downloaders were doing so for free, and of those who paid, most paid the normal fee. Of those that didn’t, more paid more than paid less.
Whatever they paid, Siberry is a bargain, and her voice is beautiful. Don’t expect to typecast her music, or her. We know this: she resembles, to these eyes, Meryl Streep; she seems to love dogs (“if you remind me of my dog, we’ll probably git along,” she sang on Everything Reminds Me of My Dog); and she must spend a lot in business cards — the artist formerly known as Jane Siberry and formerly known as Issa is known again as Jane Siberry.
“I felt the need to make some strong changes in my life,” Siberry told Sarah Terez Rosenblum in 2009 at windycitymediagroup.com. “It seemed important to change my name, so I did. I changed it to a name that I thought was simple, an empty cup. I had never heard the name Issa before, and it turns out to have some wonderful meanings, including a haiku poet in Japan, and the name that Jesus had in India. But . . . I officially changed my name back to Jane Siberry. I felt with the name change, I had gotten in my own way, in terms of devoting myself to my career, making my work available to people. So, Jane Siberry is my name again until further notice, but I feel richer from having been Issa for three years.”
A link and lryics to False False Fly from the 2000 album Hush below:
“Will you come along with me?”
said the False False Fly
To the lovely little child on the road
“No, I won’t come with you,”
said the lovely little child
She was only but seven years old
Sources: wikipedia.org, janesiberry.com, bittersuiteband.com, osdir.com, windycitymediagroup.com