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Liona Boyd ‘Canada's First Lady of the Guitar’ returning to Truro

Liona Boyd
Liona Boyd

When she was in her early teens Liona Boyd attended a concert that changed her life.

When her mother took her to hear Julian Bream, a classical guitarist and lutenist, she decided she wanted to be a musician. She achieved her goal, playing for audiences around the world and becoming known as ‘Canada's First Lady of the Guitar.’ On Nov. 10, at 7 p.m., she will be performing at First United Church in Truro

“It’s years since I’ve been to Truro,” she said from her home in Toronto. “I told my agent I wanted to go back to the Maritimes. I think this will be my last tour.”

Boyd got her first guitar when she was 13, after requesting one as a Christmas gift. Although she enjoyed classical music from a young age, she also enjoyed popular singers.

“I was a child of the sixties and grew up listening to Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones and the Beatles, but I was trained strictly classical, she said.

Years after becoming a renowned classical guitarist she studied singing. Her concerts include her own songs, as well as spoken poetry.

“I have a Spanish style house in Palm Beach I spend a lot of the winter at, and I do a lot of writing there,” said Boyd. “I recorded my audio book (No Remedy for Love) there.”

Unfortunately, she also broke a shoulder and knee when she fell in her garage there, and had to be airlifted back to Toronto.

“I was very grateful I didn’t injure my hands,” she said.

While in hospital she finished writing a song called Lightfoot, which is dedicated to her longtime friend Gordon Lightfoot and is included on the ‘No Remedy for Love’ album.

Another song on the album, ‘Love of the Horse,’ is dedicated to her friend Prince Philip. That friendship began more than 30 years ago when Pierre Trudeau, who she was dating at the time, invited her to play at a private dinner for Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth. That led to a Royal Command performance in Edinburgh and to ongoing correspondence.

“I went to Windsor in March to play him the song and he loved it,” she said. “He hadn’t heard me sing before.”

Boyd finds travelling in bad weather the most difficult part of being a musician, but she always loves it when a concert starts and she focuses on the music.

During her Nova Scotia performances (one in Lunenburg and the one in Truro) she will be in concert with Andrew Dolson, performing both solo pieces and together.

Audiences go nuts for him, she said. His voice is fantastic and hes an amazing classical guitar player with the looks of a model.

Boyd hopes there will be a lot of young people at the show.

Its important for parents to bring children to concerts, she said. They might not become musicians but one exposure can change a life.

Tickets to the Truro concert are $30 in advance, $40 at the door and $10 for students, and can be purchased at First United Church office weekdays from 8:30 a.m.- noon and 1-3:30 p.m. For more information call 902-895-8098.

 

lynn.curwin@trurodaily.com

 

 

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Sexual harassment

 

Sexual harassment in the entertainment industry is something Liona Boyd has experienced several times. She wrote about it in her book In My Own Key: My Life in Love and Music, which was published in 1998.

Nobody paid much attention; they only wanted to hear about my relationship with Pierre Trudeau, she said. It was very widespread and I lost a lot of opportunities because I turned men down. Luckily, my career didnt depend on some of these opportunities.

One man, who offered her an acting role if she would have sex with him, later told her he slept with all of his actresses.

A lawyer in the recording industry asked her why she needed royalties, being a woman who could get men to give her things.

I was disgusted and walk out, she said. These things dont just happen in music and entertainment, but in all worlds. Women are taken advantage of by men who can dangle offers in front of them.

She said shes delighted to hear more women speaking out about this now.

 

 

 

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Animal welfare

 

The welfare of animals in laboratories is something Liona Boyd finds very concerning and one of the songs on her new album, People Who Care for the Animals, is dedicated to people who work on their behalf.

They do such horrific things in labs, and these are sentient beings who shouldnt be abused, she said. The poor animals need all the help they can get, as does the earth.

She had a cat called Muffin who lived to be almost 20 years old and is working on a childrens book called The Cat Who Played Guitar.

 

 

 

Facts

Liona Boyd was born in England and moved to Canada at the age of eight.

She was the first Canadian to perform at the Kremlin when she played at a New Years Eve gala.

She was smuggled into an L.A. courthouse to play for the sequestered O.J. Simpson jury – and got a standing ovation.

She spent two hours chatting in Spanish with Fidel Castro in Havana one night.

While dating Pierre Trudeau she was once smuggled out of Sussex Drive under a pile of coats.

She once hid in Roger Moores car during the filming of Moonraker and went driving through the French countryside with him.

When she was a student she spent some time busking in Europe and took a ride on the Orient Express.

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