For over 40 years Lorraine Segato has earned a reputation as charismatic and iconoclastic performer. Her unique voice is compelling and identifiable no matter what format or medium she explores creativity.
Check out her earlier music with The Parachute Club as well as her solo material and you find yourself wanting to hear more.
Warning but don't be afraid! This is a text heavy site. For more cultural history of Toronto click:
SINCE 1980 Lorraine Segato has fueled an impressive artistic career that produced some excellent and edgy cultural work. Segato's extensive experience as a respected Musician, Songwriter, Filmmaker, Event Producer, Artistic Director, Speechwriter, Lecturer and Social Justice Activist makes her one of Canada's leading cultural commentators and best known recording artists.
As the co-founder and lead singer of The Parachute Club, one of the most critically lauded and commercially successful groups of the eighties, Segato enjoyed an impressive career in the music industry before turning her attention to other creative endeavors. Even before her chart topping hits with Parachute Club, Segato had already staked a claim as one of the few female artists of the time able to succeed on her own terms.
Ultimately, as one of Canada's most internationally renowned trans-cultural music bands, The Parachute Club garnered five Junos, five BMAC’s, five Casbys, two Platinum and one Gold record as well as a SOCAN Classic Award for "Rise Up." Most recently the band was honored with the Indie Hall of Fame Award from CMW's Indie Music Awards and Rise Up was voted one of Canada’s Top 100 hit singles of all time. To this day, that iconic song as well as the groups' other hits At the Feet of the Moon, Love and Compassion and Love is Fire remain staples on Canadian radio. Segato has released two critically praised solo recordings Luminous City and Phoenix and produced several eminent music scores.
Segato has also devoted time to directing, writing, narrating and music editing a TV and festival documentary called Queen Street West - The Rebel Zone with the Award-winning Rhombus Media International. She executive produced an accompanying Sony Records soundtrack CD which won her an award for most promising new female director at the Inside Out Film Festival.
Over the years Segato has alternated between singing, directing, speechwriting, and producing large cultural events, and now turns her talents to writing a one woman show Get Off My Dress. She has also recently released a new CD project entitled Invincible Decency. Segato's work, no matter what the medium, remains consistently topical and relevant. Her passion, empathy and charisma have served a career, on stage and in production that has educated and inspired Canadians for 3 decades.
Rhythm of Awakening
Lorraine recently worked on a film documentary with award-winning filmmaker Shelley Saywell. They take to the streets and explore the lives of homeless musicians. Too see go to TVO.org and type in LOWDOWN TRACKS.
Lorraine Segato has always defined herself as creative person who works in a variety of mediums. Her primary work has been in music and artistic directing cultural projects but she has also made films and art exhibits. She has been life long social justice activist who also works with Olivia Chow at the Institute for Change Leaders and the Great Traits High Performance Applied Leadership program along with Olympic Gold Medal Athletes & Co-Founders
Mark Tewksbury and Debbie Muir.
Q.S.W THE REBEL ZONE
Formally assembled and fascinating, this film is a comprehensive documentary tour of the area’s tumultuous history. Director Lorraine Segato, former front for the Parachute Club, shows her familiarity with the milieu and its denizons seen through her candid, relaxed interviews which yield genuinely amusing anecdotes.” Eye Weekly, Toronto
REBELS WITH A CAUSE ON QUEEN ST. WEST
Lorraine Segato, no bystander here, takes a proud look at some pop-culture history, told by someone who live it.” Globe & Mail
"Inspiring Ode to the power of music" NOW Magazine NNNN
"Positively brilliant group profile" Jim Bowden, Toronto Star TV Critic
The Parachute Club is one of the most exciting bands around - smart, tough and passionate. L.A. Times
Huge vocals from Segato, good production and seamless, spirited ensemble playing make this group one of the most exciting groups around, regardless of the country of origin.” Montreal Gazette
“Parachute Club is an impressive band. It has established a solid international reputation for sincere, unpretentious music with a latin/funk/reggae beat that just demands to be danced to.” Toronto Star
“Parachute Club has successfully merged innovative, frets-don’t -fail-me-now rhythms with topical, intelligent lyrics. Segato’s strong, clear vocals and funky chicken impressions had the crow dizzy as it attempted to track her movements across the stage.” Saskatoon Star-Phoenix
“Combining their inventive sound with a forward-thinking musicality, The Parachute Club consistently manages to hit all the right note. "With undeniably unique songs and engaging performances, this is one group rediscover".
SOLO WORK & A VARIETY OF PROJECTS
“The charismatic front person of ’80’s hitmakers Parachute Club (five Junos, two platinum albums), Lorraine Segato has continued to impress on her solo releases since. Her signature humanism remains, and, on her new album Invincible Decency, it is again paired with a vibrant and musically varied sound. PC fans will love tracks like”Only Human””Hole in the Wall” and “all Went Wrong (Right Time). Kerry Doole, FYI Music Business News
Canada's Music Online Source
QSW ART EXHIBIT- WHEN ARE MET ACTIVISM 1975-1985
THE REBEL ZONE – ART & ACTIVISM: IGNITES A CULTURE – TRANSFORMS A CITY at YTB Gallery (563 Dundas East, Suite 201) to March 31. 416-910-5213 See listing. Rating: NNNN
Segato digs deep into the archives to remind us of the inventive and die -hard do it yourself ingenuity that spawned the Toronto we know today.
Do you remember the heady Queen West scene in the late seventies and early 80s? That roiling non-stop cauldron of wild warehouse art shows, booze cans, punk rock jams, queer activism, feminist salons, performance art political campaigns and all around do it yourself art activist Bad-Assery? Curator, musician and long-time activist Lorraine Segato wants you to. That’s why she’s assembled thousand of artifacts – from posters, flyers photographs and zines to film and video – documenting a seminal decade in Toronto’s shift from small town, uptights-ville to vibrant and diverse cosmopolitan beacon.
The late 70s marked a special time when artists and activists took advantage of low down-town rents and derelict spaces to spawn their own creative and political revolution. Fueled almost entirely by flyers, wheat-paste and word of mouth, a whole generation of youth made a mighty noise that occasionally riled the police and almost got them a seat at city hall.
Segato’s collection reminds us of groups like Chromazone Collective, who rented the derelict Heritage Department store and put on Living Art Shows of furniture, wearable art and decoration that drew in 10,000 visitors from across the city. Conceptual media art pioneers General Ideas staged whimsically subversive beauty pageants, television talk shows, boutiques, installations and a constant stream of flyers, posters, postcards and media. The Hummer Sisters, a feminist art collective, put on a sleek, New Wave-styled, irony-laden campaign for mayor in 1982 that actually garnered them second place in the mayoral race.
This was also a heady time for queer activism. The Body Politic, the city’s first queer zine, was raided and shut down by police and, after the infamous bathhouse raids, a collective uproar in the form of a 3,000-person protest in the street served to shift attitudes attitudes towards queer publications and bath-houses.
About Artist in Residence Regent Park
SINGER-SONGWRITER LORRAINE SEGATO IS REGENT PARK NEIGHBOURHOOD’S FIRST ARTIST IN RESIDENCE
TORONTO, August 19, 2014— Canadian singer-songwriter and social justice activist Lorraine Segato has been named as Regent Park’s honorary Artist in Residence as part of the community’s new cultural program. This initiative is one of the most innovative of its kind in Canada, designed to foster artistic expression across the city.
Segato, co-founder and lead singer of iconic polyrhythmic 80s pop band, The Parachute Club, will serve a two-year term in the honorary position.
Her mandate involves helping to envision and create a template for a future Artist in Residence program to augment and enhance Regent Park’s already vibrant arts and culture scene with an active pool of creative talent.
“I am thrilled to be asked by The Daniels Corporation to become a member of the Regent Park community as the honorary Artist in Residence,” Segato said. “I come to this appointment with a deep willingness to listen, and a great enthusiasm for a community that is brimming with creative talent and rich stories. My desire to forge respectful partnerships will no doubt yield interesting collaborations that also strengthen my own practice as an artist.”
Segato will be tasked with finding ways to enrich, celebrate and draw attention to the developing area, while curating cultural activities and events that further the envisioning of an international caliber artist residency program.
“As a first initiative, we’ve created an Artist in Residence Legacy Fund that will contribute to the continuation of this project across Regent Park and the City of Toronto for years to come. My first contribution to the Legacy Fund will be the donation of proceeds from the new mastered gospel arrangement of The Parachute Club’s Juno award-winning hit ‘Rise Up’, that we are calling ‘Rize Time’, which features a prelude by 18-year-old Regent Park spoken-word artist and rising star Mustafa The Poet,” Segato added.
“Supporting the arts is very much a part of our corporate culture and DNA,” said Heela Omarkhail, The Daniels Corporation’s Manager of Community Partnerships. “We’re delighted to begin this journey with Lorraine Segato, a multi-disciplinary artist with deep roots in the city of Toronto and with her own long history of collaboration, activism and creativity. Regent Park’s Artist in Residence program is a natural next step as we help further the transformation of this vibrant neighbourhood and watch it continue to thrive with the help of this unique program.”
The Daniels Corporation, the private-sector developer behind Regent Park’s revitalization, is sponsoring this initiative. Embracing the arts has been a major part of Daniels’ corporate philosophy dating back more than 25 years, when the company invited street artists to help create a graffiti board at a former Goodyear Tire site at its Lakeshore Village community in Etobicoke, ON.
Since then, Daniels incorporated artistic elements and programs into many of its projects across the Greater Toronto Area—from featuring rotating art exhibitions at its various sales offices, to designing and building a piano-themed walkway in honour of legendary Canadian musician Oscar Peterson at its FirstHome community in Mississauga. The Regent Park Artist in Residence program represents an unprecedented expansion of that commitment to the arts and culture, and Daniels is delighted to help build the framework for this program that can be transferred to their other new home communities across the GTA.
WILD WOMEN (DON'T GET THE BLUES) SERIES
Wild Women is a powerful Cabaret Series launched by the Toronto legendary singer/performer Lorraine Segato, as part of her two-year Artist-In-Residency program at Regent Park along with co-host and Music Director Colleen Allen.
This unusual and exciting cabaret-style show brings together a hugely talented Toronto group of artists whose explore a variety of themes through song, monologue, comedy and spoken word. Talented performers in turn celebrate the music and performances of the world's most iconic women trailblazers, including Etta James, Edith Piaf,
Ida Cox, Annie Lennox, Sylvia Plath and Amy Winehouse, Bonnie Raitt and Dixie Chicks to name but a few.
This wildly popular cabaret series in Toronto’s Regent Park is a raucous, irreverent, and thrilling evening of performance that has featured a diverse group of emerging and established performers. Sixteen show-stopping performances have included by Shakura S’Aida, Lyne Tremblay, Iskwe, Suzie Vinnick, Roula Said, Miku Graham, Nicole Brooks and SATE (formerly Saidah Baba Talibah), Alana Bridgewater, Miku Graham, Roula Said, Trevlyn Kay, Britta B, Stacy Darko, Diane Flacks who have visited resonant themes such as Secrets & Lies , Jagged Little Pill (revenge songs), What’s Love Got to Do With It, Saucy or Sassy Songs and Songs of Resilience.
Fusing memorable melodies with funk, soca, reggae and pop grooves The Parachute Club emerged in the early 1980's as a 7 piece mixed gender group who broke down barriers with their up- with- the people danceable political pop songs. Coming out of the DIY movement and fresh on the tale end of New Wave and Punk Bands of the time PCLUB was listening had been listening to the music of Bob Marley, The Clash and Parliament Funkadelic, along with a wide variety of African and Cuban music brought back by travelling friends ,they found themselves spearheading a wave of musical groups that catalyzed a new sound coming out of Toronto's burgeoning Queen Street West art scene. The Queen Street West scene included artists and activists who collaborated on each others projects. This scene was instrumental in transforming the city of Toronto, Canada from a small c conservative city into the bustling cosmopolitan hub of creativity and prosperity that it is known for today.
The music of The Parachute Club was ahead of its time yet it timely political groove -pop anthems are as relevant today as were in the 80's. People are bound to rediscover this groundbreaking music again.
The Parachute Club
In the late seventies, Toronto was simmering with the music and politics of a number of subcultures and communities. A potent punk and art music scene was constellating around the Ontario College of Art in bars like the El Mocambo and the Cabana Room in the Spadina Hotel. A powerful reggae and West Indian soca music scene was happening in North Toronto, while dub poets Lillian Allen and Clifton Joseph focused their work on issues of race and language. And at mid-town parties and Jarvis Street bars, members of the women’s movement and gay communities were partying with all-women rock bands. With the opening of the artist-inspired “Queen Street” clubs – The Rivoli, the Cameron Hotel and the Bamboo Club – joining the long-established country and western bar, the Horseshoe, the time was right for an explosive cross-fertilization of the creativity of writers, artists and musicians from Toronto’s previously segregated “undergrounds.”
In the fertile atmosphere of this musical wild zone, Lorraine Segato and Lauri Conger were cutting their teeth on rock and roll and politics with the all-women band Mama Quilla II. Billy Bryans, busy producing tracks for banks like the Time Twins, BopCats and Downchild Blues Band, was also drumming with the new wave trio the Government led by Andrew Patterson. When the Toronto performance artists the Time Twins introduced Billy and Lorraine in 1979, their rapport sparked what would become a long musical collaboration.
Around this time, Billy and Lorraine were introduced to Latin and African music and met Mojah, the lead singer for Toronto’s premier Rasta-reggae band Truth and Rights. Along with Terry Wilkins, they stared “V,” a short-lived but popular radical funk, soca and dub-wise reggae experience that cut across gender and race boundaries by featuring two lead singers: Lorraine, a white feminist and Mojah, a black Rastafarian.
The Parachute Club was formed in the summer of 1982 when Billy received a call to play a party for Toronto’s Film Festival. Lorraine and Billy decided to put a new band together – including the now-famous chef Greg Couillard on percussion – for the party and it received such an enthusiastic response that they thought it would be fun to play a few more gigs. At the very next gig, held at an after hours club, they met Gerry Young, the president of Current Records. Lorraine remembers telling Billy, “That guy says he wants to manage us and can get us a record deal and will give us money to do a demo. Do we really want to do a record?”
Shortly after they released their debut record called The Parachute Club. Rise Up their first single off of the record became an anthem for a generation of people who adopted it as an anthem for empowerment and equality. It remains so to this day. The record was produced by Daniel Lanois at Grant Ave Studio before his meteoric rise as respected producer for such artists as Brian Eno, Bob Dylan, Neville Brothers, U2.
At the Feet of the Moon
Their self-titled debut album parachuted onto the radio waves in Canada in the summer of 1983 and, as the temperature rose, “Rise Up” heated up the charts. By the end of the year, “Rise Up” had become the Number 1 radio song across the country. No one was more surprised than the band. Unprepared for this success, the band scrambled to create a video and live show that would match the energy of the album. Steve Webster left the band and Russ Boswell joined them for their upcoming tour in Quebec and
Ontario. Audiences loved the music and a successful western tour soon followed.
The Parachute Club’s infectious rhythms jumped energetically into Canadian popular music culture, and the band garnered Junos, CASBYs and Black Music awards. They were alternately criticized and applauded for their outspoken social and political statements, but no one could deny the intelligence and danceability of their music.
Their second album, At the Feet of the Moon, produced by New York’s Michael Beinhorn (known for his work producting Material, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Sound Garden and Soul Asylum) saw the addition of bass player Keir Brownstone and the increased involvement of Dave Gray in the songwriting process. Released in 1984, the album solidified the band’s success. The first two albums were released in Europe, and the band toured England and Germany, where the band was particularly popular thanks to the promotional moxy of Plane records. Photographer Deborah Samuel’s direction of the Juno-nominated video for the single “At the Feet of the Moon” matched the music with a stunning visual treatment of the song.
Their third album, Small Victories, produced by John Oates (Hall & Oates) and The Parachute Club, was released in 1986 to good reviews and sold over 50,000 records in Canada which, by 1980’s standards, was very good. The band toured Canada, Europe and parts of the U.S. By this point they had a acquired a reputation as a popular hip sub-culture band but they were unable to cross into the mainstream success that the U.S. record company had wanted. The band disbanded in late 1989 but not without making an indelible mark on the music scene as a progressive iconoclastic pop political outfit that was helped bring attention to the ever growing world music scene in Canada and abroad.
What up Now?
Lorraine is presently working on an autobiographic one woman show entitled Get Off My Dress , a book on creativity and 35TH Anniversary version of the anthemic song Rise Up. Most recently the song was inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame. She devotes her time facilitating with Olivia Chow at the Institute for Change Leaders https://www.changeleaders.ca . and works with Olympians Mark Tewkesbury and Debbie Muir as a Lead Team Facilitator with their Great Traits Corporate Champions Applied Leadership Program. https://thegreattraits.com/our-team/
Love Works Without Wifi
By the mid 90's Segato took a break from music to produce and write for a variety of other projects. She returned to the music making with a dedicated approach that combined collaboration on cultural projects along with grassroots issue oriented work.
Segato’s deeply embedded musical influence still resonates with groove and funky beats and interesting lyrics. Recently she was back in the studio with fellow Parachute Club guitarist, bandmate and Producer David Gray for her CD project Invincible Decency.
Kerry Doole of FYI Music News says this of Segato latest CD. "The charismatic frontperson of '80s hitmakers Parachute Club (five Junos, two platinum albums), Lorraine Segato has continued to impress on her solo releases since. Her signature humanism remains, and, on her new album Invincible Decency, it is again paired with a vibrant and musically varied sound. PC fans will love tracks like "Only Human" (could this be a new "Rise Up"?), "Hole in the Wall" and "All Went Wrong (Right Time)", while the singer branches out by singing in Italian on "Tengo Le Tasche Vuote". Her tender tribute to late bandmate Billy Bryans, "Times Like This", is a highlight on an album lacking lowlights. Former Clubmate David Gray produced and played guitar on the record. Segato is also kept busy these days as Artist in Residence in Toronto's Regent Park. "
Air Date: TVO.org
Oct 16, 2016
Available for free viewing until: Nov 12, 2021
Inspired by depression-era folk songs, filmmaker Shelley Saywell and singer and activist Lorraine Segato set out to document the music and stories of those who live on the margins of society and bare their souls through their songs on the streets of Toronto. It's a journey that takes us along abandoned tracks, beneath bridges, inside shelters, rooming houses and alleyways, and celebrates the music and survival of those who live on the outside.
Written and directed by multi-award-winning filmmaker Shelley Saywell of Bishari Films, Lowdown Tracks is an acclaimed documentary film was
Voted one of the top Canadian Audience Choice award at Hot Docs in 2015, Lowdown Tracks has been identified as a highly effective call to action, addressing mental health stigma and issues of homelessness in Canada. The film’s main subjects are talented street musicians and the face of some of Canada’s most vulnerable individuals.
Segato has compiled a CD soundtrack for the participants in the film available on ITUNES. For more Information on how to support this campaign visit lowdown4impact.com