Sheesham and Lotus
Sheesham and Lotus (www.sheeshamandlotus.com) are Teilhard Frost and Sam Allison. Teilhard and Sam have been making music for most of their lives, both from musical families, Teilhard was raised on Manitoulin Island playing some fiddle, Sam rambling around Toronto, loving the guitar and old raggy blues. As very young children they were both given jaw harps and harmonicas and continue this day enjoying and sharing the music of the people with the people.
While living in Toronto, Teilhard co-founded experimental band ‘Subtonic Monks’ and Cuban Son band ‘Klave y Kongo’, and was recording as a session musician for T.V. and radio. Sam Allison was composing award winning music for the Canadia Dell’arte Theatre, spent time playing with the Jelly Roll Orchestra, and toured with pop/folk musicians John Southworth and Hawksley Workman.
Frost and Allison then came together as the rhythm section for bush swing band Flapjack. Flapjack specializing in Canadian fiddle repertoire, including the songs of legendary Mack Beattie and his Ottawa Valley Melodiers, Newfoundland fiddlers Emile Benoit, and Rufus Guinchard, and played the tunes and songs of Jamie Snyder as well as new original material in the old time style.
Touring for seven years in the U.S. and Canada playing for contra dances and festivals, Sam and Teilhard had the time to really fall into a good groove. They played constantly while on the road, on stage and off. With Flapjack, Teilhard played bones, washboard, harmonica, jaw harp, stepped and sang, Sam played upright bass, bass harmonica and sang. Outside the band, they were taken by the sound of old time Appalachian string band music and would ceaselessly play fiddle and banjo together till the mornings light. Eventually, Flapjack packed it in, but Teilhard and Sam continued to play occasional gigs together, with great response. Encouraged by their community to carry on and make more music together, Sheesham and Lotus were discovered, covered in dust.
As Sheesham Crow and Lotus Wight, Teilhard Frost and Sam Allison have played all across Canada, including appearances at Blues Skies Festival, Millrace Festival of Traditional Folk Music, Summerfolk, Mariposa, Northern Lights Festival Boreal, Lunenburg Folk Harbour Festival, Barrie Folk, Little Slokan Valley Fest, Cree Fest (Kasheshawan, On), Champlain Valley Folk Fest, (V.T.), Shelter Valley Folk Fest, and Winnipeg Folk Fest. They have acted as host to the main stage at both Peterborough Folk festival and Shelter Valley. In January 2010 they held a two week residence at Queens University, faculty of education, teaching harmonica, step dance, and square dance to teacher candidates. They have played theatres and concert venues all across Canada, coast to coast.
With Prologue to the Performing Arts, they are currently touring an educational show called “Old Time Ways”. The show gives a brief history and practice of music and entertainment from a time before mass media.
Sheesham and Lotus acted as mentor and host in the youth program, part of Ontario Conference of Folk Festivals, 2009. They have released 4 CDs, “Old time Fiddle and Banjo” in 2006; “Everytime” in 2008; and “Five Miles from Town. More Old Time Fiddle and Banjo”, in 2010; This year, 2012, they have released heir fourth recording “More Hokum with Sheesham and Lotus & ‘Son”, with new member Brian Sanderson playing Sousaphone and pocket Cornet.
In 2009 they recorded a DVD, “Live, at the Acoustic Grill”, slated for later release. Sheesham and Lotus also appeared in the Dan Levatin documentary, “The Musical Brain”. They have been awarded the Jack Hayes Award for keeping traditional music and dance alive.