“In the end, we'll all become stories.” Margaret Atwood
NIAGARA, singer-songwriter Sarah Howard’s début EP, is an autobiographical work that explores the bittersweet relationship we all have with home. Each track explores how trauma maps onto the real and imagined spaces of the songwriter’s hometown, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario. Growing-up in a low-income family where the echoes of domestic violence and addiction reverberated, Sarah tells haunting stories of the land, the orchards, the colonial architecture, and the wide horizon of Lake Ontario.
“I wanted to reach down into my roots, to the things that were haunting me, that I felt were preventing me from accepting myself as an artist. Niagara felt like a very important first project for me as a singer-songwriter, as I heal and discover my artistic voice.” Sarah Howard
Recorded at Little Bullhorn Productions in Ottawa, Ontario with Daves Draves, the EP includes a smattering of field recordings from the artist's hometown. While “Sailor” explores the artist’s relationship with the lake and her estranged father, “Chrysanthemum and Roses” is an homage to a favourite aunt who has passed on, a single mother who worked alongside Sarah’s mother in the vineyards, orchards, and greenhouses to support her family. The title track, “Niagara,” recounts family stories of settling in the area generations back. The EP culminates with “Little One,” in which the artist creates a sonic safe space for the healing of everyone’s inner child.
NIAGARA was released on September 21st, 2018 and is available for streaming and download on Spotify, Google Music, and iTunes.
The artist and everyone involved in NIAGARA recognize that the project was partially inspired by settler family stories that take place on the traditional territories of the Anishinaabeg, Ojibway/Chippewa, and Haudenosaunee peoples.