Norah Love

Norah has been singing with FullCircle since the group's formation in 1999. She contributes vocals, percussion (including bodhran) and some rhythm guitar to the group.

Norah was born in Baie Comeau Quebec, but spent most of her childhood and adolescence in St. Catharines, Ontario and the surrounding Niagara Region. She was the second of four children, and was introduced to the pleasures of music at an early age. Her mother, a teacher, would sit at the piano and sing Broadway tunes and other "old chestnuts" hoping that the rest of the family would join in. Very soon, Norah was eager to take piano lessons, which she did for the next 8 years (Royal Conservatory), with a couple of years of voice and theory lessons thrown into the mix. Norah's early singing was primarily with church and school choirs which she recalls as a good grounding. (There may also be some genetic contributors to Norah's interest in music: she and Canadian singer-songwriter, Cathy Miller (of Trilogy renown) are connected through their grandfathers who were brothers; and another cousin, John Rudell, is a well-reputed jazz percussionist in Montreal.)

By adolescence, the lure of folk music had captured Norah's attention. The poetry and social messages of rising icons such as Leonard Cohen, Peter Paul and Mary, Joan Baez, and Bob Dylan were major influences for Norah. On her fourteenth birthday, she received her first acoustic guitar, and from that point on, folk music became her chief musical focus. Norah joined her high school's folk club and between 1965 and 1970, she could be heard around campfires, school cafeterias, and in local coffee houses crooning out the sounds of her favourite singers Joni Mitchell, Joan Baez, Bob Dylan and Gordon Lightfoot. In 1970, Norah went off to the University of Toronto where she met her husband, Drummond White, and for the next four years, they partook of the vibrant folk scene on Yorkville Avenue and venues such as the Silver Dollar, Brunswick House, and Grossman's Tavern. Norah's favourite memories from those days were the intimate concerts by Joni Mitchell and Sonny Terry and Brownie McGee at the Riverboat, Murray McLaughlan's house parties, and strumming tunes with Raffi who was dating her roommate at that time.

Performing, however, took a back seat for Norah during these years and, eventually, she and Drummond left Toronto to pursue careers in social work and start a family. They settled north and then east of Toronto where they raised their three children and became active in their communities, church and politics. (Drummond served as an MPP for Whitby/Oshawa in the historic NDP government between 1990 and 1995.)

Norah maintained some musical outlet in her connection with United and Unitarian Churches. However, it wasn't until the mid 90s that Norah actively took up the guitar again and serendipitously met Reid Wilson at a Sunday afternoon "jam" session at the Greenbank Folk Club in 1997. Almost a year later, she was introduced to Barb and Don Cavin, who were birding acquaintances of Reid and Margaret Wilson, and the four began singing and playing together regularly. Norah recalls that those first few acoustic encounters seemed "electric" as the spontaneous harmonies and arrangements emerged from their jam sessions. She reflects that "it's rare that four random voices fit so well together! ...We would joke that we had found a 'new' song to perform when the hairs on our arms stood on end!"

In the summer of 1999 while the group was attending the Woods Music and Dance Camp in Muskoka, their collaboration was officially launched under the name FullCircle. (The 'Woods' became an annual pilgrimage for these four friends while they continued to build their repertoire and skills in the company of other folk musicians or 'folk junkies', as Norah likes to call them.) Norah notes that the addition of Doug Hutchinson as FullCircle's bass player in 2001 has been a great fit both musically and philosophically. She feels that singing with FullCircle has deepened her conviction that musically, "the whole is definitely greater than the sum of its parts... singing alone now just doesn't seem to have the same satisfaction that it once did". With the recent addition of John and Anna Ioannou, she hopes the group's musical collaborations will continue to evolve and grow in the year's ahead.

Norah's family has been very supportive and excited about her mid-life return to music. Now, with their three children "almost launched", Norah and Drummond are looking forward to putting more energy into their creative interests such as theatre, the arts, travel and, of course, music. They have recently restored a century home in downtown Whitby which they hope will become the venue for many a rousing house concert or ceilidh in the years ahead.

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