Kootenay musician and former Mount Sentinel teacher Sarah Calvert was being interviewed on Indian television years ago when the host asked her a somewhat uncomfortable question.
“I was in India and teaching yoga there, performing and playing gigs. I got way more press than I ever got in Toronto,” said Calvert. “This woman interviewing me saw me as an anomaly — a single woman travelling by herself, and we started talking about it.”
Calvert had prepared for questions on her musical influences and ambitions, but instead found herself being interrogated about her love life.
“Suddenly it was like she was channeling my Jewish grandmother: ‘Why aren’t you married!’ She said ‘why are you not with a man?’ ‘Don’t you want to fall in love?’”
Calvert was taken aback.
“I said ‘yes, of course I’m open to that but it hasn’t happened yet and it’s not my goal in life to meet a fella and settle down.’ I said ‘you were just praising what I’m doing with my life, being a world traveller while performing and teaching yoga. If I had a husband and children that wouldn’t be possible.”
That’s when she had a realization: “My life is like a cake, and I need the man in my life to be the frosting.”
That’s one of the songs on her latest album, an upbeat piece that strays from her typical ballad route. But she had to translate the sentiment to get it across in India.
“I told her it’s like the gulab jamun without the sauce. The dough is amazing on its own, and the guy is like the sweet, caramely sauce. At the end she got it.”
She eventually grew to empathize with her host’s position: “At first I was feeling a bit judged, but I think what I thought was judgey-ness was more like ‘I didn’t get a chance to do that!’”
The songs on Calvert’s album — she used to go by the pseudonym Que Sera — are mainly autobiographical, and her accompanying book Masala: Memories and Melodies, tells the story behind them. “You can listen to the song first, then read about the story that inspired it.”
Calvert said she’s thrilled to have moved back to Nelson after being overseas for seven years.
“This town really helped me touch base with the musical side of me. I’ve been in the pantomime and the musicals, and it’s just such an amazing place to be.”
Her homecoming concert will be held Thursday at 8 p.m. at The Royal on Baker. Tickets are $10, and both books and CDs will be available for purchase. Ebook versions are available.
“I will also be giving out a free download for one of my tunes that’s coming out with my album next year,” she said.