Spiritual Café

Spiritual Café was a collaboration of Soul Asylum Poetry Inc. and the Baha’is of Georgina. It ran for about a year beginning in 2009. 

Spiritual Café took shape in a very casual fashion as a weekly open mic that attracted people in the region that read their short stories and poetry or played acoustic music to a cozy collection that offered up their encouragement and appreciation. Justin won the room over at his first appearance when he unwrapped an authentic didgeridoo. He explained that he was at the beginning stages of learning how to play it and what ever sounds we heard, it might be the first time he’d heard some of them too. No worries, his enthusiasm for trying new instruments was something we always anticipated.

Ken Cowle served as the contact for inquiries and MC’d the evenings. Charlie Ross took the photos and created the poster, all shared here for posterity.

You can see from the table of books that Soul Asylum Poetry and Publishing Inc. was already on its way as a viable provider of services to independent writers. The variety of illustrated children’s books, novels, poetry, and even Smile Through The Tears, a graphic novel created by Rupert Bazambanza, a survivor of the Rwanda genocide who was living in Montreal when we met him at the annual book expo in Toronto.

Composing this article in 2021 brings up that feeling of wondering, where are they now? Steve Porter had already released his own CD by 2009 and Charlie still plays it from time to time. It’s stunningly good song writing and musicianship. If you like Gordon LIghtfoot, that’s the closest comparison in style and sound, including Steve’s voice.

The location was generously provided by Marilyn Oldfield (1931-2017), in the main activity building of her Eaglewood Resort. Eaglewood was the venue of the famous Eaglewood Folk Festival for many years until 2013. That festival was a phenomenon of its own that would interest singer/songwriter musicians if you’re not already aware of its history.