Singer-songwriter Wendy Luella Perkins is a hidden gem on the Canadian folk music scene. Her songs offer glimpses into the simple joys and small tragedies of day-to-day living. Folks can’t help but sing along to her catchy choruses, which leave listeners with good vibrations all-around.
Born in Halifax, Wendy Luella spent her growing-up years in Nova Scotia, the most formative ones on a small farm near Shubenacadie. It was there that her passion for the land was firmly planted. She’s also lived in Sackville NB, Kitchener-Waterloo, Toronto and Winnipeg. While she’s called Kingston, Ontario home for nearly twenty years, she continues to be enchanted and moved by the people, history and landscape back east.
Inspired by the melodic stylings of Joni Mitchell, the sing-along activism of Pete Seeger and the intimate storytelling of David Francey, Wendy Luella weaves a tale so true, that it often brings a smile or tear as it resonates with the listener’s own life stories. Her performances are lovely and lively—full of funny anecdotes, warm intimacy and plenty of chances for the crowd to join their own voices with hers.
Ordained as a Unitarian Universalist minister in 1999, Wendy Luella has committed her life to spiritual deepening, community-building and progressive social change. While she spent several years in congregational and denominational ministry, her vocation is now lived-out mostly in the community, focusing on food and music. She is a local food and farm activist with the National Farmers Union local 316 and loves to cook for friends with fresh food straight from the garden/farm. For about ten years she has also facilitated meditative singing groups called Soulful Singing around Kingston and across the country that create spontaneous, joyful circles of song.
While she has been a writer of tunes and singer of songs from her early days (at the age of three her older brother Tim proudly took her to “show and tell” to demonstrate her pipes!), it was after the premature deaths of her parents Luella and Al in 2004 that Wendy Luella began to dedicate herself more fully to song writing. Since then she has written about a hundred folk songs, a few dozen children’s songs and hundreds of meditative chants.
Yes, Wendy Luella’s musical creations are diverse. In 2005 she independently released Awakening the Compassionate Heart, an EP of meditative chants inspired by the teachings of Buddhist nun Pema Chödrön. Her short song “We Give Thanks” has been a hit in Unitarian Universalist congregations across North America and in the UK, and is published in several song books, including Singing the Journey, Come Sing a Song with Me, and Sing Your Faith.
The release of Lucky Life in November 2010 brought Wendy’s folk music to a wider audience, and early in 2011 she was back in the studio working on This Very Moment, her new full-length album of meditative chants. This album was partly funded through an Ontario Arts Council popular music audio recording grant, and it was released on May 20, 2011. Wendy hopes to embark on a children’s album in 2012.
Wendy Luella shares her life with her husband, musician Charlie Walker, in downtown Kingston. She is DARN passionate about downtown living and also has the great good fortune to frequently visit the fields and farms dotting the region’s beautiful countryside. She has two stepchildren: Jeremy (Kathy and little Adam) and Monika.