More than just a simple hobby

Local lawyer Darcia Senft is just as passionate about music as she is about the law

Local musicians Darcia Senft and James Hickerson. One of them is a boxer. Can you guess which one?

Darcia Senft is a busy woman.

When she’s not fighting for justice in her full-time job as a lawyer or kicking some serious butt boxing at the Pan Am Boxing Club in Winnipeg’s Exchange District, the 44-year old is promoting her new CD, Storms in the Cellar.

It was right before a boxing workout that Senft sat down at The Fyxx to discuss the album, her upcoming show and the interesting, busy life she leads.

Senft describes her sound as “Gillian Welch and David Rawlings having a potluck with Johnny Cash and Carole King in a dirt floor house where specialties are combined and the result is soul-satisfying.”

She said that if she were to attend such a potluck, she’d bring chili and perogies - chili because it’s comfort food, and perogies as a nod to her Ukrainian roots. But after talking to Senft, it’s clear that she, like many other artists, hates being pigeonholed.

“You put your heart and soul into something and you hope people like it,” she said.

Music has always been a part of my life. After you start singing and songwriting, it’s like you can’t stop.

Darcia Senft, musician

Storms in the Cellar is Senft’s third CD and her third collaboration with guitarist James Hickerson. The duo perform in two-part harmony with acoustic guitar and banjo, their influences ranging from roots ballads to traditional dirt floor country to blues and blue grass.

“It’s the kind of music you’d hear played on the porch of a house,” she said, adding she and Hickerson wanted to keep the recording sparse.

Recording exclusively on her own label, Tall Grass Music, affords Senft the opportunity to do whatever she wants.

“This is my music. I’m not a product you can market like someone just starting their career.”

For Senft and Hickerson, the music is a labour of love they don’t like to distract from. Anyone planning to attend their show at The Folk Exchange on Feb. 6 should come prepared to hear stripped-down music showcasing thoughtful lyrics. Senft started her university career as an English major before making the switch into law school two years later with the intent of following a more practical career path. Why law? According to Senft, one of her friends was taking the LSAT so she decided to try it as well.

Twenty years later, she loves her day job, and her love of writing and poetry has remained, working its way into Senft’s songwriting.

“I won’t call it my hobby - playing cards is a hobby,” she said.

Music is more to her than that, and something she feels she has little control over.

“Music has always been a part of my life. After you start singing and songwriting, it’s like you can’t stop.”

See Darcia Senft and James Hickerson Friday, Feb. 6 at The Folk Exchange.

Published in Volume 63, Number 19 of The Uniter (February 5, 2009)

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