Cochlea: The Freak Show Musical!

October 12th, 2014 by admin Categories: Blog, Musical Theatre, Projects No Responses
Dame Sonja singing "A Bad Woman" at the 2012 Tsk Tsk Revue

Dame Sonja singing “A Bad Woman” at the 2012 Tsk Tsk Revue”Go Fund Me” project will get me back on the stage with support

“Go Fund Me project will get me back

Below are the details of my GoFund Me campaign. Read it here, or go directly to the site to donate:


“Cochlea the Freakshow Musical” is an avant garde musical-cabaret of three women, who live inside the head of Cochlea, the quirky, child-like narrator who tells the story of her disturbing and hilarious life through the songs and poems of Amanda, Treva and Sonja.

The project is complete when the show is on the stage! My goal is to launch the show in October 2015 in Victoria BC. From there I will tour it for one year across North America and South America to France and Germany, ending up in New York in November 2015.

In the meantime these are the steps that will take me to my dream goal…and here’s how YOU can help:

Produce 3 professional videos of 3 songs performed by each of the 3 characters.
FINANCIAL GOAL: $1000.00 each
Money will be spent on hiring musicians; renting location space, hiring videographer/producer; editing and marketting.


The Black Widow's Tango showcases Dame Sonja's cabaret style

The Black Widow’s Tango showcases Dame Sonja’s cabaret style



A) The Blackwidow’s Tango (Fall 2014)


Seductive Sonja sings this Marlene Deietrich style tango with the accompaniment of acordian, viloin and drums. Set in a 1930’s cabaret, The Black Widow seduces her prey, then appologises for her “voracious, rapacious, and salacious” appetite!










My First Love Was My Bicycle is the first video to be shot in October

My First Love Was My Bicycle is the first video to be shot in October



B) My First Love Was My Bicycle (Fall 2014)

Treva, the hopeful, upbeat earthy love child sings this happy,danceable ska tune about the freedom she feels when she rides her bike. Set amid the splendid colours of autumn, accompaniment includes a full reggae band with a violinist on a unicycle!






Feel the Love with Amanda's soulful songs

Feel the Love with Amanda’s soulful songs



C) The Beautiful Mystery (Winter 2015)

Romantic, sensual Amanda melts hearts and touches into the soul of all who hear her sing. “The Beautiful Mystery” is a R&B style ballad that released her from a dark spell of depression. Set in a temple, by the sea, and in a stark room, accompaniment includes piano, bass, drums and saxophone.









Write the show…
This provides me with travel expenses to work with my musicians and directors and all materials, props, etc that need to be purchased for the show.Your contributions to this stage will grant me the resouces to research, write and prepare the show for production. It will also allow me to hire an arranger, director and an editor.
Much of the music has been written and or recorded professionally, so I have a very good start. I have three directors in Quito, Cuenca and New York who are willing to help me pull the show together, and many theatre professionals from whom I can get support and guidance.

Practice practice practice!
The third stage will take us up to Spring and summer of 2015 when the band, the ‘extras’ in the show, the director and I, all work out the kinks… (Sonja, sexy Sonja, will love this part…)
There will be spring, summer and fall festivals in which all three characters will perform their individual shows, each of them talking up “Cochlea, The Musical… Freak Show Cabaret!”
The videos that YOU help me to produce in PART ONE will help me to get into these festivals that will give me a greater chance of making “Cochlea” a success.

“Cochlea, The Freak Show Musical” is my chance to make it onto international stages with a show that pulls together 40 years of dedication to my art. It is my opportnity to show you my gratitude for what you have helped facilitate with your support. And the best apart: you will get to witness me fully, happily, doing what I love to do best.
Why “Freak Show” Musical you might ask?

No one has ever heard or witnessed in one sitting the full spectrum of what I can do with my voice. Often friends and fans ask me to put on another cabaret cause they were very popular, risque and fun. Others want to hear more of my celtic folk cause it touches thier heart. And others love it when I sing jazz cause I have a remarkable voice and write great melodies. I keep looking for an “appropriate” stage to pull it all together and fit into a genre, a format that is marketable. But I am unique. A freak show implies a dispaly of unrestrained emotion , or a person who has “lost it”; it suggests images of crazed animals in cages with people gawking in rapt horror. A circus geek. The important part of being a Freak Show is that is definatly piques interest.

But that is not why I named it that.

“I am a freak show”, I exclaimed happily, just last week- as I listened to myself doing my thing: singing, vocalizing, moving from opera into rap-beat-box-Tuuvan-throat-singing catharsis, dancing freely, freaking, letting it all out… I am a survivor, fully alive healthy human being, therefore I sing. I felt my energy shift as my breathing got deeper and the sounds that emerged amazed and enlivened me. This is SO. MUCH. FUN!! I laugh when i sing! It feels so great! I cathart.

“How can I do this on a stage so people witness the power of the voice? How can I sing those song I wrote so long ago and play all my instruments and make it a cohesive story that people want to see? How can I turn my depression into enlightenment that inspires others? How can I contribute my special talents to a world that needs more laughter?” I ask these and other questions. I want to give. I love, therefore I am.

All my life I have been told I am ‘different’. I’ve been told I am ‘weird’ a freak, and incredibly creative. As a survivor of early childhood trauma, sexual abuse, severe depression and a head injury that led to epilepsy, I have struggled with confidence, often sabotaging my success to be at the top of my game. I put motherhood ahead of my career, juggling many jobs and ways of supporting myself while continuing to dabble in my musical passions. Living for 30 years in small communities where it is almost impossible to support myself as an artist has further impeded my success. I suffered many falls in my attempts to reach out to others with my gifts as an artist. It has taken me around 40 years, five professional CDs, including two studio albums, many, many performances and confusion around my stage identity: am I a jazz singer? a folk singer? or am I meant to sing opera? Now I have come to the point where I am ready to bring it all to the public in a one woman biographical fantasy Freak Show.

I wondered: which is the musical genre I most relate to? Earthy celebrations in rhythmic vocally driven alt-rock? Latin jazz and R&B? Or musical theatre wrapped up in Burlesque Cabaret? In this show I celebrate all three.

I love my Muse. She is so generous. I call her Cochlea. Cochlea is the inner ear. This name was suggested to me by my darling Rodney Gage who died of cancer in 2007. He also taught me to take one step at a time… Cochlea offered me three women, the Tryptic Sirens I call them, to study the scope of my artistic canvas.


AMANDA LOVE is the jazz, R&B singer with the dulcet tones;
TREVA BILEEVA is the energetic, androgynous, earthy alt-rock dancing dynamo, and
DAME SONJA is the sophisticated, cabart diva with the big pipes.

Amanda has taught me to love myself, and I through her gentle guidance I have grown into a peaceful acceptance of who I am. Treva gives me the courage to keep believing in love and humanity and to listen to the wisdom of Mother Earth, and Sonja reminds me to be completely unrestrained, to play as the woman or the man, and to always make it FUN!

Thank you from my heart for your kindness and support. I hope to meet you face to face soon so I can thank you for helping to make my dream a reality.

In loving kindness,
Joanna (Cochlea)

September 21 2014 as summer turns to fall

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