Maine musician Dominic Lavoie has spent the past two years working on a 25-minute concept music film and corresponding EP called “Mariposa.” On Saturday night, several things are happening at One Longfellow Square to celebrate its release. First, there’s an opening performance by Boston-based indie-soul singer-songwriter Aubrey Haddard, followed by a screening of “Mariposa,” then Lavoie and his band will close out the evening. What’s more, Lavoie had the five-song “Mariposa” soundtrack pressed on vinyl, and copies will be for sale at the show, as well as at Bull Moose locations.
Before getting into “Mariposa,” here’s a little Lavoie 101. He was born in Edmunston, New Brunswick, and grew up in the French-speaking mill town of Madawska, the northernmost town in Maine. Lavoie’s been living in Portland for the past 16 years, now with his wife, Kim, and two daughters, ages 3 and 6 months.
In 2003, Lavoie formed the rock band Dominic and Lucid, which has released five albums. Lavoie is also the founding member of the Portland psych-folk collective ShaShaSha. The “Mariposa” EP will be his first solo album. Lavoie also runs Shabbey Load Studio and has been engineering and producing records for several Maine artists through the years, including KG Freeze, Zach Jones and Jeff Beam.
Lavoie cemented his place into my and, I suspect, several other people’s Maine music hall of fame when he wrote the song “Be In Love,” which is on the 2008 album “Season of the Sun.” It opens with the lines, “Hey hey what can I say? Love is the way, love is the way,” and it goes on to say, “I’ve been around the world once or twice before, but the answer ain’t found in starting wars I promise you this.” “Be In Love” is an acoustic ray of pure sunshine that sounds like it could have been pouring out of the rickety speakers on a VW bus on its way to Woodstock. In 2012, the song was elevated to higher ground when the Maine Academy of Modern Music re-recorded it for Playing For Change Day with a cast of dozens of student musicians and local luminaries, including Lavoie, Kenya Hall, Sara Cox, Sara Hallie Richardson, Zach Jones, The Fogcutters and several others. Seven years later, the YouTube clip has amassed more than 1.2 million views, and the first person you see in the video is Lavoie singing the opening verse of the flawless tune.
Getting back to “Mariposa,” Lavoie told me that the song titles come from a Russian butterfly pressing his wife brought home from Japan many years ago. “The butterflies were pressed and preserved in a frame with their names under each one. Five in total, and that was the genesis for the direction of the EP, although the songs themselves aren’t about the butterflies. They were more or less creative jumping points,” he said. Mariposa is the Spanish word for butterfly, and Lavoie credits a poem of the same name by Federico Garcia Lorca for inspiring the EP’s title.
As for the songs themselves, they’re the latest example of Lavoie doing what he does best: rock with a psychedelic leaning. Tracks like “Common Rose” and “Common Tiger” are spaced-out trips with four men riding on a blue horse in the latter tune. Lavoie’s film is a visual representation of these songs, and although the trailer is only 27 seconds long, it gave enough of a glimpse to let us know that we’re in for a fantastical, multimedia excursion.
WHEN: 8 p.m. Saturday
WHERE: One Longfellow Square, 181 State St., Portland
HOW MUCH: $12 in advance, $15 day of show.
TICKETS & INFO: onelongfellowsquare.com