Siblings bond over music
Traditional duo from Whiteway release debut album
When either Dillon or Shana Brown play a note of music at their Whiteway home, it’s only natural for the other to pick up an instrument and play along.
They do it naturally and, usually, are completely in tune with the song the other is playing. It is something they’ve been doing for years and have become quite proficient at.
Music plays a big part in the lives of the siblings, aged nine (Shana) and 11 years old (Dillon). Now, they’ve taken a big step in their careers.
“We enjoy playing live. The energy makes you want to go faster.”
On July 23, the pair celebrated the release of their debut album “Traditions” with a party at Brown’s Restaurant in Whiteway. It was recorded with the help of local sound engineer Jason Reid via Rock Island Studio and funded through CBDC Trinity Conception.
They started with 100 copies of the disc. Those disappeared quickly and the pair have some 10 left over and are waiting on a second shipment.
“It’s pretty cool to hold your own CD,” said Dillon. “It’s a joy for us to see them.”
Their debut offering is filled with traditional and folk ditties. From Foster and Allen’s classic “Sweet Forget Me Not” to “Jack Was Every Inch A Sailor,” Shillon has plenty of music to keep listeners coming back to the recording.
The duo have some of their own arrangements for the tunes, giving it that personal feel that many artists crave when covering a song.
There’s even a gospel tune — “Amazing Grace.” It is a song frequently requested when they hit the stage at Browns Restaurant in Whiteway, the Eastport Accordian Festival and most recently the NL Folk Festival.
They became so familiar with it they decided to include it on the record.
“That’s there for the nans and the pops,” said Shana.
Musicians will often tell you hearing themselves on a record is right up there with performing in front of a live audience.
There is something about being able to pop in a compact disc and listen to yourself in the car, at the cabin or with your friends.
“It’s that you know all of the songs (on the album),” said Shana. “And, that at any time, you can pick up the instruments and play along with it. It’s like a double version of yourself.”
It wasn’t easy, however. Recording music can “sometimes be stressful,” according to Dillon.
“It was fun in the studio,” he said. “If you made a mistake in a long song, you’d have to do it over again. “
Listening to yourself
The Brown’s spent months trying to come up with a name for the young duo. They moved from one Celtic-influenced moniker to the next in search of the one that fit.
They settled on Shillon after setting up a make-believe shop in their basement. Last Easter when their grandparents were visiting, the children encouraged them to shop downstairs. Dillon got a piece of cardboard and wrote “Shillon’s Variety Supermarket” on it.
The name struck a chord with their mother Leila.
“I told them that would be a good name for their band,” she said. “I like the fact that they came up with it.”
Both decided it was a good idea and a band was born. Coincidentally, it turns out Shillon is a combination of their names.
While still in their early years, Shana and Dillon’s musical landscape is steeped in tradition.
The pair play an assortment of instruments, including the guitar, fiddle, accordion and tin whistle, amongst others. Through years of training, the Browns are as adept at rattling off an impressive ver- sion of any number of reels as they are slowing it down with a heartfelt number.
“We wanted the record to reflect that,” said Leila.
While school supplies are scattered around the Brown household with a return to studies just around the corner, there is still some roads to be travelled in the name of music for Shillon before getting back to classes at Woodland Elementary.
Dillon and Shana have performances lined up for Whiteway Days amongst other opportunities to hit the stage around the province.
“We enjoy playing live,” said Shana. “The energy makes you want to go faster.”
Siblings Dillon (left) and Shana Brown recently released their debut record under the band name Shillon. Aptly titled “Traditions,” the record is a rousing romp through traditional Newfoundland music.