singer • songwriter • guitarist • performer
Philomene Hoffman was born in Kitchener Waterloo, ON. She is a guitarist, singer/songwriter performer weaving her personal stories and poetry about life and her day to day experiences. She has been creating songs, little dittys and instrumental pieces since she was 8 years old. Hoffman shares, "It all started with me playing and singing in my Babji's (Polish for grama) kitchen as a kid with my Uncle Wally who plays the accordion. I actually at that time played more percussion on pots, pans and any table that was close by. When I was 10 years old I asked for drums for Christmas and my parents bought me a guitar instead. So, I fell in love with this instrument and started learning the guitar by ear, working on the songs I loved at the time. My first song I ever learned was Dylan's 1963 song, Blowin' In The Wind... to name some early tunes... the Animals' House of the Rising Sun, Leonard Cohen's Suzanne and Tim Hardin's song, If I Were A Carpenter. I also liked Bobby Darin's take on that one. My primary muses as a kid and over the years... Joni Mitchell, Carol King, Cat Stevens, Neil Young, Tim Buckley, Laura Nyro, CSNY, Joan Armatrading, David Gilmour, Pat Metheny, to name a few. In my teens and early twenties I loved live music, venues and folk festivals, so I would get inspired by mostly local guy guitar players and rush home and practice what I heard. Learning tunes by ear for me was really a strong backbone to my enjoyment and confidence.
Along with Hoffman's work in her life as an artist, she has also been a full-time teacher with The Toronto Catholic District School Board since 1986, teaching vocal music from Kindergarten to Grade 8 with regular daily scheduled music classes and lunch hour choirs and guitar club.
Hoffman's academic music education was in the late 70's and 80's studying private classical guitar in Banff with Douglas Chapman. Hoffman returned to Toronto to study with Daniella Kassner at the Eli Kassner Academy and then from 1980-1983 she continued studying music at York University.
Hoffman's start as a performer was throughout the 80's and 90's debuting mostly her original music in local festivals and various Toronto venues such as Free Times Cafe, Oasis, Big Bop, The Cameron House, The Barcode at CMW Festival, and Aggies Cafe in Flesherton ON. Then from 2001 to the present moving on to venues such as, Hugh's Room, Liberty Bistro, C'est What and Habit's Gastropub, Pamenar Cafe, The Belljar, the Pyrus Cafe in Kitchener and The Great Books & Cafe in Williamsford, ON. Throughout the years Hoffman has also hosted many open mics in Toronto, such as, The Rhino, Cabbagetown Community Art Center, Hart House U. of T. and from 2012 to present, Rebas Cafe, Magic Oven and La Rev.
Hoffman finished a summer U.S. music tour in 2012 with her nephew, songwriter performer Luke Andrews. Both participated in a three day SongCamp in Nashville, TN and showcased there at two venues, the Commodore and Taps, then travelled on to perform shows in Hot Springs Arkansas, Mena Arkansas and Bradenton, Florida.