CFN – My wife and I had the pleasure of first meeting the incredible Celeste Levis; a young and talented bilingual Francophone Northern Ontario singer/songwriter in the fall of 2010. Ironically, at the time, our chance meeting had nothing to do with music at all. Instead, we had decided to start taking karate lessons and Celeste was a fellow student at the time (and still is) at Timmins Karate-do.
Over the course of the three years that we have attended karate with both her and her jubilant older brothers Phil and Alex, we have come to know all three siblings quite well and are proud to call them friends.
Celeste is well-known around the music scene in Timmins; performing in all things music. She has been regularly performing in charity concerts, music events and has had her music playing on local radio stations for years; performing most recently in Timmins at Christopher’s Coffee House during the evening of Saturday, March 23, 2013 in support of Northern Ontario Families of Children with Cancer.
Both Julie and I were fortunate enough to have attended the two and a half hour packed concert in it’s entirety; witnessing Celeste perform cover songs as well as a few of her originals including her new song, “So-Called Hero” and her older, “The Ghost of you and I”; both of which are available on i-Tunes for purchase. Because of time constraints, she was unable to perform her third i-Tunes hit, “Here without you.” And as of 6 o’clock this evening, Wednesday July 3, 2013, the music video of “The Ghost of you and I” has been released on Youtube.
It’s a rarity today to see such homegrown talent in such a young person. At just 18 years of age, Celeste embodies the vigour of youth; minus the trappings and perils. Indeed, Celeste’s talents aren’t restricted to her musical abilities. Once again, at just 18, she has managed to already obtain a black belt in the Goju-Ryu karate style and has been accepted to study at the University of Ottawa; where she will begin studying music and math this coming fall.
It hasn’t always been sunshine and success for the young Levis, however. Apart from the regular ‘Rights of Passage’ that a young person experiences during their formative years, Celeste has had the additional stress of having had already experienced a life debilitating event. Suffering from a rare disorder named, ‘Chiari Malformation’; she had to undergo brain surgery on April 1, 2009. This disorder leaves her unable to physically perform full-contact karate sparring and specific exercises designed to garner strength. One of the most remarkable stories I heard from Celeste one time having to do with her condition, was how she relayed to me how she would regularly experience hallucinations; such as seeing people in her bedroom on numerous occasions whenever they weren’t really there. A frightening prospect to say the least, I’m ecstatic to report that since her surgical procedure, these types of hallucinations have stopped entirely. After all is said and done, she has endured and still strives, taking life one day at a time.
If I had to sum up Celeste Levis in one descriptive word it would be ‘humbling’. Despite her incredible talents, gifts and busy scheduling, she always takes the time to visit with friends and fans, alike. Both Julie and I were lucky enough to have caught up with her during the concert on that Saturday night back in March where she personally thanked us for our support and we caught up on old times.
After the concert, I thought about how lucky both my wife and I are to be affiliated with a talented young woman in the form of Celeste Levis. It’s truly captivating to see and experience the brilliance of a young musician just on the edge of stardom. As Celeste herself would attest,
C’est la vie!