The Stuff of 2013: Veda Hille's Strange Masterpiece, Peter Panties

Peter Panties was officially released as an album earlier this year, but its roots go deeper than that. The songs are from a musical which first started being written all the way back in 2008 and was first performed in Vancouver three years later. Co-written by Niall McNiel (a Vancouver actor with Downs Syndrome) and Marcus Youssef, the play tells the story of Peter Pan in a radical new way: "a dreamscape where Peter Pan and Macbeth drink lattes, the Lost Boys hang with Grissom and Willows from CSI, and Tinkerbell and Wendy duke it out at Skull Rock... a ground-breaking examination of the creative process, an interrogation of what it means to grow up with difference, and a wildly imagined world where fairytales, myth, pop culture and everyday life intertwine."

The songs were all written by Veda Hille, a Vancouver singer-songwriter who has collaborated with everyone from Oh Susanna to Andy Stochansky to Dan Mangan. They're quick, catchy, oddball pop tunes centered around the skewed mythology of the play, but they more than stand up on their own. The album is a masterpiece in its own right — even for someone like me who wasn't lucky enough to see the stage production. If you were to play the comparison game, you could say Peter Panties sounds a little like something Kevin Barnes might have sung in the early years of Of Montreal, or like a less squeaky/religious Danielson Famile. The lyrical depth is matched by few others (Ryan Kamstra's poetically pop culture-laced lyrics for Tomboyfriend leap to mind) and combined with the never-ending hook parade of melodies, they make for what was easily one of my favourite albums of 2013.

You can check out one of the joyful videos released in conjunction with the record below, and stream the entire album below that.


Find all of our "Stuff of 2013" posts here.

Posted by Adam Bunch, the Editor-in-Chief of the Little Red Umbrella and the creator of the Toronto Dreams Project. You can read his posts here, follow him on Twitter here, or email him at


Louis Arthur said...

I love when people with disabilities step out and do something extraordinary. Like, they show us that if you want it, you can get it. I mean, look at me, all fine but still looking for dissertation help service in UK, and then look at Niall McNeil, a down-syndrome patient but still, an actor, and a composer. Hats off, dude. More power to you!

David Soy said...

I sometimes feel embarrassed when I see such people doing such incredible things. I even loose my calm when I have loads of coursework to do.

Lio Morgan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
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