Press Releases

August 16, 2020, Dundas, Ontario
Cootes Paradise will host a Facebook Watch Party on August 21, 2020 (7:30 pm).
Cootes Paradise will be streaming a video that will include fun facts, trivia, pictures, and more, along with the music from our new album, “Downstream”. It’ll be a fun and interactive gathering where you can communicate with the band and each other through the chat.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the band has opted to take their listening party to a virtual platform. For their first self-titled CD (which earned them a Maple Blues Award nomination), they hosted an invitation-only listening party at Grant Avenue Studio. Since that won’t be possible for their new album, “Downstream”, the next best thing will be this Facebook Watch Party. It will be open to anyone who would like to attend.
“Downstream” will be released on the day of the party, and will be available for physical and digital purchase at that time. Details will be available at
The CD has already enjoyed airplay on CBC, and several other radio stations.
Cootes Paradise Downstream Cover

Cootes Paradise Releases Live Performance Video from Hugh’s Room Live
(See also p. 5 of the Toronto Blues Society’s MapleBlues June 2020 issue)

Cootes Paradise was on a roll in 2019/2020, coasting on a well-deserved Maple Blues Award nomination for New Artist/Band of the Year, while nearing completion of their sophomore release to follow up their self-titled CD from late 2017, and preparing for the launch of a live performance video from Hugh’s Room Live.

The band was hit with a couple of major setbacks. First, the death of their beloved producer in January 2020, the renowned and irreplaceable Nick Blagona, and then of course, the COVID-19 pandemic, which swept all plans away in a river of uncertainty, leaving them wondering what to do next.

While Nick was in hospital, just a day or two before he died, he expressed his care and concern for Cootes Paradise’s project, and enlisted his friend and fellow producer Mike Marcone from Hamilton Ontario’s Halo Studio, to take over the final mixes of the upcoming EP, giving him access to files, and providing detailed direction for completing the project.

One of the songs on the upcoming EP, called “The First Time”, penned by the band’s guitarist and one of the two main vocalists, Wayne Krawchuk, is featured on the live video, which was filmed during the band’s last Hugh’s Room Live performance in April 2019. They were scheduled to return in April 2020, but the venue announced its imminent relocation, and then, we all know what happened next.

This video offers a sneak preview of one of the songs on their upcoming release, “Downstream”, which is planned for release later this summer, and gives Cootes Paradise the chance to show off their live performance chops to both existing fans, and potential new devotees who may discover what they’ve missed in the almost five years the band has been together.

Filmed by Hamilton’s Adam Carter of Melodic Pixel Media, with sound mixing contribution from Hugh’s Room Live’s Colin Puffer, Cootes Paradise’s live performance was beautifully captured, along with the great vibe that is (or was) arguably the best live performance venue of its kind in Toronto.

The video will go live June 18 at 5pm, along with a virtual interview of the band by Ken Wallace of  Blues Source Canada.

Cootes Paradise are: Amy Di Nino – drums, Wayne Krawchuk – guitar/vocals, Sue Leonard – vocals, Lily Sazz – keys, Ian Taylor – bass, Mark Volkov – violin (flute, and sax)

For media inquiries, please contact Lily Sazz
905-730-LILY (5459) |

Learn More:

November 13, 2019

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                               NOVEMBER 13, 2019

Trans teen suicide awareness music video to launch on Transgender Day of Remembrance – November 20

VANCOUVER/TORONTO: Trans teen suicide is a growing crisis in Canada. To raise awareness, Vancouver-based production company Whitehall Entertainment Incorporated collaborated with Ontario-based blues band Cootes Paradise to produce a groundbreaking music video, “Meant for Something More”, that tackles the controversial subject.

The video – starring trans activist Romeo Reyes, along with Olivia Ducayen (“B-Side”), Danielle Braund (“Falling In”) and Lee Shorten (“The Man In the High Castle”) – will be released via social media to commemorate Transgender Day of Remembrance on November 20.

“I have trans friends who have died by suicide and it’s a way to pay tribute to their memory,” said video writer, producer and director Brenda Whitehall. “Several studies have shown that trans teens have alarmingly high rates of suicide, suicidal thoughts and self-harm behaviours. We need to do more to ensure better supports are in place to help those who are struggling.”

“Meant for Something More” tells the story of a young girl grappling with her gender identity. Her cry for help through a suicide attempt turns her family’s world upside down. But with love, support and compassion, she is able to successfully transition. It’s a beautiful story of a mother-child bond and unconditional love. And most of all, it’s a story of hope.

“Our band is very supportive of the LGBTQ+ community, and we are honoured to have our song provide the inspirational backdrop to support this important cause,” said Cootes Paradise band founder Lily Sazz.

The entire cast and crew donated their time and talent, and the video was produced with the generous support of community sponsors and donors.

For actor/band interviews, please contact Brenda Whitehall,

Whitehall Entertainment is an award-winning, independent film production company. Credits include “And Now This?”, “The Curtain” and “Little Oliver”. Cootes Paradise is a Maple Blues Award-nominated band specializing in original roots-based blues music. The track features lead vocals by Sue Leonard (k.d. lang, Bruce Willis, Bon Jovi), and Wayne Krawchuk (guitar, vocals) with Mark Volkov (sax), Lily Sazz (keyboards), Amy Di Nino (drums), and Ian Taylor (bass).


December 9, 2018

Cootes Paradise fragrance developed by two local women to enhance each other’s art and music.

Two local Dundas women have pooled their talent to develop a unique and innovative mashup of a merchandising idea.Cootes Paradise fragrance vials

Noëlle Smith, proprietor of Ellënoire, located in a gorgeous space inside the old post office in downtown Dundas, Ontario, Canada, and Lily Sazz, founder and leader of Dundas-based independent roots/blues band, “Cootes Paradise”, put their heads together, and decided that it would be novel and interesting to develop a natural fragrance.

Sazz’s motivation was to come up with a “merch” idea for her band that steered away from t-shirts made in China, and other typical wares that bands tend to sell. She was looking for a way to support a local business and sell a unique and natural product, while highlighting Cootes Paradise, which is also the original name of Dundas, Ontario, and the namesake of a large conservation area surrounding the valley town.

As soon as Sazz mentioned the idea to Smith, she jumped on board, and they put their heads together to come up with a plan. The fragrance is gender-neutral, created on demand and in-house at Ellënoire, right in Dundas, and sourced from natural essential oils and fragrances as developed by the two women.

“The band was really excited about the idea of offering something unusual to sell at concerts, with our trademark Dragonfly logo and Cootes Paradise name on the pretty label. I was jazzed about supporting a female business woman who is local, LGBTQ friendly, ridiculously good at what she does, and into our music. Noëlle was already a supporter of our band and has been our local Dundas retail outlet for our self-titled CD. The whole idea just made sense (pun intended).”

“Our goal was to choose fragrance notes that were gender neutral, universally appealing, light, & friendly. We wanted to create a scent to match the mood of a walk in Cootes Paradise. Natural fragrance in an oil base like this one wears very quietly, not creating the cloud of elevator-filling scent bombs most people are familiar with when they think of cologne or perfume”, says Smith.

Cootes Paradise Fragrance“I’m thrilled that my husband, who is often bothered by and allergic to commercially available fragrances, has no problem at all with this natural formulation, so it’s safe for me to wear it when we’re together”, says Sazz. “Another cool thing is that the .35oz/10ml attractive purple glass roller bottle means that a little goes a long way. There’s no waste of mist going into the air.”

Cootes Paradise by Ellënoire will be available at the band’s live performances as well as at Noëlle’s boutique on 104 King St W, Dundas. Retail price is set at $40.00. Free samples of the fragrance will be available for a limited time with the purchase of a CD.


Nov 1, 2018

Cootes Paradise is delighted to announce our Maple Blues Award nomination for “New Artist of the Year”.

Maple Blues Awards Logo

The Maple Blues Awards is Canada’s national blues awards program. Its goal is to promote blues music across Canada, and to recognize outstanding achievement in the field. 

Online voting started on November 1st, 2018 at 12:01 am Newfoundland Daylight Time. Canadian blues fans can vote online in the eligible categories until December 1st, at 11:59 pm Pacific Standard Time. Register at

Cootes Paradise, based in Dundas, Ontario (Hamilton), has been gaining momentum, great reviews, international airplay and charting, a growing fan base, is playing some great gigs to growing audiences (including Supercrawl), since their debut self-titled CD was released late last year (produced by Nick Blagona, who has worked with Monster Truck, Alexisonfire, The BeeGees, Tom Jones, Cat Stevens, and more).

Their song, “Kind of a Rain” has been picked up for a short film called “Little Oliver”, and will be screened at numerous film festivals in the coming year.

Founded by keyboard player Lily Sazz (Women’s Blues Revue, Rita Chiarelli), the band members include legendary Sue Leonard (k.d. Lang, Bruce Willis), Wayne Krawchuk (Tight Little Island), Ian Taylor, Amy Di Nino, and Mark Volkov. The sound that developed when these like-minded individuals joined forces, is a mix of contemporary roots/blues music that is resonating with a wide audience of blues, adult contemporary, and even country audiences.

The Maple Blues Awards will be handed out at a not-to-be-missed show at Toronto’s beautiful Koerner Hall on Monday, February 4th, 2019. Voting is open to anyone across Canada with a valid email address. Even if you are out of the country at the moment you are allowed to vote.

Here are the simple instructions:

Go to
Click on “Register to Vote”
Enter your first and last name, city and province, and your email address.
Click “Register”

You will receive a password by email right away.

Click on “Vote Online”.
Enter your email address and your assigned password.
Once you’ve made your selections, be sure to finish the last step of reviewing your choices, then click “Confirm”.

That’s all there is to it!

If you have any questions, you can check out the FAQ provided on the website.

For more information:    905-730-LILY (5459)

October 23, 2018


Cootes Paradise stretches their boundaries with a special acoustic performance

Acoustic Blend Café Concert Series
Melrose United Church
86 Homewood Ave, Hamilton, Ontario, L8P 2M4
November 10, 2018 8pm (Doors 7:30)
Tickets: Advance $14, Door $18 or 2 for $35
Call 416-565-9490

Friends and fans of local band, Cootes Paradise, may be surprised to have a chance to experience an acoustic performance by these stellar musicians.

The venue, inside Melrose United Church, just off trendy Locke Street, is quite beautiful. The civilized start time of 8pm, together with the comfy chairs, couches, loveseats, and tables, plus the included offerings of snacks served with fair trade coffee, tea, and more, make for a pleasant atmosphere and a wonderful evening of music and community.

The event kicks off with an open mic portion featuring 3 or 4 artists or groups, which is founder and organizer Jason Hale’s way of offering a chance for emerging talent to perform in front of a live audience. After their short sets, they can relax, watch, and learn from the more experienced artists as the evening continues.

The Acoustic Blend Café is celebrating 10 years as an organization, launched by Hales so that he could pursue his passion to provide an affordable venue for audiences to enjoy live music, and spotlight local talent outside of the context of a restaurant or bar. The series has now expanded into Milton as well as Hamilton.

The November 10th concert will feature Dundas-based six-member band, Cootes Paradise. This established group of veteran performers features mostly original blues/roots style music. Their self-titled CD, produced by the legendary Nick Blagona, has been receiving international airplay, and has been charting consistently on Roots Music Report (#11 in Canada all roots genres, #23 Contemporary Blues, internationally)

Founding member, Lily Sazz, put the gender-balanced ensemble together based on the personalities and gifts of the individuals, with the idea that if the people are compatible, talented, devoted, kind, and hard-working, the music will reflect the joy they experience when performing together. The style that emerged is diverse, like the people. With two featured lead vocalists (Sue Leonard and Wayne Krawchuk), and several songwriters contributing to the material, the music never bores.

“This will be a very special performance for us. We’ve never “unplugged” before, but we’re really looking forward to the challenge, and we’re confident that our songs will transcend the approach.”

For Media Inquiries, please contact Lily Sazz ( or 905-730-5459) or Jason Hales ( or 416-565-9490).

More info: or

High res photos:

Helpful tip: There is a parking lot that is easily accessible by heading east on Homewood, north (left) on Kent, and west (left again) on Stanley. Entrance off Stanley.

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Dec 1, 2017 HAMILTON, ONTARIO – Dundas, Ontario-based Cootes Paradise releases their self-titled CD.

CD Release Party:
Sunday, January 14th
Doors 7pm. Show 8pm.
The Corktown
175 Young Street, Hamilton, ON L8N 1V7 Canada

Tickets $15 Advance / $20 at the Door
Advanced Tickets available online. Visit for details.

Cootes Paradise will be celebrating by throwing a party at Hamilton’s historic landmark pub, The Corktown.

Produced by the legendary Nick Blagona (Cat Stevens, Deep Purple, Monster Truck, The Sheepdogs), the band’s warm personalities and talent shine through, and with world class fidelity. Recorded at the world-renowned Grant Avenue Studio, along with Psychotropic Studio, and cover art by Michael Wrycraft (Bruce Cockburn, Gordon Lightfoot, Blackie and the Rodeo Kings), the project was overseen by the best in the business.

Cootes Paradise has been the talk of the Hamilton area, ever since word got out that a super group of sorts was forming, and planning to record together. This collection of 12 songs (10 originals, 2 covers) is an excellent representation of the rootsy contemporary blues style that emanates from the golden vocal chords of Sue Leonard (k.d. lang and many more) and Wayne Krawchuk (well known for his songwriting and smooth, yet strong voice). Joined by Lily Sazz on keys (Rita Chiarelli, Women’s Blues Revue), Amy Di Nino on drums, Ian Taylor on bass, and Mark Volkov on flute, sax, and violin, the band stretches the boundaries of the genre, but never strays so far as to alienate.

High Resolution Photos Available:


For Media Inquiries, CDs, MP3s, contact Lily Sazz
905-730-LILY (5459)

The CD is available for sale online via CD Baby, iTunes, and more.
Local stores: Dr. Disc in Hamilton, Ellënoire in Dundas. 

Cootes Paradise

June 1st, 2017

JUNE 11, 2017, 3pm

Cootes Paradise band will be featured as part of the afternoon’s entertainment at A Day On The Bridge, a once in a lifetime Canada 150 event on Sunday, June 11th, 2017. A Day On The Bridge will raise funds to purchase and protect land that will become a part of the Cootes To Escarpment EcoPark System, one of the most biologically-rich areas of Canada. The McQuesten High Level Bridge (York Blvd Exit to Hamilton) will be closed to traffic for one, glorious, scenic day, and the public will be able to savour the vistas on the bridge, instead of driving over it wishing you could stop.

The band will be performing on a stage on the west side of the bridge, overlooking its namesake, Cootes Paradise. Cootes Paradise has been referred to as a “super group” with vocalist Sue Leonard (k.d. Lang, Leonard, Burns & Dell), keyboardist Lily Sazz (Rita Chiarelli & Sweet Loretta, Women’s Blues Revue, Groove Corporation), Wayne Krawchuk (guitar), Ian Taylor (bass), Amy Di Nino (drums), Mark Volkov (sax, flute, violin). Their roots-based bluesy style, with a mix of infectious originals peppered with a few choice covers, has been drawing the attention of music aficionados in the area. The band is set to record their debut CD in July at Grant Avenue Studio, with legendary Nick Blagona producing (Cat Stevens, Deep Purple, Tom Jones, Alexisonfire, Monster Truck). 

A Day On The Bridge will be a great opportunity for the community to gather and enjoy a picnic with family, or stroll around and take in some art, various performances, food trucks, etc. Cootes Paradise is expected to take the stage at 3 pm.

Link to high resolution photos of Cootes Paradise band:

For media inquiries, contact Lily Sazz
905-730-LILY (5459)

More Information:

JANUARY 31, 2017
Association Raising Money to Preserve Architectural Integrity of Dundas

“February Blues” Fundraiser, featuring Cootes Paradise (the band)
to support Dundas Preservation Association’s OMB Appeal

February 18th, 2017, 7:30 to 11:00pm
Shawn and Ed Brewing Co., (The Shed) – 65 Hatt Street, Dundas, ON L9H 7T6
Tickets $25: Call 905-912-0316

The Dundas Preservation Association needs your support to finance an OMB appeal regarding the proposal to build a 9-story residential development at 71 Main Street in Dundas, Ontario. They argue that this building, as proposed, is simply bad planning and totally incompatible with the Urban Hamilton Official Plan and Provincial Policy Statement (2014). The association’s mandate stipulates that any development should respect the surrounding built form and cultural landscape.

“This appeal is critical not only to the immediate neighbours, but also to the whole community. If we can show that the residents of Dundas will not be complacent with such affronts to our townscape, we can hope that developers will be more careful in the proposals they present. If we lose the appeal, it will be open season on any vacant land within our town”, said Jeanne Norris, a participant in the appeal.

“Our main focus is keeping the by-laws as they exist – not allowing builders or wealthy corporations to take advantage of our community. We are a proud historical town and want to keep the integrity of our community and landscape. We are home to the RBG and some of the oldest buildings in Hamilton, one of which is the Dundas Town Hall, which would be overshadowed by this monstrosity, not to mention that some very old trees will be destroyed”, according to Patti Peetz, one of the many concerned residents who live in the shadow of this development. Other concerns include parking issues and health risks from exhaust fumes from the underground garage.

The association has invited Dundas’ own Cootes Paradise (the band), to perform at “The Shed”, (Shawn and Ed Brewing Co.) at 65 Hatt Street for a fundraiser that will prove to be a fun and entertaining evening in a gorgeous and interesting venue. Cootes Paradise has been described as a “super group”. They form a collaboration of six musicians with rich and impressive backgrounds, and lots of Dundas history and roots. (High res photos available on media page)

Food will be available via India Village and Emilio’s Pizza, as well as wine and beer. Artwork by local artist Danuta Niton will be on display and for sale.

$25 admission includes 2 free drinks. Tickets are available by calling Peggy: 905-912-0316.

For Media Inquiries, please contact Jeanne Norris: 905-628-9282,

More info: and

Donations can also be made at any TD Bank, account number 0239-5237010 or

September 26, 2016

St. Mark’s United Church in Dundas presents a Sunday afternoon concert featuring Dundas’ own “Cootes Paradise” band.

 St. Mark’s United Church in Dundas (corner of Governor’s Road and Creighton), is presenting a Sunday afternoon concert in their sanctuary, featuring six-member Dundas-based musical group, Cootes Paradise. The live concert will take place at 2pm on October 23rd, 2016.

Cootes Paradise is a who’s who of musicians who have pooled their talents to form what has been referred to as a local “super group”. Specializing in a mix of roots, blues, and r’n’b style music, including some infectious original material, along with unique takes on carefully chosen cover tunes, expect to hear lots of Bonnie Raitt, Delbert McClinton, and even some B.B. King.

The 2 principle lead vocalists are Sue Leonard (who toured for years with k.d. lang among others), and Dundas native, guitarist Wayne Krawchuk (Sidestreet, Tight Little Island). Music therapist and Berklee Master’s student, Amy Di Nino, is just as comfortable rocking out on her drum kit with Cootes Paradise, as she is playing in the Guelph Symphony and conducting her choir, Grand River Voices. Mark Volkov, another Dundas native, adds violin, flute, and saxophone to the mix, while Ian Taylor (originally from Southampton, England), plays bass. Founding member and Dundas resident Lily Sazz plays keyboards, and enjoys her gigs with Cootes Paradise between her tours with Juno Award winning Rita Chiarelli, (Canada’s Goddess of the Blues), and performing with the Women’s Blues Revue at Massey Hall, the National Art Centre, etc.

Proceeds from the concert will contribute to funding the new roof at St. Mark’s. Fair trade items will be available. Tickets are $25 dollars at the door.

High resolution photos of Cootes Paradise are available at

Media Inquiries: Lily Sazz Tel: 905-730-LILY (5459)

St. Mark’s United Church
1 Lynndale Drive
Dundas, Ontario L9H 3L4

Cootes Paradise

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MAY 31ST, 2016

Spain’s “Smiling Jack Smith” Makes Ontario Debut
Performing with Cootes Paradise
July 15th, 2016, 8pm
Oddfellows Hall, 63 Main Street, Dundas, ON

Sue Leonard, of Cootes Paradise band, and Smiling Jack Smith have been “virtual” friends for at least 10 years. Despite both of them having lived in the Vancouver area for quite some time, they never actually met, although they had myriad mutual friends. Leonard heard about Smith shortly after moving from the Queen Charlotte Islands to Vancouver in 1980, and knew that he was working with a host of mutual musician friends on the local club scene. It seemed that everyone knew Jack Smith – but Sue. Well after all these years, the opportunity has finally arrived.

Leonard signed up to MySpace a decade or so ago, and she and Jack became fast musical friends because of their many common connections. They shared each other’s music, even unfinished pieces before they were recorded, offering each other feedback and encouragement. She still talks of one song in particular, “This Blue Before”, that she hopes to record one day, and describes as “stunning”.

Smith eventually relocated and lives with his family in Spain, working as a full time musician. A few weeks ago, he mentioned to Sue via one of their occasional Skype conversations, that he was planning a tour in Germany, followed by a few shows in Vancouver, including a reunion with fellow musicians he has not seen or played with in many years. The subject of coming to perform in Ontario came up, and the idea of joining forces with Cootes Paradise was born.

Sue Leonard, as both a friend and a fan, jumped at the chance to make this talk turn to walk, and proposed a double bill with Cootes Paradise, and also invited her friend and Leonard, Burns and Dell bandmate, Cindy Dell to join the fun. She and Sue will perform a few songs, as well as add sweet harmonies to Smith’s set, followed by a Cootes Paradise performance. It’s shaped up to be a special evening not to be missed in a funky and fun venue that reminds one of a cozy rec room with great sound and ambiance.

Cootes Paradise is a newly formed Dundas-based band that is already drawing crowds and piquing curiosity due to its impressive lineup of musicians.

For more information, see and

Con’t with bios below:


SMILING_JACK_SMITHSmiling Jack has been writing and singing his songs in a career that spans five decades and three continents…from New York City to Vancouver, from Florida to New Jersey, from Madrid to Australia, from London to Hamburg.

His music has changed and evolved with the times and the places he has seen and lived: folk songs with The Smith Brothers in New York (with lead guitar Stan Jay), folk-rock in Vancouver (with players like Joe Mock, Pat Coleman, Ed Patterson and Robbie King), country in Florida (with T.C. Carr on harmonica) and blues in Europe and Australia (with David Gwynn, Antonio Serrano and Jim Finn).

On street corners, at arts and craft fairs, in concert halls and bars, and more recently in house concerts (especially in Kiel, Germany) the audiences have been warm and responsive, giving Jack a place in their hearts and minds.

His recordings, ranging from the A Capella CD with Party Fever in Vancouver through This Blue Before (produced by Pat Coleman with an all star cast of Canadian musicians) to the acclaimed acoustic project Now That Truth Was Gone with David Gwynn, have been played all over the world.

Now That Truth Was Gone was named as one of the Top Ten Blues Records released in Europe in 2012 by the Underground Blues Network.

Jack has just released a new CD, Simple Pleasure, again working with David Gwynn. It is the logical successor to their last CD, an eclectic mix of many different blues styles and topics following along the path that led him to be called “Spain’s blues poet” by Vicente Zumel from La Hora del Blues.


Cootes Paradise is a collective of six musicians (see bios) who chose to play together based not only on their talents, but who they are as people. The business of music can be a cold and punishing enterprise, so forming a group comprising of kind, enthusiastic, collaborative individuals was the goal that founding member Lily Sazz had in mind when she began to recruit the musicians. The hope was that if these gifted individuals gelled personally, great music would follow. And she was right.

Cootes Paradise specializes in roots based music that is bluesy, funky, and filled with soul. Featuring lead vocals by the legendary Sue Leonard (k.d. lang, Bruce Willis, Bon Jovi), and Wayne Krawchuk (Sidestreet, Tight Little Island) supported by Mark Volkov (a triple threat, playing flute, sax, and violin), Lily Sazz (keyboards, vocals), Amy Di Nino (drums, vocals), and Ian Taylor (bass, vocals), the result is an infectious, groove-based sound with a mix of super cool covers and originals that easily stand up to the rest of the repertoire.

Expect to hear some interesting covers of songs by Bob Dylan, Bonnie Raitt, The Temptations, as well as Canadian artists like Jack de Keyzer, plus cool interpretations of well-known hits, along their own strong material.

The name Cootes Paradise comes from a local wildlife sanctuary, named after Captain Thomas Cootes. It was also the original name of the community that later became the town of Dundas, now part of Hamilton, Ontario, where the band is based.

For media inquiries, contact Lily Sazz
905-730-LILY (5459)


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