Well, this summer has been quite eventful, especially in the recording sector. This is about 5 blog posts condensed into one, oh my goodness.
In July, both New Hermitage and Bonsai had the opportunity to perform amongst the rocks and ferns in the dreamy greenhouse at Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia. It was one of the most magical places I’ve ever had the opportunity to play, most definitely. Some of the sounds shared at the concert by Bonsai, my cello/percussion duo project with the ever-luminous Ken Shorley, are now available for listening online. We’ve released a set of demos representing some of the musical exploration through traditional tunes and electronic layering that we experienced this summer. A few tracks are live acoustic duo pieces from the greenhouse, and a few others involve multi-track looping. You can check our demos out here: https://soundcloud.com/duobonsai .
Also at the greenhouse, New Hermitage recorded a concert video, which will be released this fall. NH has some exciting plans for the coming year… among our summer activity was an afternoon spent at Codapop studios in Halifax, recording an EP that will be released in January 2018. My dream for New Hermitage is for us to play at all of the most cool + bizarre venues on this Earth, and if we live long enough, maybe the moon also. Soon we’ll have our own website, so that’s a start.
Another July day, Norm Adams and I ventured out for a forested session of cello improvising with birds and wind near the Frog Pond, inspired by the daunting global challenges we face as humans interacting with our delicate and rapidly changing environment. As an artist, I often feel confused about the relevance of art in our society and the ways in which people interact with creativity. This project with Norm is as much about exploring questions about humanity as it is about sitting down to play the cello. Some of the pieces we made in the woods this summer are here: https://soundcloud.com/india-yeshe/sets/3poissons .
Continuing along the theme of environmental music— At the end of July, Liam Elliot, a Canadian composer living in England, and I went on a three day sound ecology expedition around Nova Scotia. We travelled around to various locales to collect environmental sounds from the rocks, trees, water, selves. Bringing instruments and sound makers with us, we spent time improvising at each spot. Among the locations we visited were Blomidon, Gaspereau River, Peggy’s Cove, and York Redoubt. The highlight for me was our visit to Hayes Cave near Maitland, NS. Across a few ATV trails, shallow river, protruding mammoth gypsum cliff from the forest, there is crumbly trail to a human sized hole that leads to a very large cavern. The cave twists on quite far, with slick mud rocks ascending to a barely person-sized hole at the cliffside on the other end. We lowered the cheap rental cello into this moist dark zone and I got to play in the cave. It felt very still in there, ghostly in a friendly way. I could see my breath. I played until my hands got cold. Liam is working on creating a sonic collage EP out of all of the material we gathered, which I’m curious to hear. You can see a few photos and read Liam’s blog post about the project here: https://www.liamelliotmusic.com/single-post/2017/08/09/Recording-Project
And now, I have fully transplanted to Montréal where I will be studying cello with Matt Haimovitz in the master’s program at McGill. This is a good opportunity to thank the Nova Scotia Talent Trust for supporting me again this year. (Thank you NSTT!) In the coming weeks I’ll be sharing news of The Swallowtails EP that fiddler Anna Wedlock and I recorded together, and also of my very own cello album(!), that is currently being mixed by Ken Shorley.
Thanks for reading my musical news broadcast.
Glad September tidings to you!