This July, Diyet and the Love Soldiers released a video project to accompany their song, “Brave Face.” The track was the third single and opener from the multi-stylistic group’s recent studio album, 2018’s Diyet and the Love Soldiers. The album had already received recent accolades including winning the Canadian Folk Music Award for Indigenous Songwriter of the Year and landing the band nominations for the Indigenous Music Award for Folk Album of the Year and the Western Canadian Music Awards for Indigenous Artist of the Year.
Though Diyet and the Love Soldiers had their year’s touring plans scrapped, like many other bands and artists, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the changes that have come with it, singer, bassist and band leader Diyet van Lieshout says it’s as important as ever for artists to continue creating.
“Music and art is what sustains the enduring human spirit when we are facing difficult challenges,” she said. “When our fears begin to subside, we will see a surge in new music, art and words. It will be exciting and I’m looking forward to it.”
Diyet and the Love Soldiers is rounded off by van Lieshout’s husband and long-time collaborator Robert van Lieshout, who plays acoustic guitar, drums and percussion, and Juno award-winning producer Bob Hamilton on electric guitar, pedal steel guitar and mandolin. The group had been exploring ideas for a music video to complement and capture the essence of “Brave Face” when Robert had the idea to create a compilation of close-ups of people’s faces. The band members liked the idea and enlisted the help of well-known local photographer and visual storyteller Allistair Maitland.
From there, [Maitland’s] creative mind took over and created a stunning montage of living portraits, according to the frontwoman.
The simple yet powerful video project shows faces of people from many different walks of life, of different ages, ethnicities and backgrounds. Van Lieshout’s own background is an important part of her artistic presence, as her Southern Tutchone, Tlingit, Japanese and Scottish heritage all hold sources of inspiration for her when it comes to creating music and telling stories.
“The human face can tell you an entire story in a few seconds. That connection is an undeniable force,” van Lieshout said in a press release for the video. “The lyrics in ‘Brave Face’ acknowledge my own feelings around loss and trauma, but serve as a reminder that joy is literally right in front of us too. I wanted to extend that to others who were hurting. You aren’t alone.”
While van Lieshout says her band hopes to be able to get back out on the road to tour and perform again by the end of the year, or at least early on in 2021, they refuse to sit idly until then, and hope to record some new music in the meantime. While their 2018 record was the first release under the Diyet and the Love Soldiers moniker, van Lieshout had previously released two other albums, 2010’s The Breaking Point and 2013’s When You Were King, simply under the name Diyet. “Brave Face” was preceded by two other singles, titled “We’re Still Here” and “Two Little Birds.” For van Lieshout, music is more than just a career. Her creativity shapes everything she does. Her life is defined by her art.
“I’d say I’ve always been looking at life from a creative lens,” she said. “I have so many influences that are musical and non-musical and they continue to shape and inspire me to sing.”
The music video for “Brave Face” is available on YouTube, on Diyet and the Love Soldiers’ channel.