Ushering in haunting and beautiful songs, Vanessa Boyd remembers a compliment that struck to the core of her art: “A man in Nepal came up to me and said, your music is like a horror movie. It feels like spirits are coming at me from the stage when I play,” Boyd reminisces.
Her mix of adulterated electronic gospel and folk echoes with a variety of influences, although not intentionally the terror of a horror movie. Boyd chalks that strange compliment up to the struggle of communicating with English as a second language, as a more direct way of saying how her music struck her audiences.
From Kathmandu, Nepal, to Whitehorse, Yukon, Boyd is ready to gift any city with a gig.
A multi-talented and versatile artist, Boyd experiments with visual artistry, sound, voice and poetry. A successful musician, she has released two CDs, Hunger in 2007 and Unkempt Woman in 2004.
She is known for her spoken word, as well as her deconstructive, fresh and unusual music.
She wrapped up a tour in Nepal this past March, a journey she took on a whim after a promise to a friend from Nepal. Now she is preparing for her Northern exposure.
“The music I’m going to be playing in the Yukon hasn’t been recorded yet, so they are some of the first audiences that get to hear this new sound,” says Boyd.
The new sound she refers to is a veritable jambalaya of music, blending gospel processed with heavy electronic modulations. Think soul with reverberation, echoes, faders and delays.
Boyd sends me a sneak peek: “Rock and Roll” is definitely interesting. Vocals mix with electronica, light on instrumental but heavy on definition. There is a weight to her music, even when it seems airy.
A world traveller, Boyd’s diverse influences echo her years of living internationally: “I’ve lived in France, travelled throughout Europe, lived in Africa. Every time I visit a place, I collect some of their music and incorporate it into my art,” says Boyd.
That would explain her hajhuj, a “primitive banjo” from the Sahara that sounds like a rustic cello, making an appearance in her music. She added strings, electrified it and made it rock in a way it was probably never designed to do.
Boyd mentions she didn’t bring the hajhuj on her tour to Nepal, because the instrument is rare and fragile. Even her electric guitar, a hardy instrument, was damaged on her trip. Whitehorse, unfortunately, won’t be experiencing the hajhujeither, as the upcoming gig is electric guitar- and vocals-based, for instrument portability.
“I’ve attempted to write accessible, experimental music that draws on my southern gospel roots, but has progressive and open-minded content,” Boyd states.
Yukon audiences have the opportunity to attend two shows: Boyd will be visiting Watson Lake on Monday, June 7, at Mount Maichen Ski Chalet and then Whitehorse at Coasters Tuesday, June 8.
Check out Vanessa Boyd at www.vanessaboyd.com to listen to her music and view her upcoming tour dates.