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Issa (Jane Siberry) concert - Mostly, it is...

Dec. 14th, 2007

09:14 pm - Issa (Jane Siberry) concert

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Right, I meant to post this Thursday night but was sle-e-e-py.

I went to see Issa (formerly Jane Siberry) in concert last night at Hugh's Room. Short description: It was an awe-inspiring experience. People in town, AFAIK, there are still seats for tonight's performance.


How to begin. Issa is an unusual performer. I think that I can add artist and person to that too. On stage she doesn't look like she's doing anything 'professionally', in the sense of being produced or polished, or even showy, and neither is she doing that kind of intimate and down home folksy thing. It is more like she's creating a kind of energy, making a room a strange kind of sacred space, but without being distant or removed. Her body language, her gestures, on another person would most likely make me feel bad for them in the you-look-like-a-fool-but-don't-seem-to-realize way, but, I don't know, eccentric fits for her.

As an artist she looks at the kinds of thing that one would expect in broad - pain, the world around us, love, desires - important things in life. In the particulars, she brings details in the familiar themes to the listeners' attention that perhaps we don't think about every day, even if we might encounter them at least that frequently. Having drawn our attention to them, she points out relationships among the little bits, literally, metaphorically or both, in ways that are enlightening, funny, startling and true.

I saw Issa last year at the same venue when Rock Plaza Central opened for her. She's been working on 33 songs which she wrote over 33 days in studio, one a day consecutively IIRC, for the past few years now. Since they're still being worked on, she had a fair bit of overlap between the two performances. Last year, they were amazing. This year, with the arrangements done and recorded, I had chills.

Her mother was in the audience this time, and when Issa threw the floor open for questions, (IIRC) she asked what regrets Issa might have or things that she would change about her work. The reply was that she regretted sampling and warping whale song for [I-can't-remember-which-song] because she'd taken another being's speech and changed the meaning. What might have been "Meet me off of the South-East coast of Greenland in two weeks." could now very well be "My flying saucer is full of eels."

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