Sunday, July 31, 11 a.m. | Pride Festival, Sunset Beach
The parallel wouldn’t go away.
Norine Braun is aboriginal. Gone To The Spirits was aboriginal.
Braun is lesbian. Gone To The Spirits was a transgender.
Braun is a songwriter, a pursuit sometimes regarded as shamanistic. Mysterious.
Gone To The Spirits was a shaman. Her story is a mystery.
The parallel between Braun’s life and Gone To The Spirits was obvious. The story of Gone To The Spirits had to be told in song. Braun, a songwriter, was the person to do it.
So, for her 10th album, Braun went back to her producer, Adam Popowitz, and made Gone To The Spirits. It’s her best album, incorporating rock, blues, latin, ambience and aboriginal song lore. If it rings true, though, it’s because it tells Braun’s story.
Gone To The Spirits was born in the early 19th century near Creston and Cranbrook as One-Standing-Lodge-Pole-Woman, living her life as a warrior, courier and guide. She was large enough to pass herself off as a man, married a woman, renamed him/herself Sitting-In-The-Water-Grizzly, was exposed as a woman, led battles and magical rites and died a mystic. Could be she/he was a hermaphrodite.
Gone To The Spirits shows up in the journals of fur trader, explorer and surveyor David Thompson. Reading those, 20 years ago, is how Braun came to know Gone To The Spirits.
“It certainly was challenging,” Braun allows. “But because her story was with me so long, it just flowed.
“I struggled with the transgender. Was she a lesbian? How was she transgendered? She was accepted as a man.
“She declared herself a prophet. For me, she was spiritual and I’m a spiritual person.
She related to Gone To The Spirit’s story.
“I think completely,” Braun admits. “I came out in the ’90s. I was a lesbian.”
Braun had submitted the album idea to the Canada Council five years ago and was rejected. She rewrote her application, read more of Thompson’s journals and travelled to Creston and Cranbrook to do research. She resubmitted and this time was awarded an arts grant.
“It wasn’t the time,” she says of her first attempt. “But I thought it was a good story. I’m glad I didn’t give up.”
Although Braun is gay and aboriginal, she relies on neither community to support her. She gigs solo, duo, trio or with a band. Her first album was electro-pop, but there also has been rootsy folk. Gone To The Spirits embraces all those elements, helped by Popowitz’s thoughtful arrangements.
“I’ve never written anything with this much depth,” she explains.
“I feel like I’m a songwriter first. I didn’t want to restrict myself to one genre. I dunno; I’m a chameleon, I guess.”
I hope you have been having a great summer so far! Summer is the busiest season for musicians. I have lots of gigs to let you know about, an interview with Patrick Hickey Jr. on Review Fix and some reviews.
“GONE TO THE SPIRITS Talks" The interview on my writing process.
Norine Braun is an artist from Vancouver who has recently released her 10th (yes, 10th) album, Gone to the Spirits. The amazing part about this album is that the entire concept is based around warrior woman, courier, and guide Ktunaxa, who lived in the early 19th century. If after that description, you’re thinking that you’re about to hear something very powerful and filled with higher meaning than you’d ever imagined, I’d have to say that you’re right. - Kristy Linkous Indebandguru
Verdict overall is a solidly positive opinion of Brauns ambition and music... it seems like Norine is making an entire style of music I've never experienced before and that is a good thing isn't it. - Jer at Sleeping bag Studios
The track Bird With A Song to SIng is charting on the jazz charts at CFUV in Victoria BC too!
Festival Lawn Pier Park New Westminste6 6:30 PM TO 8:30 PM Alice and Norine Free!
What better way to spend a summer’s evening than sprawled in the park listening to live music?
JULY 24, 2016
Town Centre Park Coquitlam 3:30 TO 4:15 Alice and Norine play a 45 minute set at the Bisker Stage. FREE! JULY 31 Sunday 11 am SUNSET BEACH FESTIVAL Main stage at Vancouver Pride this year! The electrifying Huggybear Leonard on blues harp, queen of the trill Alice Fraser on keys, amazing Bill Waldron on drums (Bill was in my first band NB and the mood swings our first time playing together in years can't wait woo hoo!) ultra talented Sam Shoicet on bass our first time together playing too and I will be singing and playing guitar. FREE
Thank you so very much for reading, istening and supporting my independent music. Your love and support is cherished!!
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