Friday, January 8, 2021

Bumping into... Isla Craig

Bumping Into... is a series of mini-chats with a variety of peeps that you might run into in some of our local music communities. (There's a bit of an intro and my thoughts behind the series here.)

How are you? Where are you?

Some days good, grounded, clear and focused, others a weeping pile of human at the mercy the unknown. This has been a time of surrender. Palms open and up. I am but a hop, skip and a jump from the Don Valley / watershed, which has been a saving grace and potent reminder that nature finds its way and space amidst constriction. I've also really come into deep relationship with my wooden floor boards. Like, where did YOU come from?!...and thank you for holding me.

What have you been up to since March or so?

I work a full time job and a part time job and each of those I have maintained throughout the COVID era. So I've been working a lot. Grateful for this stability and also pretty tired. I feel a bit like a self cleaning oven. Walking a whole heap and man am I grateful to live next to a WILD LIFE corridor.

I like making lil low fi audio video collages, and made this one at the beginning of the COVID era. I think it's the best thing I've ever done, truth be told!

Have you found any new ways to do old things? How are you feeling about the shifts in how music is being made/shared/listened to?

My newest way of an old thing is a coffee hack I learned from some online surfers: brewing coffee with flax & coconut oil, spoonful of peanut butter and a touch of honey. Deeply nourishing. Also, Wim Hof method. Deep breathing and cold water submersion. Some of the best medicine I've ever encountered. Also in that vein, luckily in between the lockdown times, I've received Ilan Lev Method treatments from my good friend Sahara Morimoto. Working with movement and the potential spaces, no matter how slight they may be.

I miss playing with a band more than anything. I think about it, dream about it often.

I did get to sing with Victoria Cheong and Jennifer Castle for Jennifer's solstice show (online!) and it was so moving. I processed a lot the days following because it was so affecting to sing in close proximity, with those two who I care about very much. I also sang with a small version of the Kith n Kin choir, outdoors, in masks which was fun and also a bit like scream singing into the void (a mask really makes it difficult to hear or blend with others). This is, traditionally, a time of year we all get to sing together and it has become such an important part of my holiday season. So happy we could find a way to maintain the thread.

I've attended some live stream shows that have really lifted my heart and I know there is potential there, for sure. In moderation. I feel in the hands of artists, we could develop some beautiful immersive scapes to inspire and connect. But I also get techno-drained and just need to tune out as well, so I understand both sides.

Any works of art that have been a light for you in these times? Anything that's just been a good diversion?

No coward soul is mine
No trembler in the world's storm-troubled sphere
I see Heaven's glories shine
And Faith shines equal arming me from Fear

There is no room for Death
Nor atom that his might could render void
Since thou art Being and Breath
And what thou art may never be destroyed.

-Emily Bronte, as sung in "Hays Creek" (from the shape note tradition)

  • Tori Amos' audiobook, Resistance: A Songwriter's Story of Hope, Change and Courage - read by Tori herself. Incredibly inspiring and wise.
  • Brandy's B7
  • Nico's Chelsea Girl

How are you feeling about 2021?

I've been out walking, I don't do too much talking these days :)

Anything else we'd chat about if we bumped into each other?

Just to have time in company, perhaps outside the Tranzac show, would be so lovely. I think your presence across these years, and this very platform you are using to connect musicians to each other in this weird time, is a testament to your incredible capacity to show up and make people feel seen. Bless you Joe.

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