Utopian Turtletop. Monsieur Croche's Bête Noire. Contact: turtletop [at] hotmail [dot] com

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

In the past 15 months I have posted on the great Canadian singer-composer-lyricist-bandleader-recordmaker-pianist Veda Hille four times, always briefly. Now comes Carl Wilson with an an outstanding piece on Veda. Saith Carl, sayething so much better than I can:

Veda Hille’s renown, 11 albums along since she began making songs in 1990, is decidedly diminutive relative to her talent. . . By dint of which she ought to be able to do her grocery shopping in her Vancouver neighbourhood borne on the shoulders of throngs of admirers, trailed by elephants and a brass band. [Ellipses Carl’s.]

I can’t say enough good things about Veda. Carl’s post points up Veda’s path-crossing with the Brechtian aspect of Tom Waits, and the differences are so startling. Unlike many people blessed with conventionally pretty voices, Veda knows how to sing -- how to make words mean more than they can otherwise mean through her mastery of tone and timbre and phrasing; obviously, Waits sings expressively and idiomatically too, but without the conventionally lovely sound. And unlike Waits, Veda doesn’t take Brecht as an invitation to elaborate, ironic, distanciating (and, if you’re me, distracting and annoying) persona construction. When I first heard Veda, I was reminded of Robin Holcomb, a singer-pianist with a similar voice but without the guts or quirks. But these comparisons are weak. Read Carl’s piece. Veda’s incomparable.

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Happy Independence Day. All people are created equal. Here’s to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
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