Indigo Poirier’s Musical Diversity on Full Display This Month

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Fredericton musician Indigo Poirier continues to explore new collaborations with two new works debuting this month.

Matt Carter

Just a few weeks ago, Fredericton-based electronic musician Indigo Poirier was named Music NB’s Innovator of the Year. This inaugural award included as part of MNB’s annual gala is meant to recognize an artist, industry professional or organization that is “pushing the envelope, either creatively or on the business side.” Poirier proved the perfect fit, and this month she will debut two fine examples of her innovative approach to creating music as Wangled Teb with performances in Fredericton and Halifax.

The first takes place this Friday at UNB’s Memorial Hall in Fredericton where Poirier will join UNB’s musician in residence Nadia Franavilla and cellist Emily Kennedy for the debut performance of a new piece composed for a recent recording session.

“I wrote parts for a string quartet for my upcoming album and recorded them with the Kalaya String Quartet,” said Poirier.  “This was a natural extension of my explorations with writing for physical instruments. When I started that project I honestly had no idea what I was doing and I was low-key terrified, but the members of the quartet were all really supportive and I’m a lot more confident now.”

Cellist Emily Kennedy is a member of the Kalaya String Quartet, a group based between Ontario and the east coast.

“It’s been fun watching Indigo grow as a composer,” said Kennedy, who has previously collaborated with Poirier on a number of projects. “Earlier this year the Kalaya Quartet recorded the string parts on her upcoming Air EP. The piece she wrote for Nadia and I takes it a step further. It’ll be fun to play it live.”

This concert will also feature an improvisational set with Francavilla and the electronic improv trio Terre Wa, of which both Poirier and Kennedy are members.

This performance is one of three performances included in Music UNB’s Contemporary Music Festival which runs Nov. 15-18.

Dalhousie Wind Ensemble. Photo: Indigo Poirier

Poirier has also taken her music outside of the province for a new collaboration with the Dalhousie Wind Ensemble. This project will make its debut with a show in Halifax at the St. Andrews Church (6036 Coburg Rd) on November 28.

“I’m super thrilled to be a part of this performance,” said Poirier. “Our process is going to be really different from the concert on the fifteenth. I didn’t actually write music for the ensemble- they have a few pieces already learned and we’re essentially going to be chopping them up- 50 bars from Shostakovich here, 40 bars from Bach there- with me adding live drum machine and synth to the ensemble and helping to transition between pieces.

“It’s gonna be a dope and original mix of highbrow and lowbrow, I think. I’ve never heard a Super Nintendo sample of somebody burping pitched down, drenched in reverb, and used as a backing track to a wind ensemble before,” she said.

Dalhousie Wind Ensemble conductor Jacob Caines is excited about the project as a means of “decolonizing” some of classical music’s best known works.

“Any arts institution has a lot of dust to blow off and a lot of rethinking that needs to take place,” he said. “We’re programming some amazing music. Standards. Works that are important and influential. But, they have been played thousands of times in the same context. It’s time to decolonize them. Queer them. Break them down to their constituent parts. Reimagine Holst through an othered lens. I truly believe that classical music is far from dead. However, if we don’t reimagine it and continue to produce it in an antiquated and thoughtless way, it will be.”

Indigo Poirier released her first album as Wangled Teb in 2015 and released her fifth album earlier this year. She has performed at POP Montreal, Sled Island, Festival 506, Quality Block Party, and THIRD Shift.

She was awarded MusicNB’s Electronic Artist of the Year award in 2018 and their Innovator of the Year award in 2019.

Upcoming Performances:

Nov. 15 | Strings and Wires | Memorial Hall, UNB | 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 28 | Dalhousie Wind Ensemble | St. Andrews Church | Halifax, NS | 12:30 p.m.

 

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