Let’s talk about pigeon holes.
It can be hard not to use categories to describe musical genres. Some categories are tight while others are quite broad. No one would accidently file, say, Diana Krall under “thrash metal.” At the opposite end of the scale is “world music.” There’s a pigeon hole large enough to fit a falcon or three. I’m returning from a sejour in the Caribbean where world music consists largely of bongos, maracas and boozy afternoons sizzling in the hot sun and sand.
World music also includes bands like Gypsophilia who offer a decidedly more refreshing international sound. Comprised of guitars, violin, trumpet, bass and key boards, their gypsy, klezmer, hot jazz fusion will transport listeners to a much cooler Eastern European climate. Ironically, Gypsophillia emerged from Canada’s East Coast. The seven-member troupe have honed their sound and garnered a reputation for their live shows where much mirth, mayhem and merriment ensue. To make things all the more interesting, DamnMag first encountered Gypsophilia at the Ottawa Jazz Festival!
We spoke to guitarist/percussionist, Ross Burns about Gypsophilia’s vision and raison-d’être in the Canadian context. The band’s fourth full-length album is slated for release in mid-May and they’ll be embarking on a coast-to-coast tour of Canada and the US in June.
Gypsophilia was initially borne from Django Reinhart’s gypsy-jazz, but over the past decade the group have spawned their own distinct “gypsophilian” sound. Ten years working, composing and touring together, this is likely one of the longest standing relationships in Canada’s music scene or anywhere. The line-up has been constant all that time with each member carrying their own musical baggage, from Brazilian, to Jamaican reggae to classical. During our chat, Ross took great pride in that they are a “democratic Band (with a capital B), not a collective of musicians supporting a leader.” He feels their combination of different visions have evolved and grown organically towards a more modern sound.
With such a diverse group of musicians, I couldn’t help but wonder whether the world’s current socio-political climate affects the music of Gypsophilia or its message. Ross was quick to point out that they are “committed to entertaining people in an atmosphere that sweeps them up and engages them. It’s about waking up, being open to what is happening right in front of you and the beauty and emotion and fun of it all. Ultimately, that is a message that everyone needs to feel in the face of any wider troubles.”
“Our music is more party than protest.”
The new album entitled Night Swimming was recorded at Joel Plaskett’s studio, New Scotland Yard, in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. Ross credits Joel, Thomas Stajer (engineer) and Josh Van Tassel (producer/mixing) as pivotal in capturing their more cohesive sonic maturity. Night Swimming is darker than their previous efforts. Ross explains that “it has a nighttime vibe and atmosphere with moments of swimmy psychedelic effects, vulnerability as well as powerful percussion-fuelled grooves.” “The album,” he continues, “starts with brighter tones but gets gradually darker as if the sun sets and night falls.” Fans can expect shades of mystery and darkness buoyed by the band’s signature excited energy, joy and fun. In Ross’s words, “Imagine plunging into dark water when you can’t see the bottom – it’s scary but exotic and spicy!”
Here’s the first song from Gypsophilia’s new album “Night Swimming”:
Find Gypsophilia online at: