Friday, September 22, 2006

Live Review: Vashti Bunyan @ Lakeshore Theatre 9/11-9/12/06

Vashti Bunyan is delicate, magical, and enchanting. She could charm thousand-year-old oak trees in a forest to start whispering a melody. Playing with a six piece ensemble that included Helena-Espvall from Espers, Vashti filled the air with her songs and you could just tell they sounded exactly the way she wished them to. She thanked the other performers several times and expressed both her gratitude and shock that she would have the opportunity to bring her songs to an audience with such accomplished musicians playing with her. Instruments accompanying her included violin, guitar, cello, flute and more.

Vashti sang a collection of older material from 1970's Just Another Diamond Day and newer material from 2005’s Lookaftering. She also spoke quite a bit about her songs. She expressed how her newer songs were about her children while her older songs seemed to dwell on a journey of 700 miles to Scotland that she took on horseback with a man who broke her heart. It apparently took her two summers and a winter to make this journey and left a clear impression on her. She had such an intimate grace while she was speaking that made you feel like you could be listening to her speak in a small coffeehouse.

The most surprising thing about the set was how juxtaposed amongst each other the songs all took on a different feel. Being brought to life, it almost seemed as if they had been completely removed from the time element of it all. The songs just belonged everywhere in every time period, perhaps because in some respect they are very pure folk songs in what they achieve. It was a real joy to see and hear Vashti Bunyan and I do hope that more people increasingly see her worth. As in the case of some other unrecognized musicians of that genre, Sibylle Baier and Bridget St. John for example, Vashti Bunyan adds something vital to this world and it is enriching to listen to.

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