As a guitar player I enjoy a certain freedom with my instrument. I can play classical music on it or modern rock without anyone telling me something like, “That’s not the kind of music you should play on a guitar.” I can plug it into all manner of bewildering electronic devices to alter its sound beyond recognition, rarely do I have any guilt about the purity of the instrument and never have I caught flack for it from a listener. In my life I’ve noticed that people who play other instruments, mostly ones with deep classical roots, often don’t have it so easy when they decide to fiddle with the limitations of their instruments traditional sound.
This week one such fiddler (pun intended) will be plying her trade at a variety of venues on the coast. Aisha Belle, a sometimes resident of Tofino is more than capable of using her violin in a traditional way. She’s demonstrated that recently by playing gigs with Winnipeg based touring act Flat City
Folk. Belle has also been heard sitting in with local groups playing jazz, bluegrass, country, folk and pop tunes without missing a beat. Her roots in traditional violin and fiddle music are deep but it seems Aisha Belle is just as interested in growing out her branches as well.
When performing solo Belle employs a high-tech digital looping pedal to create musical landscapes that are difficult to describe. Some of it is reminiscent of the music of Enya or Loreena Mckennitt. Sometimes throbbing and entrancing it’s a combination of percussive knocking on the instrument with her hand and the melodic lines we more readily associate with violin music. Add vocals and an occasional bit of guitar for a final product that’s quite unlike the violin music the Suzuki method prepares you for.
This week Aisha Belle will be accompanied by local songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Candace Dawne Bastien at The Wickaninnish Inn’s Driftwood CafÃ© in Tofino Thursday night starting at 6:30, The Blackberry Cove Marketplace in Ucluelet Friday night at 8 pm, The Tofino Village Green Market Saturday at noon. Lastly, Sunday evening they will be part of the entertainment at The Tofino Lantern Festival along with local blue-grass and old-timey gals; The Poor Pistols. If you miss all of these shows don’t blame me.
Geoff Johnson is the Westerly News advertising representative.
To reach him, call 250-266-2400.