Volume 94, Issue 92
Thursday, March 15, 2001
|ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
Elizabeth Anka crawls out of bed
Gazette File Photo
WHATCHA DOING? TRYING TO LOOK UP MY NOSE? Montreal's Clizabeth Anka gets out of bed just in time to stop a deranged nose picker.
By Chris Hodge
It's 1:30 in the afternoon on an unusually warm day in Montreal and singer-songwriter Elizabeth Anka is feeling a bit groggy.
"I'm just waking up," Anka says pleasantly as she recovers from an evening spent celebrating her recent birthday. "I don't quite have all my thoughts together yet... what was the question again?"
Having recovered from her brief lack of concentration, Anka continues where the conversation had paused her thoughts on popular music in the mainstream.
"The whole state of music is discouraging," she says, referring to the innumerable boy bands and Barbie doll wannabes that have infected popular music. "You really have to dig to find something good."
Supported by drummer Michael Langevin and bassist Mark Peetsma, Anka has been touring the independent music scene in Montreal now for a number of years. "We all support ourselves," she says, describing the atmosphere of the local independent scene and the loyalty amongst the scene's bands.
In a live atmosphere, improvisation plays a very important role in all of her performances. According to Anka, almost half of her shows are improvised. "I just let myself go, I really do," she claims. "We always just start by improvising. We just start with a chord, a note or a sound and go from there. I love that. It's the best part."
Anka's sound can be best described as an exorcism of sound and volume. Her voice can rise from a delicate whisper to roaring stream and back before she even reaches a song's chorus. Due to the intimate size of her band, she can also change a song's direction and tone at a whim.
"It's more about the feeling or the emotion or just something needing to come out," Anka says, describing her unique vocal style. "I don't really worry about concentrating on trying to make a melody."
Considering how unique each live performance is, one might think it would be reasonably difficult to capture the essence of her live show on tape. "Not at all," she says, adding she recently completed a self-titled recording. The EP consists of six songs including her own personal favorite, "Today," which was actually written and recorded in the same day.
"On the third day of recording, we were all in the studio and we were getting ready to mix, but all the equipment was out," Anka reveals. "I picked up a classical guitar and I just started playing that song. I just played it and we recorded it." Since its creation, "Today" has become very special to Anka, who admits she loses herself in it whenever she performs it.
As far as the future is concerned, Anka says she is currently focusing her energy entirely on her music. Having quit her day job, she now has more of an opportunity to work on new material and sounds. She is also looking forward to playing a few local shows in Montreal as soon as April, and is also planing on performing elsewhere in the country.
Judging by the sound of her voice and the lack of caffeine in her system, she's in no mood to start right away. After all, it's only two in the afternoon. The day is just starting.
Copyright © The Gazette 2000