Boomkat Product Review:
Haunting, enlightening, spellbinding; ‘Bush Lady’ is the definitive musical opus by Alanis Obomsawin. A member of the Abenaki Nation and one of Canada’s most esteemed and decorated documentary filmmakers, Alanis recorded ‘Bush Lady’ for CBC, Canada’s national broadcaster, in 1985, but was unhappy with the lead song, ‘Bush Lady’. She re-recorded the song and self-released it as part of new edition, which the marvellous Constellation have now picked up for this reissue, some 33 tours later
Combining her knowledge of traditional Abenaki songs, learnt in her home community of Odanak, with lyrics in french and english, and more modernist arrangements drawing from jazz and classical, Bush Lady paints an engrossing and unforgettable portrait of the venerable singer, songwriter, and storyteller which has somehow managed to evade the attentions of reissuers until now.
The 2-part, 13 minute long opener Bush Lady, Pt.1 + II make a transfixing introduction with Alanis’ mix of traditional and modern vocals dancing free over a tumpin’ drum and expanded with searching fiddle that beautifully tails off with her vocals in the 2nd part. Meanwhile, Theo, Pt. I + II find Alanis singing/speaking in french over a central, steady drum motif joined by the kind of lush woodwind you might expect from a mid ‘80s CBC release (think BoC feels), while Odana reserves the album’s lushest arrangement till last, with Alanis in chanson mode against a fittingly plush, almost filmic backdrop of strings and wind, and Of the Earth and of the Sea remains a timelessly universal message.
We wager some ears are about to fall madly in love with this album…