Wednesday 20 January 2016

britta wolfert

Sam Decter>What musical influences do you feel have been strongest upon your own song writing?

Britta Wolfert> Early heroes were, of course, Joni Mitchell, Joan Baez, 
Carole King, Cat Stevens, Gordon Lightfoot, James Taylor, & kin ~ 
and later of course various jazz artists, 
although I started working on my own jazz tunes only fairly recently.

 Daily observations, conversation, people and landscapes morph into word and tune, 
I am a 'radio rat', soaking up music and talk as we live fairly remote.

SD> When and why did you begin performing and creating music?

BW> Singing came before talking, apparently.. Written stories,

colourfully illustrated 'books' made of stapled or glued together pieces of paper, 
also funny little poems and songs were created soon as I was able to write. 
Writing, singing, drawing has always made me happy.

In my early teens I bought a cheap guitar and learned to play folk songs heard on the radio, 

sang around camp fires when feeling brave. Always been rather shy. 
Later I worked on and played more songs, 
hung out and listened a lot in folk and jazz clubs around Hamburg. 
Once enough tunes accumulated, I made myself play solo in folk clubs, 
sometimes duo or with a band of friends. 
Passion to perform music has always been present,
 but sadly also the ever present apprehension.

SD> What are your favourite things about the Algoma music scene? 
How do the scenes in Searchmont and Sault Ste Marie interact?

BW> When musicians include and support one another in a comfortable setting,  

everyone can relax and it brings out new ideas and inspiration, 
creates musical community and benefits everyone. 
It sets an atmosphere and makes people want to come back ~ or not. 
Musicians residing in rural north and east of the Sault, often call jams. 
It’s fun to hang out, playing music til dawn sometimes. 
Distances can be a bit of a challenge for out-of-town musicians.
Late night drives home are not a pleasant prospect, especially in winter.
Searchmont Music Festival was an enthusiastic 4 year effort with great people on board, 

aiming to bring both city and country folk out 
to discover Searchmont’s breathtaking natural setting 
and to bring music, art, community and positivity into the landscape. 
It was an incredible love fest with astonishing music while it lasted
...seemingly a best ­kept­ secret. 
Sadly funding and also Searchmont and SSM interest lacked.

SD> . How and when did your groups the Wabos Warblers 

and the Moon Dazz band come together?

BW> A few years ago, Jeff Hinich and myself 

got together with Mister Tahti 
and we combined original and traditional folk tunes, 
much experimental fun.
All of us have close connections to historic Finnish farming community Wabos, 

thus we created the Wabos Warblers on vocals, accordion, banjo & guitar. 
MoonDazz is the long standing band dream, 

with the vision to perform original and jazz related tunes. 
MoonDazz shows have been rare thus far, 
 but it's always enjoyable, challenging and an honour 

working with supportive local musicians.
 Recent songs written with Toronto composer/pianist Doug Wilde 

are definitely leading in a jazz direction. 
A future album must be jazz, or perhaps parallel recording with another Moonstone like album, as I am always working on new song ideas.
 All MoonDazz material.

Where can we hear your music online?

Here you can hear the tracks, also buy the album 

or individual tracks right from the site if you so choose. 
Last spring I decided to create the present website, 
because frustration about having to rely on others
to make changes on the website finally came to a boil. 
So I decided to sign on with a website building company. 
A huge leap for me, it’s been a great growing experience... 
I prefer keeping technical aspects simple.

 There is a video clip for the title song ‘Moonstone’ on You Tube:

 A simple setting, perfect for a first video idea. 
Video contemplations for ‘Mabel’ and ‘Every Little Moment’ are progressing, 
I am looking to collaborate on ideas.

SD> Tell me about your life in Europe and in Canada.

BW: Europe. Sure, my growing up in the old country has definitely shaped me. 

Nobody runs away from their childhood and upbringing. 
Sooner or later old issues come back full circle to haunt you. 
My Parents were children and young adults during WWll, 

Grandparents endured (both world wars). 
They did their best to give us a decent upbringing in post war Germany, 
but they suffered greatly from the scale of their own upbringing. 
I thank them for their great efforts. When looking back though, 
there was lots of structure, restrictions, sadness, quiet and guilt.... 
Only now am I beginning to understand some whys and hows, 
reflected by conversations with hometown friends 
who are going through similar epiphanies.

The fear has to go.

Coming to Canada age 19 was the best thing that ever happened to me.
I spent a year living with a family of fibreglass canoe builders, 

pioneers in the canoe guiding industry. Structure here too, 
but also whiffs of freedom mixed with discipline,
 endurance and responsibility while partaking in several 18 day canoe trips 
on Lake Huron's North Channel that summer. 
That's where I met Jeff.
Both of us creative spirits, 

we settled in Wabos together, a few years later.
Jeff and I built a house there and started 

'from scratch' 
a traditional wood production business, B&B and later a Lodge. 
The children were born and raised into these enterprises and the back country setting, 
shaping our family life by exposure to hard work, close to nature and far from the city. 
Simplicity, music, good friends, customers, tourists and yes... tough times.
Sometimes I can't believe what we both have packed into life thus far!

SD> How do Europe and Canada resemble or differ?

BW> Canada has provided me with the ability to unfold, to create.
 To choose your way to live if you dare to venture out 
and take a chance building your dream. To create your future in a non conventional way. 
You can do that.
 The Old Country can be a complicated place, 

often with focus on competition in daily life. 
There are often restrictions and judgements holding people back, 
on the other hand there is that pressure to succeed 
and to get ahead of everyone’s weird.
 Following 6 months in Germany to assist my aging parents, 

I am pleasantly surprised and elated though, 
noticing new and positive changes since leaving for Canada years ago. 

SD> Do you feel you gain a unique perspective from the places you've lived?

BW> I don't look at it as 'gain'. 

Every day provides chances to try something new, 
to break out of the comfort zones to help understand the world a little better.
People must have a chance to leave their birth place, at least temporarily. 

We learn so much about ourselves and others. 
Travel, work and see what's going on elsewhere in the world. 
It helps make the world a more tolerant place, 
opens heart and soul and helps understand and appreciate people, 
no matter where they come from, 
were born 
or what they do artistically, 
or who they are.
It's good and important for all of us to walk in the shoes of our old, 

wise people; immigrants and refugees.
 After all, I'm an immigrant myself. 

SD> What do you feel you got out of your recent jazz vocal training?

BW> I have to give you the long story!
At the Jazz in July week long workshop, 

students gain intense musical immersion, 
reaching personal goals, working with other jazz oriented musicians 
of various ages and skills from all over the world. 
What an amazing opportunity!

In the spring of 2013 I had the good fortune to meet 

and hear jazz vocalist legend Sheila Jordan in concert, 
and to participate in Sheila's vocalist workshop the following day. 
It was a life changing and inspiring experience. 
Restless in my ongoing quest for more jazz knowledge, 
I found out last minute that Sheila Jordan was to teach 
the 'Jazz in July' vocal workshop with Cathy Jensen­ Hole 
in Amherst Massachusetts.
    Parallel (to) instrumentalist workshops for piano, guitar, 
horn section, bass, drums, big band, guided by regarded music professionals. 
We all learned from and and performed with one another. 
I feel lots of positivity from students and staff, 
who encourage one another.

SD> How was the experience of recording your last album? 

Who did you work with to produce it?

BW> First and foremost, Moonstone producer Rusty McCarthy 

needed to know whether the album was to become a basic work 
with mainly vocals and guitar, 
or the vision of a full­ out album with multi musicians, 
bells and whistles. I did opt for the latter. 
Recording Moonstone was an absolute mix of determination, 
fear, drive, frustration, patience, doubt, trust and assertion sometimes, 
as I really did not want anything to come in between the vision and making of this album.
There was no doubt for me that Rusty McCarthy would be the producer. 

I knew he would have the ability and intuition to listen into my 
(rather unconventional) music 
and understand what I wanted and needed to create.

 I would like to add that McCarthy won the ''Best Engineer Award' 

during the 2015 'Northern Ontario Music and Film in Motion' Awards 
May 30th for 'Moonstone'. Truly an honour.

1 comment:

  1. Britta & Sam, thank you for the profound conversation---
    Britta, you're a musical jewel & treasured friend