“I want singers to dig deep into their potential, to strive to be the greatest musicians they can be, to sing with integrity, unapologetically into the world”
Those who saw the Shaolin Afronauts last year shouldn’t expect the sequel to be just a repeat of the original. “We didn’t want to repeat anything that we had used; we wanted this to be a completely new experience for the listener”, says Ross McHenry. “This time, we’ve actually written a lot more new material; we’re working towards a new album so it was a bit of an opportunity to ‘try some new material”.
“There is undeniably an underrepresentation of women across all aspects of the music industry. You can’t be what you can’t see.”
“I wanted to surround myself with musicians that made me want to play. I would have been happy just to sit back listen to them play together in that setting. Apart from how easy I find it to make music with them, they all have strong personal voices and I wanted them to put their own mark on my tunes, which they did”.
“Everything I write has an element of jazz in it. It’s a flavour, it’s spice, it’s warmth, it’s colour that no other music can give. Jazz is probably what I’ll still be able to do if I ever lose some of my other faculties.”
“This is a very gentle album were releasing and its a gentle sounding ensemble. I dont believe I would have been writing this kind of music, or certainly an albums worth and more of this kind of music, if it hadnt have been for having kids. Partly it came about from sheer tiredness.”
We all composed three tunes each for the album, having the other members in mind. There are a lot of different moods because we have different compositional styles. Maddie writes a lot of quirky, frantic compositions, still heavily rhythmically driven, with lots of space for free improvisation and Isaac would write more traditional jazz tunes with beautiful melodies. I care so much about rhythm and keeping time and groove, that in my compositions theres usually a lot of business in rhythmic patterns and ideas with very simple melodies.
“The fact that I’m interested in his music should come as no surprise, as he is a truly great songwriter, and most jazz musicians love great songs. The only difference between Dylan and say Jerome Kern is the musical and lyrical structure of Dylans work, which tends to narrative and abstraction, often in strophic form. But there are plenty of examples of more lyrical songs as well.” ‘Just Like a Woman’, ‘Lay, Lady Lay’, ‘Forever Young’, ‘Don’t Think Twice’, ‘It’s all over now, baby blue’…the list goes on and on.
To be Canadian is to be a mix of cultures from around the globe, and thats exactly what our jazz music is. For me, at least.
“As artists we need to use our gifts to make people think, to make people feel, to make people aware, to make people accountable, to invoke change. I wish to leave my imprint on this world and I wish it to have made a difference.”