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- Posted on Jun 19th 2010 10:30AM by Dave Jaffer
Behind Nielsen, who played acoustic guitar and ukulele (and even a kazoo!) were 7 musicians, and the breakdown of what they played is staggering to even consider.
There were three electric guitarists, one of whom also played lap steel, and one of whom also played drums and bass. The drummer also played guitar; the bassist also played drums; the French horn player dabbled in trumpet, as did the banjo player, who also sang, played the Korg, and in an interesting twist, played the musical saw with what looked to be a cello bow.
Suddenly, watching Zeus, who co-handle duties with the guitar, bass and keyboard doesn't seem so impressive.
Creating atmospheric, emotional, full soundscapes behind Nielsen all the way through her set, the Deer Children may well never exist again in the incarnation we saw last night.
"Basically the way we come up with all these people is that during the recording, when we were recording the songs, we knew a lot of people from traveling," Nielsen told Spinner. "[We've] recorded all over the place: In Bristol, with John Parish... we have some friends from New York, and San Francisco, and Belgium, and Greenland and Denmark. Everything's kind of like that the whole time.
"When we're touring, we just basically draw on our friends from all the different parts and we make up a band where we are, practice for five, six days and basically the shows are very different every time because it's very different people playing."
The band, yesterday, was comprised of Belgians and Montrealers, providing a stark contrast to Nielsen, probably the only musician you're going to meet from Nuuk, Greenland. She held her own, though, with a bevy of songs that, while occasionally silly (a song, 'Coffee Boy,' was for her boyfriend, who likes coffee in the morning, and the entire first verse is almost literally that) were mostly well-constructed tales of human experience and, sometimes, woe.
Her last song, sung in Greenlandic, was a high point. Though she's fluent in English, having studied in Canada, England, and at an international school in Norway, there's no getting around how comfortable her voice sounded gliding over lyrics in her mother tongue. But don't get used to the idea that you're going to be hearing more and more Greenlandic songs, like it's going to become a new fad.
"Greenland is big geographically but the population is tiny," says Nielsen. "We're 56, 000 people all in all, so indie music's not really happening up there at all. This is completely new for people up there."