Chris Velan : Solidago

CD [Cover Art for Chris Velan / Solidago] Your Price: $17.51
Availability: In Stock
Sell date: 4/2009
Label: CD Baby
Mfg's Catalog#: 5637516
CDC Part#: 1377972
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 Notes & Reviews
 
A classically trained guitar player from the age of nine, Chris Velan grew up listening to an eclectic mix of his dad's music: Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Willie Nelson, and Van Morrison, his sister's early 80's New Wave cassettes, and his uncle's extensive reggae vinyl collection. At thirteen he first picked up an electric guitar and quickly began playing by ear, memorizing all of his favorite guitar solos. By fourteen he formed his first band, The Preachers, with friends from school. While they played mostly rock covers, Chris began writing songs and experimenting with his own sound. At Middlebury College, he continued writing songs and formed The Arrival of Horatio, in which he sang, played lead guitar, and produced an EP, his first time in a recording studio. Velan's instant passion for recording would eventually become part of his live shows in the form of a loop pedal. After University, Velan traveled for a year, following his ears to New Zealand, Australia, India, Nepal and Indonesia. With a beater guitar strapped to his backpack, he rode camels across the Indian desert and hiked through the Himalayas collecting sounds and stories, and questioning his life's purpose. Seeing world poverty and inequality made a deep impression, and led him back to Montreal, where he formed the band Equalizer with his brothers in order to maintain sanity while working toward a law degree at McGill University. They played a hybrid of Roots, Reggae and Rock, blending Velan's compassionate worldview and childhood inspirations with the modern sounds of bands like the Police and The Samples. Despite label interest and a growing fan base, Velan made the difficult decision to leave Equalizer after graduation and continue his pursuit of law as a means to affect social change. Dressed in suits, Velan spent a year as an apprentice attorney at a Vancouver law firm while writing songs morning and night. 'I felt like I was two different people' he recalls, 'Tapping out songs at my desk at the office.' A call from two college friends presented what would be another life-changing decision. They had support from the United Nations, and wanted to make a documentary telling the story of a humanitarian crisis in West Africa through art and music. Equipped with only a video camera and a guitar, they toured refugee camps in the Republic of Guinea. Chris played concerts for the refugees, a mission of music. These simple shows evolved into all-day events incorporating children's dance troupes, skits and magic. They visited eight camps in a month while war raged in nearby Liberia. At a mud hut bar, they met a band of refugees who would become the subject of their documentary, and a lifelong inspiration. They called themselves The Refugee All Stars, and had also been touring camps performing to lift the spirits of fellow refugees. Each had stories of limbs lost, loved ones murdered, and other unfathomable horrors, and none had any doubt about what music meant to them. Chris describes meeting the All Stars as the first moment he knew that he was doing exactly what he was born to do. The film 'Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars' helped bring the All Stars home to Freetown, where Velan produced their first studio work, some of the first live instrument recordings there since the start of the war. With renewed inspiration and self-assurance, Velan returned to Montreal to record his own first solo album. A collection of songs from earlier chapters of his life, 'It's Not What You Think' is a mosaic of Velan's storytelling, world music sensibilities, and personal search for identity. The songs 'Getaway Van' and 'Open Shut Case' speak of a bottled desire to escape. 'Toenail Clipping Moon' tells a heartbreaking story of poverty and loss, with the thinnest sliver of hope. Velan toured regionally to promote the album's independent release in 2003 while finishing the All Stars documentary and writing new music. In 2005 Velan recorded his second album, 'Twitter Buzz Howl' over three summer months in a barn in the Quebec countryside. The themes and storytelling emphasis of the fi

 
 Tracks
 
Hard Way Learner
Wobbly Bones
Oldest Trick
Pauper in a Palace
Hunting Season
Go Easy
A Year Can Change a Lot
Out of Range
I'm In, Come In
House Upon the Hill
May Your Soul Get to Heaven
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