“Truly unique,” “beautiful,” and “singularly original” are a few words that could describe the music of Nelly Kate. This Saturday, at 7 p.m., you can decide for yourself how best to describe her by hearing her perform at The Winchester Book Gallery. Nelly has just released her new record, ISH ISH, inspired heavily by her experiences in Rwanda and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
She describes its unique title: “I liked to use it as a playful way of saying, ‘kind of.’ But two years ago, after I had been on assignments in Rwanda and Bosnia-Herzegovina, the songs that would eventually find their way onto this record were beginning to take shape. They were not about the parts of life that are ‘kind of’ anything. I was wrestling with the gap between the truths of genocide and ethnic cleansing and the glossy portrayals of such in the media. I was seeking to unveil a shroud of deception, it was rough and painful at times. It occurred to me that ISH ISH seemed a great title for this album because many of my songs attempt to strike a balance between these bright melodic structures and the darkest realities of life. As an album it has a lot of content that is so antithetical to the relative meaning of ‘-ish’ but it is attempting to commemorate the memory of people who have suffered and struggled.“
The record is the result of a very successful Kickstarter campaign, which ended up raising $1,000 over her goal to manufacture the vinyl records, sleeves, and a limited edition book filled with blind contour drawings and essays by people who have gotten to contribute to who she is musically today. The recordings of her songs are just as unique as everything else about Nelly. She recorded the entirety of it with an analog 4-track tape machine. She explains her choice to not produce the album digitally by saying, “There is a measure of commitment that is required in creating an album in this way because it is so difficult to ‘go back’ into the recordings and change things. This gives them an organic quality that is entirely honest and made it an ideal approach for me, especially with these particular songs.”
Her performance this Saturday at 7 p.m. is one not to be missed, so mark this on your schedule! You can learn more about Nelly Kate at http://nellykate.net.
Story by Doug Stanford
Photos contributed by Nelly Kate