The Jessica Stuart Few plays the Summer Street Festival in Grizzly Plaza this Saturday

A few words with Jessica Stuart

The Jessica Stuart Few perform at Grizzly Plaza as part of the Summer Street Festival on Saturday, July 12.

Toronto-based indie band The Jessica Stuart Few are bringing their unique sound back to Revelstoke this weekend. Times Review freelancer Melissa Jameson spoke with Stuart about playing the koto, touring in Japan, and being nominated for Best Album by the 2014 Independent Music Awards.

Melissa Jameson: Your music incorporates the traditional Japanese koto (13-stringed harp) that’s not an instrument many North Americans are likely familiar with.  Can you explain  what it is and how you were introduced to the koto?

Jessica Stuart: The koto is usually used in the  kind of ancient music you would picture coming out of Asia.  It’s six feet long and the strings are strung horizontally. It works similar to a harp. Each string has a pitch.

For me I knew about the koto ever since I can remember because my mother is a koto player.  My parents lived in Japan for four years before my older sister  and I were born.  I grew up with my mom playing koto around the house so I thought everyone’s mom played the koto.

MJ: Your mom, Wendy, is also a musician. What inspiration has she led in terms of your own musical abilities?

JS: As far as the koto, for some reason I never identified with it when I was in Vancouver, which is where I grew up. I went to Japan with my family for my grade four  year of elementary school. . . It certainly wasn’t my mothers doing, it was just that it was around when I had an opportunity to study with my mother’s sensei.

As far as mom’s influence musically, it’s huge because she has a deep understanding of a lot of different type of music. She is a classically trained pianist. My father also plays piano. I just had a musical household.

MJ: You plan on ending your current tour with a collaborative performance with your mom at the Harbourfront Centre.

JS: This is so exciting because we’ve never had a chance to do our musical stuff together. I’ve done a lot of musical things which are her arena growing up, but this is really special. I wrote some special material and she’s going to join us on a few things.

MJ: The Jessica Stuart Few are also currently nominated for Best Album by the 2014 Independent Music Awards.

JS: That was a super honour because that’s an international award. That was hugely unexpected and made me very happy.

MJ: Jessica Stuart Few spent a considerable amount of time touring through Japan after releasing your 2013 album there. What struck you most about Japanese audiences versus North American audiences?

JS: It’s totally different. In Canada you may go to bar and there will be live music playing and you didn’t know about it. In Japan there is no music that happens without you knowing about it.

When we played our very first show in Japan it was in a venue that had a capacity for 200 people. There were 100 people who showed up and they were all shoved up against stage as if it were an arena show.

MJ: This is your second time performing at Music In the Plaza.  Does performing at a venue more than once create expectations?

JS: After you’ve done a bunch of touring you learn that nothing is for certain. One thing we do know about that stage and gazebo is the sound is really good — often we play these one set feature shows when we play festivals. We play all of our ‘hit set’.  When we play Grizzly Plaza it’s a three set gig so we get to pull out different material. It’s cool for us  [Jessica, Dan Fortin on bass and Tony Nesbitt-Larking on guitar], because we get to play around with the music, stretch it out, improvise.”

 

The Jessica Stuart Few perform at Grizzly Plaza as part of the Summer Street Festival on Saturday, July 12.

 

 

Just Posted

Stoked on science: Resolve for your resolutions

Jade Harvey Guest columnist As we progress further into January and the… Continue reading

Super blood wolf moon fills Okanagan skies, to photographers’ delight

Photographers had a rare chance Sunday to capture a rare lunar eclipse

2019 Budget: Revelstoke city staff recommending a five per cent property tax increase

Additional options that would expand services total another six per cent

Revelstoke Secondary School enthralls the audience with Trap

With a twist ending that had audience members laughing, perhaps uncomfortably, the… Continue reading

Okanagan Military Tattoo returns

Performances July 28 and July 28

UPDATE: B.C. legislature managers accused of excessive travel, personal expense claims

Clerk Craig James, security chief Gary Lenz call allegations ‘completely false’

B.C. man fined $10,000 after leaving moose to suffer before death

Surrey man was convicted last week on three Wildlife Act charges

Man charged in 7-Eleven fire in Shuswap granted bail

Accused facing arson charges released with 23 conditions including a 7 p.m. curfew

‘Blue Monday’ isn’t real, but depression can be

CMHA encourages people to prioritize their mental health

Anti-pipeline group wants NEB to consider impact of emissions, climate change

Stand.earth filed NEB motion asking to apply same standard to the project as it did with Energy East pipeline

Parole granted for drunk driver who killed B.C. RCMP officer

Kenneth Jacob Fenton will be able to attend alcohol abuse treatment, nearly three years after crash that killed Const. Sarah Beckett

B.C. man charged in 2014 snake venom death of toddler

Henry Thomas was taking care of the North Vancouver girl the day before she died

B.C.’s largest public-sector union wants inquiry into money laundering, drugs

Union officials say Premier John Horgan and Attorney General David Eby have not ruled out the possibility of a public inquiry

Teen in confrontation with Native American: I didn’t provoke

Nick Sandmann of Covington Catholic High School said he was trying to defuse the situation

Most Read