Museagency: Media Release June 2010 ... (Download PDF here)
RELEASE DATE: 5 JULY 2010 Museagency / Vitamin
CONCERTS: 17 - 25 JULY 2010 (details below)
“How to describe it?” Gyan gazes out into the bush that butts up against her wooden verandah. A bush turkey peers back. She’s trying to put the track ‘I’ve Lost The Sea’, from her new album SUPERFRAGILISTICALLY, into words. “It’s about a homesick mermaid in a London bathroom.”
Gyan is an unusual girl.
Hidden away behind a dreamy national park on the NSW North Coast, Gyan, 90’s pop star, global drifter, new millennium poet recluse, has been busy. In 2008 she conjured up and toured the exquisite Billy the Rabbit with national treasure Michael Leunig
(www.leunig.com.au). In 2009 she penned the gorgeously bent story behind artist M S Dawson’s haunting drawings and paintings, for the shortlisted book How WEIRD is That…
Yet somehow she has found time to haul into her studio a list ofmusical pals that reads like the family that fled from the cloisteredConservatorium of Music, up into the light of the North. Cellists,trombone virtuosi, musical saw and pedal steel players, and long
time collaborators James Cruickshank (The Cruel Sea) and Tim Gaze(Morning of the Earth), all appeared from the forest when they heardGyan’s call.
This is what mermaids do, after all. Lure souls seeking something.
“It’s like having our own Big Pink or Yellow House collective,” Gyan smiles, as a butcherbird now joins the menagerie on the verandah. “I feel fortunate to have found a bunch of like minded souls …the super sensitive ones.” Gyan’s whole house is alive with her friends’ artwork on the walls. Cruickshank can be heard tinkering (often bashing) away on a century old Steinway upright piano, the ‘Sacre Coeur’ of the album. Its rich musical voice, combined with other vintage instruments provides a moviesque backdrop for Gyan’s broody stories.
“I prefer the old movies…you know the ones where you can see the fishing wire pulling the paper rockets across the screen” Gyan laughs “I see the sound and chase the pictures that follow…so this bunch of tunes runs like a mini film festival in my head …but without the CGI.”
Four years in the making, Superfragilistically is a labour of love. “We took the windy road through the back hills,” Gyan says with a wry smile “We decided to paint around the original sketches …a longer road but hopefully longer lasting.”Gyan’s partner, and the album’s producer, Simon Greaves disappears through the bush beyond the verandah, his longboard under arm.
And the album’s title?
“I came to this record with the idea of capturing precious little moments of beauty and holding them up just long
enough to take their picture before they run for cover, like most endangered species,” says Gyan “Thus SuperFRAGILE.”
And the “istically” part of the title? Is that a little present for Julie Andrews?
“Give me an umbrella and I can fly!” Gyan laughs.
‘Gyan has certainly evolved over the last decade. She is now a hugely gifted composer and a very fine singer in the female sensitive mode ... just the right level of melancholy ... gorgeous fragility’. Bruce Elder, SYDNEY MORNING HERALD
With an ARIA award and platinum sales for her self-titled debut album in 1990, Gyan moved to the UK, then the USA where she signed to Universal working with Ricky Martin, Leanne Rimes and producer Desmond Child. She won a Sydney Theatre Award
in 2008 for her sell-out Sydney Opera House multi-media performances with Michael Leunig. Her book How WEIRD Is That... with artist M S Dawson was CBCA short-listed in 2009.
LIVE SHOWS: Celebrated for her unguarded and charismatic stage-presence, Gyan performs Superfragilistically in a series of special shows with James Cruickshank (The Cruel Sea), Tim Gaze (Morning of the Earth), Simon Greaves (Museagency) and a string quartet with players from The Australian Brandenburg Orchestra recently on the road with Joanna Newsom.
Sat. JUL 17 - Byron Theatre - Byron Bay - www.byroncentre.com.au or phone (02) 6685 6807
Fri. JUL 23 - The Clarendon - Katoomba - www.clarendonguesthouse.com.au Booking line (02) 4782 1322
Sat. JUL 24 - Notes Live - Newtown, Sydney - www.noteslive.net.au or www.oztix.com.au or via phone (02) 9557 5111
Sun. JUL 25 - Lizottes - Kincumber - NSW Central Coast - www.lizottes.com.au or booking by phone (02) 4368 2017
GYAN biography 2010 download PDF
Australian born international singer songwriter Gyan defines her own genre. With awards for song writing to cabaret, she blurs the lines between a quiet, sensitive Appalachian folk and a fresh cabaret noir with her introspective symphonic sketches.
She has been compared her to Joni Mitchell and Sufjan Stevens. Live, Gyan’s poetic vocal style is complemented by a minimalist approach, rich in subtle textures utilising pianos, guitars and strings. Gyan infuses her song with a melancholy passion. There is something powerful yet waif like about Gyan, like she was the Bronte sister given healthy lungs… with a love of language, and ee cummings inspirations.
Like most artists starting out in the late 80s Gyan gigged around Sydney with her highly original band Haiku. After some success Gyan cut the safety ropes and decided to go solo.
Her first step was to enter the television show called Starsearch (the Australian Idol of the 80’s). The wide eyed girl from Geelong went onto to win the grand final and with her substantial winnings Gyan bought her first home recording studio and put aside the next 12 months to hone her writing skills. When ready she met Charles Fisher, producer for Midnight Oil. Hoodoo Gurus and Savage Garden.
From that meeting in 1990 came her first contract and her debut album, ’Gyan’. Her 12 months gestation proved fruitful for the first album went platinum, winning an ARIA award for best new talent and her first single ‘Wait’ achieved the status of being one of the most played singles of that year. It still is the ultimate anthem for the lonely girl!
In 1993 she released ‘Reddest Red’ which received critical acclaim and led to another 2 years solid touring in Oz. In 1995 she left Australia to relocate to London, where she emerged from the acoustic underground to be wooed to the U.S. by Desmond Child, world-renowned producer of Ricky Martin, Aerosmith, Cher.
Gyan signed to Universal and wrote and recorded the album ‘Suburban Opera’ with string arranger David Campbell (Aretha Franklin, Carole King, Beck, Hole), Kenny Arnoff (Smashing Pumpkins), Raul Marlow (Mavericks) and Jon Bon Jovi in studios from Bearsville Woodstock to Abbey Rd. UK. During this time she was also a vocalist for Ricky Martin and appears on his multi platinum self titled album as well as ‘Sound Loaded’.
LeAnn Rimes subsequently covered Gyan’s Love is an Army on the ‘Twisted Angel’ album and performed the track live, televised nationally at the American, Country Music Awards. LeAnn is quoted ‘of all the songs I’ve ever recorded this is my favourite.’
Gyan now resides back in Australia in a beach hideaway butting up against a dreamy National Park in northern NSW. Despite the poet-recluse life-style Gyan has continued to be involved in a variety of fascinating projects and collaborations. In 2007 Gyan sent a ‘love letter’ of sorts to celebrated cartoonist Michael Leunig – a CD of songs inspired by his poems. The result was the exquisite ‘Billy The Rabbit’ album and book. The resulting live shows went on to sell out at the Sydney Opera House and win them a Sydney Theatre Award.
In 2009 she penned the gorgeously bent story behind artist M S Dawson’s haunting drawings and paintings, for the book “How WEIRD is That…” which was short-listed for a Childrens Book Council of Australia award. Also in 2009 Gyan was invited by celebrated photographer Stu Spence, along with a number of other Australian music luminaries like Tim Freedman and Mark Seymour, to provide the ‘soundtrack’ to one of his images in his acclaimed ‘As Yet Unclear’ exhibition. (www.stuspence.com).
And now she has created the exquisite album Superfragilistically …a beautiful collection of haunting neo-gothic tales and offbeat chamber folk lovingly conjured with her surfer/producer husband and members of the enigmatic Museagency collective (including James Cruikshank of The Cruel Sea, and Tim Gaze Morning of the Earth) Like a radar beam searching for gentle souls, Gyan calls siren-like from the deep undertow of the neo-folk wave currently sweeping the world.
What has been said about Gyan & Billy The Rabbit:
...Gyan has certainly evolved over the last decade. She is now a hugely gifted composer and a very fine singer in the...female sensitive... mode. Her decision to take 18 of Michael Leunigs...poem-drawings and turn them into songs is inspired... The result is a genuinely great and original Australian album that Leunig admirers will prize... Bruce Elder, SYDNEY MORNING HERALD
…lyrics with gentle commitment, in their deceptive directness … somewhere between Celtic traditional ballad and Appalachian lament. John Slavin, THE AGE
The elfin Gyan is an unassuming performer who has the ideal persona and introspective voice to interpret Leunig’s phenomenal ability to ask universal questions …. An unforgettable night of music from the soul. Matt Byrne, ADELAIDE SUNDAY MAIL
… collects 18 of Leunig’s short poems together and infuses them with finely crafted melodies. The songs shift between a Waifs laidback sound and a more elaborate Sufjan Stevens vibe with guitars, gentle pianos, organs, melodic horns and small string sections … The sentiment of each work is so well captured by Gyan that it’s hard to imagine the music and poetry in a separate context. Jason Kenny X-PRESS MAG
.... with range, technique and tonal sensitivity, Gyan matches Leunigs poems with equally fractured beauty in what could be described as chamber folk or symphonic sketches. Billie holiday and Lucinda Williams would approve... Lesley Sly, SOUND AND IMAGE MAG
.... Billy the Rabbit is a magical and unique journey through the mind of a gentle genius told from the voice of a beautiful and talented singer and is perhaps the most delicate and appropriate partnership between any two unique Australian artists. Shelly Blake, THE PROGRAM
.... Gyan’s vocals are melancholic, shadowy and even a little eerie, a little reminiscent of Portishead's Beth Gibbons. The album is certainly a beautiful listen.... Brooke Robinson, THE BRAG
…It's been a long time since the last 'great Australian album', but for this reviewer at least, Billy The Rabbit breaks the drought. Peter Hackney, SX Mag.