The Covid summer of 2020 may be stripped of many chances to play much live music, but Yellowknife singer-songwriter Laurie Sarkadi is still forging ahead with a new collection of songs on her new album entitled Middle World.
The album is now available for streaming or purchase on Spotify and other music distribution outlets.
The album is a collection of songs written to accompany her introspective book Voice in the Wild: A Memoir, which was first published in October 2016 by Verge Communications. That book, which is now in its third printing with Caitlin Press describes her life since coming to Yellowknife as an Edmonton Journal northern correspondent in 1989.
Like the book, the album “speaks to the need for enduring relationships with nature and one another — especially true today,” she said.
“My songs are about desire, not just on a romantic level, but desire for a better world,” Sarkadi said in an June 4 news release.
“Many of the songs relate to c”apters in my book and so people who’ve read Voice in the Wild will have a deeper understanding of the music.”
She describes her genre of music on the album as “an eclectic mix of smoky and dangerous acid-folk, sweet’n salty old-tyme country and funk-fused blues-rock.”
Some are upbeat and others take on more serious contemporary subjects.
Highlights include a song called Diamonds that compares the extraction of mineral in Central Africa with how Northern Indigenous people are treated.
She has also has a protest song called Pushing Send, based on on the Iran protests in 2009, which looks at the rules of the internet and social media when a regime isn’t allowing messaging.
“So the subject matter is not all love,” she points out.
The album features Toronto producer Marc Ganetakos, who is also a multi-instrumentalist and talented guitar player who has played with high-profile artists like Nellie Furtado and Ashley MacIsaac.
“The result is genre-bending songs that aim to make you think and sway,” she says.
Sarkadi is no stranger to contributing to the Northern music scene having fronted the Yellowknife dance group Wake Up Hazel in 2009 and performing at such events as Old Time Ramble and Ride, Folk on the Rocks, the Hay Days Festival in Hay River, and the End of the Road Music Festival in Inuvik over the years.
This year was to be the 40th anniversary of Folk on the Rocks and she had been looking forward as one of the planned acts.
“When I was started this project, my dream was to launch the music at the 40th anniversary of Folk on the Rocks,” she said. “So I applied and was ecstatic that I got in.”
Voice in the Wild
Sarkadi said it is still early since the launch of the album so it is hard to say how many have bought it, but if it is anything like the attention she continues to have with her book, it will be a success.
Last winter for example, she had been working on a Masters degree in English at the University of Guelph and found her book made the syllabus on one of the courses.
Some of the initial feedback however, has been the album cover artwork which features her late mother Janet Taylor bungee jumping off a crane at Calgary Olympic Park in 1991.
Taylor had passed away in 2008 in and around the time Sarkadi purchased a guitar and developing her own music material.
“I have a lot of people commenting on the cover which is photo of my mom, who was a big influence for music and she died just as I was playing guitar,” she said. “She had been an inspiration for songs and when I starting writing songs.”
Sarkadi is to be featured as a moderator on a panel about traditional publishing and self-publishing at the Northwords Literary Festival June 28.