Cris Derksen

(Toronto, ON)

Some music simply has to be heard to be understood. You can list the constituent parts, break it down genre by genre but, in the end, analysis doesn't come close to doing it justice; understanding the sound intellectually and experiencing it physically are two different things. Cris Derksen's cello-based music isn't hard to describe in the abstract. After years collaborating with orchestral, folk and pop bands E.S.L, Lightning Dust, Tanya Tagaq and others, her solo work and compositions are now centred on blending Western classical and traditional pow-wow music with contemporary electronic accents. But the power of that combination, and the skill with which she pulls it off, create music that words alone can’t do justice to.

Derksen's musical alchemy is a reflection of her own blended roots — North Tall Cree chiefs on her father's side, Mennonite homesteaders on her mother's — but while it draws from the past, it's seemingly unbound by tradition. Bolstered by a loop pedal which allows her cello to build on itself in increasingly complex loops, and a fearless compositional sense, her songs follow their own path, energetic, emotionally rich and always surprising. But those are just words. Let the music speak for itself.


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