Edzi’u: Sound Artist and Indigenous Storyteller

Edzi’u is a mixed race Tahltan and inland Tlingit artist, songwriter and composer. Her songs are an incarnation of her family’s ancient tradition of storytelling, realized by designing sound through vintage and current audio recordings, electronic instruments and the voice. “
– Edzi’u music

Strolling down a Mount Pleasant alleyway in conversation, she turns away to a family of chirping birds, leans in and listens. Further down the way the sounds of laughter and voices of joy from a kindergarten playground. As we turn the corner, a plane flies overhead, leaves rustle in the wind, she lifts her recorder and we all stand still. “This is a good spot.”

A gleaner of sounds, as Edzi’u listens through spaces paying attention to every decibal recorded, we begin to understand the sonic world that surrounds us. She talks to us about her perspective on the “colonialism of sound”; and how just as we perceive the environment and its history in every other sense, there are stories to be heard through the changing characteristics of how a place sounds.

“When I’m on the search for sounds I listen so differently to when I’m walking around… it’s so comic to just walk around and listen, you know? Like, how often do we actually listen to understand as my friend Allan puts it?” Earlier that day we sat down to film Edzi’u record an interview with her friend Allan Lindley, also mixed race indigenous, living in an urban setting. The two engaged in an in-depth dialogue regarding themes of split identity and sharing stories with previous generations for the purpose of learning from each others’ experiences. The interview is the second element to her work.

In her latest album, Kime Ani, we hear samples of old audio recordings; three generations of her matriarchs and grandmothers stories, mixed with her recordings of the environment to create a tapestry of identity and culture.

From an early age Edzi’u has played the guitar and sung – Its the creative force that has driven her through life. In her most recent journey she has found a medium that allows her to explore her identity through sound, while channelling her tradition through the voices of the people who came before her.

“Her songs are vessels of history, tradition, and adaptation; a record of Indigenous experience through a contemporary Indigenous lens.”

Check out the video to hear more!

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