Acclaimed Canadian artist, Norine Braun, released her 10th album, Gone ToThe Spirits. The concept album is birthed from the Ququnak Paǂkiy Song Collection that Braun wrote from a Canada Council For The Arts Award. The songs are based on the engaging and dramatic life story of a Two Spirit, Ktunaxa warrior woman, courier and guide, who lived in the early 19th century. Gone-To-The-Spirits was the gifted oracle and accomplished warrior who appeared in the journals of explorers and was noted as having transitioned gender and also became a chief. Braun’s irrepressible passion to create music with no imposed boundaries makes this work impossible to categorize. In the beginning, the haunting and ethereal Morning Prayer mesmerizes with ambient ascension toward the heavens. Throughout the album’s rich textures of worldly pop, jazz and blues, the listener is transported among dreamy ice fields, rootsy coyote canyons, thunderous storms toward soulful victory and a sublime rock transformation. One enters a sonic journey in this album that soothes and excites, to another time where Gone To The Spirits story enfolds.
"It’s her best album, incorporating rock, blues, latin, ambience and aboriginal song lore.” Tom Harrison - The Vancouver Sun
“The album “Gone To The Spirits” is as relevant as anything out today. If you like good music that stretches the boundaries of style, you’ll find it here – Strongly recommended.” Jamsphere
“With a poetic graceful beauty, Norine Braun’s “Gone To The Spirits” is a carefully crafted narrative full of compelling snapshots of a life.” Beach Sloth Review
“You’re about to hear something very powerful and filled with higher meaning than you’d ever imagined” Kristy Linkous Indie Band Guru
Cover artwork by Miriam Sweeney.
Gone To The Spirits "exceeds expectations and is music for our Two-Spirit souls" Harlan Pruden Two Spirit Journal
I appreciate the multifaceted “phantasmagoria” (a great word from this album’s “26 Horses”) from Norine Braun’s incredible new album “Gone To The Spirits.” Big love goes out in this extraordinary mix of genre’s and that is Norine Braun's noteworthy trait of uniqueness, full of glorious surprises, which has made me a die-hard-fan. We enjoy her every album. From ethereal sunshine and shadow dance, dreamy blues vibration to warrior beat rock, are just some of this chanteuse’s gifts. More so, I am a fan because of Norine’s clean vocals, deep musical talent and meaningful poetry that is song, again apparent in this remarkable multi-level work." Teri CW
Norine Braun: “Gone To The Spirits” speaks to the depth of the listener’s soul
REVIEW by Rick Jamm Jamsphere.com
Norine Braun is one of those category-defying singers. Her voice stands out whether it blues, ballads, rock, jazz or pop. But you can add just about anything to that list of music genres. Norine’s voice is the great centerpiece her brand new 10th album “Gone To The Spirits”. The purity of her singing just floats around you as she speaks to the depth of the listener’s soul, directly from hers. Personal reflection and musical talent guarantee the listener an incredible journey into Norine’s musical legacy.
“Gone To The Spirits”, was produced by Juno nominated Adam Popowitz and is based on the Ququnak Paǂkiy Song Collection written by Braun. The songs are based on the engaging and dramatic life story of a two spirited Ktunaxa warrior woman, courier and guide, who lived in the early 19th century in southeastern BC Canada. Gone-To-The-Spirits was the gifted oracle and accomplished warrior who appeared in the journals of trappers and explorers and was noted as having transitioned gender and also became a chief.
One of the most startling things about Norine Braun is her immediacy. Everything about her work has tremendous spontaneity, as if she suddenly broke into song on a street corner and a few passing musicians and back-up singers decided to join in to deliver the most stunning narratives, arrangements and performances – there is no other quite like her that I can think of. Of course, Norine’s specialty is her remarkable ability to fuse whatever styles happens to catch her fancy and blend them into a seamless whole.
Melting pot songs like “Rock People (Yaqan Nukiy)”, “Sometimes The Rain Comes”, “Kocomenepeca” or “26 Horses” is merely the introduction to her remarkable skill at combining diverse musical ideas. One of the most startling examples of this is “Bird With A Song To Sing” in which she combines elements of World Music and jazz with a western folk flavor in a plaintive, powerful track with lyrics and vocals as brilliant as the music itself.
“Gone-To-The-Spirits Blues” mixes blues with a honky-tonk spiritual edge and “Evening Song” mixes acoustic Americana with spiritual native music add a touch of alt-rock. It’s all amazing stuff, shifting smoothly from powerful passions and tragedy to introspective musings to up-beat, pure musical joy.
While it is almost impossible to pick one single cut from the recording as a favorite, the one that did capture my imagination more than others was “Transform (Take Me Away)”. A mid-tempo ballad that artfully mixes traces of percussive pop music and jangly guitars in a memorable reflection on life‘s end. The album “Gone To The Spirits” is as relevant as anything out today. If you like good music that stretches the boundaries of style, you’ll find it here – Strongly recommended.
ALBUM CREDITS: “Gone To The Spirits” was recorded and mixed with producer Adam Popowitz at Rear Window Song and Sound. The session players include: the Juno nominated Adam Popowitz on bass and lead guitar, Elliot Polsky on drums, Huggybear Leonard on blues harp, Alice Fraser on keys and accordion, Malcolm Aiken on trumpet and flugelhorn with Norine Braun on rhythm guitar,ukulele, Navajo flute and vocals.
Norine Braun – Gone To The Spirits
With a poetic graceful beauty, Norine Braun’s “Gone To The Spirits” is a carefully crafted narrative full of compelling snapshots of a life. Lyrics are front and center of each piece as they unfold to celebrate the natural world. Norine Braun’s vocals are delivered with crystal clarity. Attention to detail means that the sound is lush, bright, with a sense of optimism pervading the entirety of the collection.
After the introduction of “Spoken Word One” things come into full bloom with the airy textures of “Morning Prayer”. Surreal in sound is the dreamy “Rock People (Yaqan Nukiy)”. With a sense of play the song expands ever so luxuriously as it steadily grows in size and scope. “Star Man (Ode to Koo Koo Sints David Thompson)” is a song of devotion filled with an undeniable sense of tenderness. Low key in sound is the laid-back, light jazz approach of “Bird With A Song To Sing”. Opting for a little vaudeville is the stripped down “Gone-To-The-Spirit Blues”. Passionate to its very core is the driving defiant rhythm of “Kocomenepeca”. Funk defines the soulful grooves of “Victory”. Nicely spacious in scope is “Evening Song” whose work simply soars into the sky. Serving as an all-encompassing finale is the triumphant “Transform (Take Me Away)”.
Stylish, sophisticated and infinitely tasteful, Norine Braun effortlessly weaves storytelling, jazz, blues, and elements of folk into a satisfying whole on “Gone To The Spirits”. Best of all the entire album can be found right here! Beach Sloth Review