Andy Partridge’s label releases new CD by ferociously quirky songstress Veda Hille

Canadian songwriter/musician/singer Veda Hille releases her 13th album  This Riot Life, this Spring. The album is being released worldwide on Ape House, the label owned by XTC leader Andy Partridge. The release will be followed by touring in Canada, the UK, and Europe. 

     This Riot Life is full of lush sounds, funny and warm quirky words and great storytelling. It’s  intense, densely orchestrated and at times ferocious exploration of how people survive what life throws at them, in part prompted a year where her death, serious illness and birth in her extended family. The album is centered on a cycle of six songs based on hymns, some notably altered, others left primarily intact, all were drawn from her late grandmother’s copy of The Hymnary, a United Church staple from the early 1900’s.  So this is her interpretation of ecstatic religious music channeled through her own  singular creative lens.  Songs runs from a hurtling, lighthearted look at the life of Jesus in “Ace of the Nazarene,” to a dreamy romantic paean to her husband in “Sleepers,” to a startling artsy take on Paul Hindemith’s setting of Shelley’s “The Moon.”

     Veda Hillewas born in 1968 in Vancouver Canada. She started playing piano when she was 6. Her family moved around a lot, from the city to the country and back again. Veda ran around in the woods and the streets, practiced piano, read books, used her Junior Scientist Microscope, and thought that maybe she would be a psychiatrist. Alas, those piano lessons had a firm hold.  Classical music, then pop music, a  little bit of jazz, plus a few years at art school all led Veda to try her hand at songwriting.  It was  compelling, and she soon found herself doing little else.  She put her first album out independently in 1992, and has released a new record roughly every 18 months since then.  The songs live somewhere in the murky lands of folk music, art song, and esoteric rock.

     Since the mid 90s Veda has been touring in Canada, the USA, and Europe, both solo and with her band.  She has also written extensively for dance, theatre, film, and Special Occasions. She plays piano and tenor guitar, dabbles in banjo, accordion, and protools, and has a new love affair going on with a nord electro keyboard and a handful of casios. She writes about the natural world, the trickiness of love, the constant threat of tragedy, and anything else that amazes her.

     Lately the Hille empire has been diversifying further. Veda is a member of two new bands: Duplex! (rock music for kids) and The Fits (vaudeville duets) and she continues to make her own records including This Riot Life. Veda is the in-house composer for Theatre Replacement and collaborates with them on at least one show per year. She has also been writing for the Leaky Heaven Circus. On Feb. 3, 2008 she premiered Raft of the Medusa a chorale work commissioned by CBC radio for performance with the University of Manitoba Choir at the Winnipeg New Music Festival. It was broadcast nationally on Feb.10.  Stay tuned, because as Veda frequently admits in her music and her life, nobody knows what the heck is going to happen next.  

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Author: James McQuiston

Ph.D. in Political Science, Kent State University. I have been the editor at NeuFutur / since I was 15. Looking for new staff members all the time; email me if you are interested. Thanks!

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