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Interviews: Jhan Lindsay

Last edited: 04.02.16 | Comment? | By

Jhan 139 #1 copy We caught up recently with Jhan Lindsay, a Wellington based musician, composer, teacher and Independent Marriage Celebrant. Jhan has studied Jazz at NZSM and is a registered teacher who has taught for a number of years in Wellington schools. She is currently working on her second album which will be released at the end of 2016, while teaching voice and music in schools in Wellington and Wairarapa. As an Independent Marriage Celebrant Jhan has written and performed a multitude of diverse marriage services throughout Aotearoa.

You released Jhan Lindsay and the Chattelaines late last year, with the help of many musicians and collaborators. What kind of process do you like for writing songs and creating music ?
I have no constant method of composing. I write the lyrics on scrap pieces of paper, or in blank diary pages, coasters or in notebooks. I collect them up and then revisit them and reread them and find a melodic line that fits and suits the text. Just by jamming, playing through chord sequences on the piano or guitar I find a progression that I like the sound of and then challenge myself to put a melodic line to it. I adore writing for strings. It has been a pleasure and a privilege to write and have recorded with a string section on the album. Those sounds have been sitting inside my head for a long time and it is a great sense of completion to have them recorded.

You explore many different types of music – ‘Call me to your side’ has a rousing chorus and uplifting pop/jazz feel, ‘Emerald’ seems more classical in its feel and delivery and other songs are stripped back and warm – what’s your approach to arranging a song, and bringing out the best in your music? (Which I think you’ve done!)
My music doesn’t fit into a set genre. My musical inspirations and ideas have no regiment when it comes to a specific style, so on the album you will hear a plethora of styles and moods. With such an amazing line-up of musicians the possibilities are endless in creating and manifesting different sounding tunes. Having such a huge and diverse pool of instrumentalists supporting the project has meant that we can fuse and alter, strip back and swell the songs in different ways. That is the concept of the Chattelaines. The musicians being the different items/instruments with a different purpose/sound within the band and album. I am so lucky, fortunate and elated to have everyone as a part of the album.

‘Call Me To Your Side’ – I composed this song for friends who have been ill particularly with cancer in recent years. The chorus of female voices support the message of collective care and unity. ‘Emerald’ – the first singer songwriter song that I wrote – winter of 1999 at 166 Aro Street. My first Wellington winter inspired ‘Now that summer’s gone, I’m left to weep with winter, now that summer’s kiss of warmth has disappeared I ‘ll sleep the endless summer dream’ – the emerald glow being the budding leave on the branches returning to deciduous trees. The strings have been inspired by the sound achieved by a live recording of Portishead with the NY Philharmonic from memory. I like the dark tense elements that the strings delivered to the songs. The string lines have been sketches in my mind and on paper for the past 17 years.

It looks like you’ve been very, very busy over the last year from your web page gig listings – how do you balance teaching and recording music, playing live and everything else life has to offer?
HA! I like to be busy and I like to travel. I organise my time as best I can to do as much in a day as I can and still leave time for rest and couch dwelling. It is important to stop, rest and sleep. I try to set aside one day a week for rest if I can. I am never one to turn down an opportunity and I do my best to try new experiences performing or teaching.

I’ve seen you play guitar, ukulele, mandolin – I think we can gladly call you a multi-instrumentalist! What other instruments can you play and do you have a preferred instrument?
No go on the Mandolin – not me, that is Mike Hogan on the album. His compositions are amazing – do you have his CD in the catalogue? Dark To Light – Mike Hogan, compositions performed by Christopher Hill. (Ed. Just purchased for the collection). Guitar, piano and Uke yes. I studied Saxophone and Voice at what is now NZSM and have a BMus in Jazz Performance. Favourite instrument that I play is the piano. Favourite instrument in the world is Double Bass, followed closely by a Kora.

Thanks for the interview Jhan. New release in late 2016 sounds fantastic but what are your future musical plans?
Thank you for the interview too! Awesome opportunity and I am super stoked to be asked to be a part of it! The second album is underway. I plan to record an album this year and 2017. Similar vein as ‘Jhan Lindsay and The Chattelaines’ but slightly different, we will all just have to wait to hear… Touring original music – See website for dates and places, more TBC. Singing jazz – Solo gigs singing jazz standards and ballads and I have a trio and quartet that play around the capital and I hope to keep doing that this year – Feb 13th at The Southern Cross…..Teaching – I have a stunning group of young singers in the Wairarapa that I am currently teaching and I look forward to a year ahead with them.

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