by Michelle O’Keefe, Executive Editor and Joel Schulz, Publisher
At this year’s Calgary Folk Music Festival, Michelle had the occasion for an intimate discussion with Tamara Lindeman of The Weather Station, about her music and inspirations. Sitting by the banks of the Bow River gave them an opportunity for a very relaxed interview away from the festival’s activities.
Tamara Lindeman is a woman with muti-faceted talents. She has been nominated for a SOCAN award for her music but she is also an award winning actor and certified snowboard instructor. With 39 IMDB credits to her name for her acting roles, including 10 episodes of Murdoch Mysteries as recently as 2015, a lead role in the Disney Channel film Stepsister from Planet Weird, starring alongside Jennifer Love Hewitt in the Audrey Hepburn Story, and the title role in the Australian-Canadian production Guenevere Jones.
From her early childhood in rural Ontario, Lindeman shared that she always had a connection with nature and used to wander regularly into the woods and even had dining experiences with the flora she encountered on her walks. This later proved to be an influence upon her artistry. Her early artistic endeavours were directed towards stage and acting. However, a tragic event when she was 19 years old, caused her to transition herself, in addition to her numerous acting successes, into performing as a musician.
During the year that led up to the tragedy, Tamara Lindeman met a young man, Andre Noble, who shared her love of nature, including eating the plant life they came upon on their strolls through the forests. He was an actor, which is how they met, as well as a musician who played the guitar and, in Tamara’s opinion, was not very good at singing. At his request, she provided vocals for his performances. During this period, they fell deeply in love with each other. As this relationship was developing, she got a phone from Andre’s family that something was wrong. She learned that on one of his walks through the arboreal forest on the small island in Newfoundland that he grew up on, he consumed monkshood, which among the plants that he was eating along the way. Monkshood is extremely poisonous and Noble passed away within three hours of ingesting this plant. While sorting through his belongings, Tamara came across mini tapes of Andre’s music. These tapes had a profound influence upon her, so much that she made a major directional change in her art form to include music.
Early in her musical career, Lindeman starting including improvisation as a technique for her repertoire. This improv has allowed her to become more creative in expressing her individuality and, by extension, grants her the ability to share her world view in the form of original music. Tamara Lindeman communicated with us that she sees her music becoming more intense and louder in the future and as her career progresses. She commented, during this interview, that she views her music taking on the concept of soundcraft versus songcraft. The Reel Can interprets this as song providing the meaning and the essence of the performance and sound providing the wave upon which it travels. This presents a duality where one informs the other. Song provides the intensity and sound provides the loudness for the direction Tamara Lindeman’s music is taking her into the future.