Tanya Evanson – The Memorists and The Invisible World
Tanya Evanson has released two full-length CDs: The Memorists in 2008 and The Invisible World in 2004. Both are unclassifiable spokenword objects, part poem, part story and part song. Evanson ties the elements together with considerable panache, mixing her original songs and poems into the work of a group of highly accomplished musicians.
She also presents her works in a surprising number of languages. She sings effortlessly in English, French, Arabic, Turkish, Spanish, and perhaps Yoruba.
The soundscape of these discs is a world music tour-de-force that moves across the globe between rare musical genres and sets of instrumentation; from Tuvan throat singing to classical oud, from Spanish guitar to South African vocal harmonies, from urban blues to call to prayer. The producer of these discs has done a remarkable job, using the superb recordings of Evanson’s artful voice and these widely diverse arrangements to create a seamless integrated whole.
Both recordings provide us a roadmap of Evanson’s on-going personal spiritual quest. It’s a journey which again takes her the world over, from the Pacific coast of Mexico to the shores of the Turkish Aegean, from a Parisian garret to the piranha-infested waters of the Amazon, from urban Bangkok to Bark Lake B.C. Hers is a quest for rapture, a total spiritual reformation that will reveal and be consumed within the perfect fire of the unity.
Evanson’s avatars on this journey are young, desirable and constantly desiring. Amongst them are the nubile cowgirl, the virginal newlywed and the tempting sorceress, all who work their enchanting mojo to summon up men for their seed, for love and esoteric teachings. The personas in these poems yearn both for the revelation of the godhead and the caress of a latest conquest; many times throughout the work, it is unclear which is which.
That is because it is the delights (and torments) of the flesh that propel the acolyte along one of the royal roads leading toward enlightenment. My personal favorites are a couple of prose poems found at the end of The Invisible World, “Cooked” and “Ask”. These describe the degradation and collapse of the passion and rapture of carnal love into an all-encompassing physical and mental ache. It is precisely the ache of these unfulfilled and worldly desires that will cook the soul of this spurned young woman into something tender and delicious, suitable for consumption by the deity.
But the ways of the supreme being are unfathomable and we are here for one short moment. Evanson’s is an endless search, beginning again with the break of each day. As she says, “I am never awake but always awakening”.