Crazy trains and accordion choirs

Local singer-songwriter talks about touring in support of her debut full-length, Broken Tambourine

Ingrid Gatin has done a lot of unusual things, but not like this. She will be performing at Melodies on Mercredi this Wednesday, a series of events at the WECC that brings local musicians and visual artists together for one cohesive evening every month.

If you’re looking for interesting stories, Ingrid Gatin’s got a few.

Whether it’s touring alone (like, really completely alone), singing for her transportation, or conducting an accordion circle, the Brandon-born songstress has an unusual resume.

But conducting an accordion circle?

“It was for Accordion Noir Radio in Vancouver. We had about 12 accordions all going at once. I got to conduct them through one of my songs, which sounded incredible,” Gatin explained excitedly over coffee at the Neighbourhood Cafe last week.

“You don’t believe me, but it was amazing. So fun. And it just happened to be my birthday, too.”

Gatin, 23, moved to Winnipeg three years ago to study at the University of Winnipeg, but has since abandoned school to pursue music, her main love.

Her first full-length album, Broken Tambourine, which was released last fall, is a culmination of the songs from her journey so far, some even from when she first started writing.

Prior to the album’s release, Gatin took the songs across the country, performing on the passenger train in exchange for food and transport along the way.

She did this solo, with an accordion, a keyboard and a whole lot of baggage to carry.

“It was a really fun experience, but I don’t think I would do it solo again. Too much to carry. But I love performing on the train. I highly recommend it to any musicians traveling. I’ve already done it twice,” Gatin said.

When she sets out to tour country again this May, she will be doing so with a full band in tow, rest assured.

Gatin will be performing at the West End Cultural Centre March 3, sharing the bill with fellow musician Aimee Lane, as part of the venue’s new music series, Melodies on Mercredi.

The series, which had its first event earlier this month, will feature young Winnipeg singer-songwriters performing in the building’s new Assiniboine Community Hall acoustic space, while surrounded by art work inspired by their very own music.

Andraea Sartison, operations assistant at the WECC, created the event which happens on the first Wednesday of every month this spring. She hopes it will inspire people to get involved and continue past the summer.

“It’s really about creating a sensory experience. We play the music for different artists in different mediums and allow them to use it as inspiration. We really want to combine these forms, of story, of dance, of animation, of song, and really create something that is completely unique that you won’t find anywhere else,” Sartison explained.

For this particular performance, she recruited students at Sister MacNamara School to paint and draw what inspired them from these two musician’s songs.

For Gatin, who currently teaches students in multiple visual mediums at the Graffiti Gallery part-time, this kind of experiment is right up her alley.

“I can’t wait to see it all. I have no idea what to expect, and that’s exciting,” Gatin said.

Published in Volume 64, Number 20 of The Uniter (February 25, 2010)

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