AWNA TEIXEIRA – WHERE THE DARKNESS GOES
2012 – Self Released
After eight years of touring and recording with the tremendous and difficult to pigeon hole Po’ Girl, Awna
decided to take a break from the band and record her debut solo album and well worth the effort it was too! There is a lovely fresh sound to this excellent album but it’s content is just as difficult to pigeon hole as Po’ Girl, other than under the massive ‘folk roots’ umbrella. It is safe to say there is no one else quite like Awna, with her quirky take on roots music that combines
highlonesome ‘hillbilly’ music with folk and probably more than a nod to her Portugese roots, the only addition that can really explain this unique rootsy amalgamate of beautiful sounds. Having listened to all of the Po’ Girl albums and seen them live on several occasions it is fairly obvious that Awna possesses a fairly unique talent with her lovely quirky vocals and multi instrumentalist credentials.
Her musical background is quite colourful, having played as a street musician with popular west coast street band, ‘The Derby,’ after which she formed an alt. country band, ‘The Red Eyed Rounders.’ When the Rounders fell apart she went back to Canada and formed country folk band ‘Barley Wik’ who went on to release two albums before Awna decided she wanted a solo career. Things didn’t quite work out as planned because she soon met Allison Russell and within a week was off on tour with Po’ Girl.
This album was recorded at Minbal Studios, Chicago with the support of some excellent musicians and engineer Zach Goheen. As well as all vocals Awna plays accordion, guitar, harmonica, banjo and ukulele and wrote all of these highly original songs herself. To say she is pretty much unique in the ‘roots music’ world is something of an understatement, with her unusual but quite
addictive vocal sound and the blend of so many different influences from not only the American but also European continents in the instrumentation as well as the song structures.
A sparse banjo introduction on album opener Stand tallsets the rootsy scene for the whole album on a beautifully sparse ballad with just Awna’s atmospheric vocal, the ambience of the banjo and latterly organ and handclaps. The following song Minha Querida, whilst having some
links stylistically to it’s predecessor, in many ways is a contrast, with it’s gorgeous accordion and repetitive drum beat on a lovely mid tempo song that could as easily be rooted in Mexico as Europe were it not for the fact that Minha Querida is Portugese for ‘My Dear’. Highly original and very, very unusual. Prince Of The Park, has a nice ukele sound with keyboard backing on a catchy song that has a feeling of being rooted high in the mountains but more South America than North, with the trumpet latterly adding to the diverse sound. There are some lovely harmonies, accordion and mandolin on Little Piggy, another highly original song that probably could not have been conceived
without her European roots! It is strangely reminiscent of something I once heard in a Parisian bar! Every song is well thought out and whilst many vary stylistically the album as a whole blends together incredibly well, almost because of, rather than in spite of the diverse sounds.
Awna’s influences and consequently stylistic variations will probably be too much for the mainstream, simply because it is difficult to hang a label on, other than the one that confirms this is a tremendous album by a singer songwriter who is still developing her huge talent and her own highly individual style! Gorgeous album.