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Courtesy Rosalind

Rosalind redefines local folk

By Giselle Sproule, November 22 2016 —

Rosalind is a seven-piece indie-folk ensemble based in Calgary. The band began in 2015 as a jam session between members Jesse Shire, Amanda Rishaug and Mike Goossen.
“That first jam session was probably the best orientation I’ve ever had with a group of musicians. [We had] instant chemistry — we all got along really well and seemed to have the same intuition. Everything gelled right away and and we knew that we had something special,” says banjo player and vocalist Shire.
After playing as a trio and receiving positive feedback from the community, Rosalind eventually welcomed members John Ferguson, Benjamin Longman, Michael Kissinger and Rhys Perry to create the folk orchestra they are today.
Now a full ensemble including violin, cello, guitar and mandolin, Rosalind has a unique sound that defies a simple “folk” label.
It’s somewhere between melodic folk — and I don’t want to say classical folk — but I think our songs are closer to a classical, fully arranged piece than a typical folk band,” violinist Michael Kissinger says.
Rosalind aims to make songs that are artistically interesting while ensuring that their music is still accessible to the average listener.
“We have sections that invert the chords or play with time and time signatures and subtle things that I think bring an air of sophistication to the music without being pretentious,” Shire says. “It’s about straddling the line between having a lot of artistic integrity and being approachable and we try and walk that as much as possible.”
Rosalind’s debut, The EP, demonstrates a wide range of sounds and emotions. Including both the spirited “Cross” and lyrical “The Thaw,” the tracks showcase exquisite three-part harmonies, soaring melodies and complex, layered instrumentation. The result is a collection of varied, memorable songs that reveal the skills of all musicians involved.
Since Rosalind is made up of seasoned musicians from other musical projects, the instrumentalists are more than just accompaniment for the singers — each musician brings their own voice, experiences and ideas to the music. Rosalind’s collaborative nature is something Kissinger values.
“There are a number of bands in this city where there [is] one artistic driver and the rest of the musicians more or less just come and fill in and that’s what really separates Rosalind from some of the other bands I play with,” he says. “Instead of being a sessional fiddle player that plays in the background of a prearranged song, it really is a collaborative effort.”
During their two years in the local scene, Rosalind has played many shows including Market Collective, Frogfest, ShawTV Collective Musician Sponsorship this year, through which they will make a music video, record a song and participate in a photo shoot — all opportunities that the band appreciates.
“For an up-and-coming band like ourselves it means a lot to have people that are very good at what they do and step up and says ‘hey, you’re worth my time’,” he says.
The band hopes the sponsorship will help them with their plans to expand on a Canadian level, which includes the goal of playing at the Calgary Folk Music Festival. Their sights are set high but they say they are prepared to put in the time and work that it will take to get there.
“I’m willing to be patient with it because it all feels very worth it,” he says. “We’re committed to growing ourselves as a band. We think what we’re doing is cool and people seem to agree.”

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