By Belen Tamariz, February 22 2022—
On Feb. 11, the Toronto, Ontario-based band Isabel & The Uncommons dropped their newest original single, “Distance,” written and sung by bandleader Isabel Fryszberg, who also provided the artwork for the accompanying animated video. “Distance” is about the desire for intimacy and connection at a time when it is being challenged at every turn.
Fryszerg’s multi-disciplinary work and practices are like she explains “open, honest, heartfelt expression and the wish to communicate it through her art.” Ranging from being a visual artist, a singer-songwriter, a documentary filmmaker and a professional arts-based occupational therapist, Fryszerg integrates all her creative endeavors with integrity and a passionate desire to combine art-making, equity, community and well-being. Her songs are informed by folk, country, rock, jazz, blues and American music.
The “uncommonly good” Canadian band also often features some of Toronto’s final veteran musicians. Fryszerg is famously known for her romantic music as Cashbox Magazine Canada explains, “if you came for the voicebox and the heartbreak, Isabel delivers the goods with an uncommon authenticity.”
The song “Distance,” which is a languid tango about the yearning for connection in a time of separation, was produced by Mitch Girio and features guitarist Steve Briggs, trumpeter Rebecca Hennessy, drummer Gary Craig and singer Rebecca Campbell on background vocals.
“When I wrote this song, I was thinking about how our everyday handshake, social kiss and hug have become dramatically altered now,” explains Fryszerg on her online website. “No matter what your situation is, whether you are single, coupled or in a family household, the way we relate to each other socially has changed and now carries an underlying tension. But these were unconscious thoughts and the song came about very intuitively. It germinated from a place of longing for fearless touch, embrace, dance and connection.”
The irony of “Distance” is that it is a sensuous, sinuous tango — a dance that involves two dancers constantly maintaining intimate contact with each other. Fryszerg explained that the song came “from a place of longing for fearless touch, embrace, dance and connection,” while she was driving home after a long day.
She explained that she had never composed a tango before but that the melody came and was influenced by the rhythm of the song. Tangos, a Latin social dance, naturally expresses the tension and passion that she wanted to convey and states, “which would be forbidden publicly today as all dances.”
Keeping up with the theme of the song title, each of the musicians recorded their parts separately, at diverse times and in different locations.
“We were all carefully distanced in our recording process but somehow deeply connected to the intention of the song,” said Fryszerg. It gave them freedom of expression inspiration and allowed all the artists to be authentically themselves without any inhibitions.
The beautiful and moving animated music video for “Distance” features very delightful visuals that combine textured watercolour backgrounds, fanciful figures in motion and a few slightly surrealistic images, all Isabel’s original artwork.
“Finally, being able to fuse my original artwork to my music has been like a dream come true,” said Fryszerg. “Ronley Teper and her partner, Saul Lederman, created the magic in the animated music video that they crafted from my artwork.”
The release of the song and music video could not be more perfectly scheduled, this February, the season of love.
“The video for ‘Distance’ is my gift,” Fryszerg explained, “intended as a lovely box of chocolates to open and enjoy on Valentine’s Day, no matter what your relationship status!”