Christa Couture is a Cree/Metis folk artist who was all but destined for a life in music — her Cree father was a traditional ceremonial singer and her mother was in a popular traveling singing group called the Cellar Dwellers. On September 4, Couture released her latest album, The Living Record.
The industry recognizes Couture’s talent — her last release won Best Folk Acoustic Album at the Canadian Aboriginal Awards, hit the Top 10 on CBC (the Canadian national broadcast) Radio 3, and spawned a #1 single on the National Aboriginal Music Countdown. Yet she remains humble and appreciative. When asked about her accolades, she responds that “the best kind of accolade is at a live show when someone tells me they were moved by my music, and that they can relate, or connect to it.”
ICTMN spoke with Christa as she was gearing up for a Canadan tour in support of The Living Record which is now in full swing — see ChristaCouture.com for a list of dates.
ICTMN: How much of The Living Record is tradition and how much is the contemporary Christa Couture?
Couture: The album musically is contemporary and falls under indie folk, or alt-folk. The sonic palette is diverse, with fuzzy guitar, bluegrass-style pickin’, cello, chorus-like vocal arrangements and a touch of cabaret. But I consider my practice as a writer in a traditional sense – that my songs come to me as gifts, in moments of inspiration, or through spirit, the creative flow. I do my best to receive them and in turn share them. I also never write my songs down – until it comes to recording in the studio and I have to write the lyrics down for the album artwork.
When they come to me I just practice them until I know I’ll remember it later – and sometimes I don’t! But for me it is my own aural process, that I know the songs only by singing them to myself.
What’s the significance of the album’s title?
The title The Living Record comes from a lyric in one of the songs – “I’m the living record, I’m the work of art that was made by your presence” and it refers to what we carry forward from our experiences and the people who have shaped us, particularly people who have died and what we, as the living, carry within us of them. It also refers to a record as in album, and that there is such life in music.
The bulk of this album was recorded live off the floor so that we could capture that feeling of people making music together. Humans! Playing actual instruments! Recording an album can be like taking a photograph – it’s so specific to the moment and the people that were there.
You are going on tour in Canada – how much will be previous songs and how much will be new stuff?
In my upcoming Canadian tour, it will be mostly playing the new material. I’ll be touring as a trio for the first time, with two very fine musicians, Scott Perrie and Jeremy Breaks, and so I’ll start by teaching them the new stuff, and working in a couple songs from the last albums. Maybe by the time we get to Montreal, we’ll have worked out more of the older material together, but for me it’s most exciting to share what’s new and close to the surface, creatively.
What’s going on for you these days and what’s to come in the future for Christa Couture?
Right now the only thing going on for me is getting this album out into the world and getting my but on the road for this seven week tour coming up. Once I’m home from that, I’ll be looking at booking additional Eastern Canadian dates in the spring, as well as a few US and European dates. Next summer I’ll be touring a few of the music festivals across Canada, and after that, well that’s a year from now – my mind boggles to try and think that far ahead! But I’ve got the next year mapped out and we’ll see what comes after that.
To learn more about Couture and hear samples from her new album, visit christacouture.com