Carmen Braden


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1) At what age did you find that you had a passion for art and how did it happen?

I was involved in music from a very young age - around 5 years old, piano lessons and music in school. Then starting in my early teens I began to move towards the more creative side of music, writing my own songs. Later, around 17 years old, I took lessons in jazz piano, and learned about improvising and composition and music analysis - that was when I really got excited about music, and the making of music.

2) How did your parents respond to your wish to be an artist?

They were very supportive, and I have to thank them a million times over for that!

3) Can you name any other artists that you admire and tell us why?

Locally in the north - the dramatic duo Quantum Tangle for rising quickly to critical acclaim while still staying raw and real. Same for the Jerry Cans in Nunavut!

Nationally in Canada - Tegan and Sara for exploring new kinds of music (they have awesome pop music out now) and rocking it each time.

Internationally - Tom Waits for his wild music, amazing lyric, and commitment to personal mystery.

Not with us anymore - Miles Davis for his awareness of space, his melodies, and his ability to bring together amazing other artists on his projects.

4) How would you describe your style as an artist?


5) Please tell us about your upcoming work with Northern Sights?

We froze an upright piano into the ice of Great Slave Lake so the piano strings vibrate into the ice and water below. I wrote a sparse tune called Changes with lyrics and a rough musical improv track. We choreographed three takes of myself performing the work, so you see multiples of me depending on which way you turn in the 360 world. It was produced at very low temperatures in the winter - and I hope that chilly feeling gets conveyed in the final work!

6) What kind of art would you like to see more of in the Northwest Territories?

The next phase of traditional arts and music are coming, and will be fascinating. Such as Margaret Nazon’s cosmic beadwork, Copper Quartz Media’s storytelling like their Wild Kitchen show, or Leela Gilday’s upcoming album.

7) If there a young artist who is looking at finding their passion what advice would you give them?

Keep your passions broad, but go deep with everything you do. That can be exhausting and risky but it will help you to make the best possible art.

8) What would you like the future to hold for the artists in Northwest Territories?

More full-time, professional artists working in more fields.

9) If you could partner with anyone in the world living or passed who would it be and why?

Tom Waits, because his mind and creative output are like going into an automobile junkyard that’s been taken over by the most beautiful poisonous orchids, and that would be a cool place to make art.

10) What is your next big project?

Three commissions to write over the winter!