Recorded Live on Fogo Island, Newfoundland. ‘Second Sight’ is available now on Double-Vinyl, CD & Digital @ http://heyrosetta.com/store/ or on iTunes @ http://smarturl.it/HR-SecondSight. Directed & Produced by Mark Bennett. Produced with the help of MuchFACT, NLAC, and Fogo Island Arts.
Late last May we strapped our van and trailer full of recording gear and took off through the melting snow to Fogo Island (a small island off the northeast coast of our home province Newfoundland). We wanted to record and film some of our new songs in inspiring spaces – spaces that suited them, spaces that heightened them. We’d been hearing about the magical buildings being constructed on Fogo Island for the past few years – these off-the-grid, Scandinavian-looking artist studios and this huge, floating, luxury eco-inn – and like any nosey local, wanted to see them for ourselves.
I’d actually been hearing about Fogo Island for many years from my own family – my great-grandmother and great-aunt were originally from there and my great-uncle used to talk about it with a misty-eyed, almost evangelical zeal. I always imagined a kind of heaven. And he was kind of right- though it’s a constantly windy, bitterly cold, terribly isolated, Newfoundland outport kind of heaven.
A place of contradiction. It’s warm and welcoming, despite the ice in the bay. It’s calm and relaxed, despite the thick, mystical, ever-shifting fog. It’s rich and vibrant, despite the long-decimated fishing economy. And now, with these otherworldly structures poking out of the stark and marshy moonscape like hallucinations, and with the worldly artists and wealthy visitors they attract, it all still somehow manages to feel laid back and humble and home.
And our trip was likewise contradictory – a rush, with so many moments of stillness, with little sleep and plenty of stress and so many hearty laughs. As a band of Newfoundlanders who try to build things that are new and beautiful and dreamlike out of a place so old, cold, solid and stoic, I think the spaces spoke to us. Loudly, and in our own language. And so the rooms fit the songs, like mitts over palms.
The result is this short film of Fogo Island and our visit to it – three performances scattered through the mist and moor and all the lovely encounters and the windy white spaces that reflected the tunes back at us and into the mics. Fair warning though, it takes its time – like riding to the island on the old ferry, or waiting for the tide to come up the long rocky beach, or like setting up to multitrack a 7-piece band in an artist studio run on solar panels and a woodstove – there is nothing instantaneous about any of it. So dig in, steep a cup of tea, have a spell (as my great-uncle used to say) and come along.
We’d like to specially acknowledge the talented workhorse Mark Bennett for envisioning and filming and editing it all. And to the audio engineering dreamteam of Richard White and our own Romesh for capturing the spirit of the spaces and the songs so deftly. And to the Shorefast Foundation and the Fogo Island Arts’ Artist in Residency Program, to MuchFact, to NFB (for the inspiration and for our projection of The Fogo Process), to Rachel Cameron Burns (ultimately the dreamer of the dream) and to the wonderful people of Fogo Island.