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Jasmine Trails. Photo: Colin Medley.

Talking Albums: Jasmine Trails

By John McDonald on April 20, 2020

Jasmine Trails (aka Allie O’Manique) recently released a 4-song EP that’s been well received. So much so that “Alive and Well,” from the EP, is a 2020 Capital Music Awards Song of the Year nominee. Today, in our ongoing Talking Albums series, she tells us how she’s been spending her stay-at-home days, her favourite listening formats, and what she’s been listening to.

Jasmine Trails:

I recognize that I am extremely lucky to be in the safe position that I am in now, and I am sending all my thoughts to everyone who is sacrificing their safety to take care of others.

During this time I’ve been singing, playing piano, reading, walking in the woods, watching movies, stretching, writing, meditating, painting and practicing a whole lot of mindful gratitude.

I mostly listen to vinyl at home. I’ve tried to collect my all-time favourites and enjoy my collection deeply. When I’m trying to discover music without spending money, I like streaming music. It’s pretty mind-blowing that we have access to such an expansive collection of music at our fingertips. I am very grateful for that, but nothing beats spinning a record in the evening, cool breeze, candles lit… wonderful!

The first album I would recommend listening to would be The Enchanting Nayyara Noor by Nayyara Noor.

Her voice is smooth and uplifting and holds so many moments of sheer bliss! It’s the perfect music to rise in the morning to, have a cup of coffee or tea, stretch out your body and wiggle a little! It’s music for sunshine.

The second album I would recommend is Kailash: Pilgrimage to the Throne of the Gods by Florian Fricke & Popol Vuh.

It is a life-changing record, filled with grounding, peaceful, sob-worthy pieces. A great, introspective album for looking out the window, reading, painting, napping, meditating or just doing plain old nothing. It will bring you peace!

Jasmine’s thoughts on her EP:

The four-song Jasmine Trails EP has been described as a move from her previous releases to an “astonishingly intelligent psych-pop, verging on lush, with slow-pitched, trasheteria oddities.” The Ottawa Citizen said that “her dreamy alt-pop style has evolved into something more polished and bold.”

Does Allie believe that there was much of a departure with this EP?

“I feel as though my music has mostly just changed technically since the other releases. I got to record the EP in a studio with Mike Dubue and had amazing musicians playing with me (Jamieson Mackay on guitar and Pascal Delaquis on drums) who really helped me create the energy I was looking for.

In terms of lyrical content, it sits the same as my other releases, with a sort of brutal honesty hidden behind a lot of metaphorical symbolism. I think the EP is a youthful perspective on growth and transformation. Life-altering choices are made throughout the EP, starting with ‘Dream Girl,’ which involves a growing awareness of ‘I deserve pure love, better, kinder, bigger.’

‘Candles’ is the discovery of sensuality, the excitement of new love, setting aside the past and the emotional barriers to be in that very moment. ‘Mourning,’ a song about welcoming and embracing the strange behaviours of the mind in times of grief. An ode to finding magic in just feeling, and growing radiantly and openly in times of healing.

‘Alive and Well’ wrapping it up with the biggest choice of all, the choice that beyond all grief, when I look up at a pink sky, a tall tree, the steam of a shower, it is all beautiful and I choose to go on with peace and gratitude in my heart.”

About Nayyara Noor

Nayyara Noor is considered one of South Asia’s most popular playback singers and stage performers. Playback singers record songs for films which actors or actresses then lip-sync for the camera. The actual singer does not appear on screen. Known as The Tragedy Queen for her sad, melodious songs, Nayyara had no formal musical background or training. In 1971, she made her public singing debut in a Pakistani television serial before beginning her playback singing in films two years later.

Best of Nayyara Noor on YouTube

About Florian Fricke Kailash – Pilgrimage to The Throne of the Gods

In west Tibet sits Kailash, the holiest mountain in Asia. The path around the mountain is an archaic “path of initiation.” Keyboardist Florian Fricke, one of the founders of the German musical collective Popol Vuh, and filmmaker Frank Fiedler (also a founding member of Popol) made a spiritual trek along this path and documented the journey. Kailash – Pilgrimage to The Throne of the Gods is the accompanying soundtrack album to the film.

More from Jasmine Trails:

Alive and Well – Live at the Drake Underground

Wicked Game (cover) Live at Club Saw, February 8, 2020