Wovoka Gentle is an experimental folk/electro-folk trio from London. They are the twin sisters Imogen and Ellie Mason with William Stokes. I don’t know when they got started, but I know that in 2014, they were busy writing music for theatre productions. Among the things they worked on was an off-West End stage production of What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. I swear, I’m not making that up. It ran for ten days last October.
Presumably, the band named itself after the Native American spiritual leader Wovoka. He was a leader of Northen Paiute tribe, and he did a number of things that had a huge impact on his people both in the spiritual and the real world. According to the legends about him, he could control the weather, form icicles in his hands, and light his pipe with a sunray. During a solar eclipse on New Year’s Day 1889, he had a vision that Jesus Christ has been resurrected as a Native American, and that all of the dead Paiute would be resurrected, and that they would forcibly remove the white people. He said if all Native Americans performed the Ghost Dance, his vision would come to pass. A year passed, and tensions between whites and Native Americans were really mounting in South Dakota. A group of Natives at Wounded Knee refused to give up their land or their weapons to the bullying white soldiers, and
a Ghost Dance broke out. The Natives had been told that among other things, the dance would make their shirts bulletproof. The white men who were there not to fight, but to disarm the Natives, didn’t know what to make of this. When one native, who was deaf, wouldn’t give up his gun, a scuffle ensued. His gun accidentally discharged, and hell broke loose. This incident turned out to be the Wounded Knee Massacre, in which more than 250 Natives were killed. Many of them were women and children. There’s a lot more to this, which you can read for yourself here and here. I need to get back to the music.
In July of this year, Wovoka Gentle released a self-titled EP with a yellow cover. They’re about to release the second EP in November. The forthcoming EP has a blue cover, so the EPs will be called “Yellow” and “Blue” respectively.
I got a couple of emails about the forthcoming release, and unlike most of the stuff that lands in the mail bag, I really like this.
“You Have Saved Our Lives, We Are Eternally Grateful” by Wovoka Gentle
I really like that the electronic elements aren’t over the top. I enjoy that stuff, and there’s certainly a time and place for electro-folk with really heavy “electro” (see: Sylvan Esso), but this is great the way it is.
I also like the way that like a classical music piece or a post-rock song, this song has a few distinct “parts”. They all tie together somehow.
The “Blue” EP will be out on November 27 via Yucatan Records. You can pre-order it here.