Folk Roots Radio Episode 620: Annie Sumi in Conversation – Solastalgia

Folk Roots Radio Episode 620: Annie Sumi in Conversation - Solastalgia

We’ve given over the whole of Episode 620 of Folk Roots Radio to another in-depth interview as Ontario based singer-songwriter Annie Sumi joins us for an incredibly thought-provoking and inspiring conversation about her third studio album, “Solastalgia”. Solastalgia is a beautiful recording with a deep and powerful connection to the earth – that celebrates the marvels of the living world, while also sounding the alarm that we are starting to lose that connection as the natural environment comes under more and more pressure from human development activity and the impact of climate change. Heady stuff, for sure, but these are conversations we need to have. Solastalgia is an album that asks important questions, Where do we go now? and What can I do, as an individual, to make a difference? Lots of food for thought – our interview with Annie Sumi is definitely well-worth checking out. So, settle down and enjoy Annie Sumi… In Conversation… on Folk Roots Radio.

Best 2020

Interview

“Solastalgia” is the third studio album from ethereal folk artist Annie Sumi. It’s a reflection on the impact that climate change, and (what feels like) uncontrolled human development and planetary consumption are having on our individual mental health and collective psyche, and connection to the earth.

The term Solastalgia is one that Australian environmental philosopher Glenn A. Albrecht came up with in his book “Earth Emotions” to describe the lived experience of distressing, negative environmental change – in particular, when the environment is one that the sufferer is inhabiting.

“It is characteristically a chronic condition tied to the gradual erosion of identity created by the sense of belonging to a particular loved place and a feeling of distress, or psychological desolation, about its unwanted transformation. In direct contrast to the dislocated spatial dimensions of traditionally defined nostalgia, solastalgia is the homesickness you have when you are still located within your home environment.”
Glen A. Albrecht

Solastalgia (the album) is a sonic representation of emotional and physical landscapes. For Sumi, the parallel between these two types of landscapes feels inescapable. “A crumbling, a decay, a seeming helplessness, a despair, a visceral pain, an anger, a confusion, a fear, an unknown strength … and, still, a magic, a joy, a resilience, a song, a playfulness, a knowingness, a listening.” By holding the broken pieces of a relationship in one hand and the remnants of familiar landscapes in the other, ‘Solastalgia’ explores the impact of losing a sense of belonging.

“Solastalgia is the ‘homesickness you have when you are still at home’. In a lot of ways, this word shattered me: to be a human and feel a deep connection to the Earth as ‘Home’ and simultaneously participate in the structures we have created to destroy it. Now, it seems like we are slowly remembering to listen to the land and follow the lead of people that have been living traditions of connection and conservation. That space of humility, gratitude, and deep listening is where these songs have come from.”

“One day, when I was walking through the woods I felt this very real presence of a young girl. I felt like she was skipping all around me and bringing me to all of these off-the-path places. I ended up down by the water watching the Kingfishers dive into the river for fish, the smell of the wet cedars filling me with pure delight, the slowly setting embers of the sun. It was literally MAGIC. I felt like it was the spirit of my “someday child” and they were opening my entire being to a brand new world. How deeply I wish to create a place for them to be safe.”

“Reading about the wildfires, floods, climate refugees, and environmental disasters on my news feed… honestly, it became too much. In a lot of ways, writing ‘Solastalgia’ was a healing process, and a step towards re-orienting myself in the world.”

So, where do we go now? For Sumi the answer is not a destination, but a desire to move forward in a more intentional way. Through deep listening – that wordless act of connecting with the land – we begin to feel that we belong to an ecosystem: the rocks, rivers, lakes, and windswept pines. By exploring the grief, loss, and pain of witnessing the destruction of these landscapes, ‘Solastalgia’ dares to dream of a world that puts conservation and connection before capital.

About the Artist:
Annie Sumi is an ethereal-folk artist with a unique ability to capture the subtleties of nature and spin them into melodies. Her latest collection of songs, Solastalgia, will be released in October, 2021. Since the release of her debut album, she has received nominations for “New/Emerging Artist of the Year” (Canadian Folk Music Awards, 2018), “Best Singer-Songwriter” (TIMAs, 2015), “New/Emerging Artist of the Year” (Hidden Roots Collective, CFMAs, 2017), and more. With the support of the Ontario Arts Council, Annie Sumi has carried these landscapes of sound across Canada, parts of the U.S., and central Europe. Her live performance is a journey into the permeable nature of the heart; she is a vulnerable vessel that consistently leaves it all on the stage, and inspires the audience to feel something.

Sumi’s third album, Solastalgia, was written at the foot of Sleeping Buffalo Mountain on Stoney Nakoda and Blackfoot territory at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. The album digests terminology found in Dr. Glenn Albrecht’s Earth Emotions in hopes of creating conversation about the ongoing climate emergency.

For more information about the music of Annie Sumi, visit anniesumi.com

That’s all we have time for. Thanks to all the artists who share their music with us, and thank you for listening. We have lots of great music and interviews to bring you on future episodes.

If you enjoy the music we play on this show and want to support the artists – many of whom aren’t able to play live at the moment because of the Covid-19 pandemic, don’t just stream their music – that earns them much less than a penny per play. Instead, buy their music – and really make a difference to their income. They’ll love you for it!

Listen

You can listen to this episode again on Soundcloud by following the link below. You can also listen to episodes of Folk Roots Radio, on demand, via Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher and Tune-in Radio. (Click on the highlighted link to reach your chosen platform.)

Playlist

Nicolas & The Iceni (Theme)
Lucy She Rises
Roll Right (2019, self)

Annie Sumi
Circles
Solastalgia (2021, Self) CDN

Annie Sumi
Circles
Solastalgia (2021, Self) CDN

Interview: An in-depth conversation with Annie Sumi about her new album “Solastalgia”.

Annie Sumi
Into Nothing
Solastalgia (2021, Self) CDN

Annie Sumi
Mother
Solastalgia (2021, Self) CDN

Annie Sumi
Wild, Wild Country
Solastalgia (2021, Self) CDN

About the author

JAN HALL

Host of Folk Roots Radio, Jan Hall started in Radio in 1993 at WEFT 90.1fm in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. Folk Roots Radio (formerly Royal City Rag) debuted on CFRU 93.3fm in August 2005 before developing into a syndicated radio show. As the host of Folk Roots Radio, Jan focuses on bringing new folk, roots and blues music and the voices of upcoming and independent artists to the airwaves. Jan is also a much sought after stage host and festival emcee. In 2019, Jan Hall received Folk Music Ontario's prestigious Estelle Klein Award for her contribution to Ontario's folk music community.

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