FOONYAP at the Ironwood
The classically-trained artist performs at the Ironwood Stage & Grill for the world release of her new album, Palimpsest
By Alex Warkenin, Staff Writer
Nestled in the heart of historic Inglewood sits the Ironwood Stage & Grill, a combined “dinner-and-a-show” venue with dimly-lit walls covered in paintings of iconic artists and pop culture figures.
When entering, one is immediately struck by a distinct feeling of nostalgia, a longing for yesteryear and a yearning for the time when shows were held in these cozy, intimate settings.
FOONYAP, one of the Calgary music scene’s best kept secrets, is debuting her latest album Palimpsest to a quickly filling crowd in a special one-day early event for her hometown before she sets off on a Canada-wide tour that will go until almost the end of the year.
The show opens with a performance by The Hermitess, pseudonym of harpist Jennifer Crighton, featuring an eclectic “Renaissance Faire” vibe complete with four-woman choir and Crighton’s boyfriend expertly rocking both the dulcimer and the hurdy-gurdy.
Crighton’s talented fingers strike each note of her standing harp with a confident certainty as she plays through her repertoire of baroque melodies.
After what seems like an unfortunately short set, Crighton finishes up to the sounds of applause as the room continues to fill.
There is a distinct change in atmosphere the moment that FOONYAP enters the stage.
The air in the venue seems to stand still, all movement is ceased and a hush falls over the crowd.
Her movements are calculated and deliberate, displaying an eloquence that exemplifies the essence of true showmanship as she picks up her miniature electric guitar and begins to play through her yet-unheard album for the first time in a live setting.
Her voice begins soft, barely louder than a whisper, sharing for the first time the opening bars of what will undoubtedly prove to be a spirited performance, and to which the audience hangs on intently to every sung lyric.
This quiet foray changes, however, as she begins “THE FUN MACHINE,” an older song that’s been reworked for a place on Palimpsest, which showcases FOONYAP’s gifted and powerful voice as she belts out line after line regarding the mechanical subject featured in the heavy tune.
A talented multi-instrumentalist, FOONYAP switches between guitar, synthesizer and violin (in which she’s classically trained) effortlessly as she traverses through her minimalistic blend of electronic and folk.
The only issue with the translation of FOONYAP’s album from studio to live is that there is a necessary reliance on loops to capture the layered sound that is achieved on Palimpsest.
Looping does prove to be problematic at points, and there is the occasional misstep, but FOONYAP pushes through as though unaffected, and manages to keep the crowd spellbound as she explores the textured complexities of “THE FUN MACHINE” and “Palimpsest.”
She ends the show with “Me + You,” a heartbreaker of a love song that best encapsulates the feeling emanating from the crowd to the performer, and it’s with a final “thank you” that the audience fills the space FOONYAP commands with thunderous applause.
A FOONYAP performance is one you definitely won’t want to miss, and if you’re interested you’re in luck. FOONYAP is set to perform at the Femme Wave festival on Nov. 17.