Joanna Wallfisch talks about doing seven things at once in her Edinburgh Fringe show
Name: Joanna Wallfisch
Name of Edinburgh show: Joanna Wallfisch presents: The Great Song Cycle, Song Cycle
Venue: theSpace UK – Surgeons Hall AND Triplex Studio
Performance time: Aug 13-18: 1205 @ Surgeons Hall // Aug 20-25: 2005 @Triplex Studio
Show length: 50min
Ticket price: £8 / £5
Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your performing background?
I am a singer-songwriter originally from London, though I now live in LA, after six years in New York City. If I had to describe my music as a cross between Joni Mitchell and Ella Fitzgerald, with a sprinkling of Bon Iver. I perform with a baritone ukulele and create soundscapes with my voice using a loop pedal, though I also often perform with a full band. I have released four albums, all can be found on iTunes, the latest is called Blood and Bone, and many of the songs were written during the journey that inspired my Edinburgh Fringe piece.
Tell me about your show, what it is all about?
So, long story short, two years ago I released my third album, “Gardens In My Mind” in 2016. To celebrate its release I decided to do a west coast tour… by bicycle. I called this tour The Great Song Cycle. Travelling 1,154miles from Portland to LA, performing 16 solo shows along the way, what transpired was a tour filled with unexpected brilliance, from the unique way I experienced the landscape to the weird and wonderful encounters I had with people along the way. Since then I have turned this journey into a through composed piece, including song and spoken word, that invites the audience to saddle up and travel with me. I will accompany myself on uke, toy piano, kazoo, and loop pedal, while I weave true tales from the surreal to the fantastic, to the truly unbelievable.
How long have you been working on this show and what is it that makes it relevant to audiences in 2018?
I’ve been working on it for two years. Travelling by bicycle was a true reminder of how incredible our landscape and earth is, and how important it is to sustain and protect it. Not only that, but travelling alone and on a bike I met so many kind strangers. It broke down barriers of judgement, fear and suspicion, and left me with a greater feeling of want to trust and know my neighbours.
Do you have any top tips for surviving the Edinburgh Fringe Festival – both for performers and visitors to the event?
This is my first ever time to the Fringe… but the advice from a past performer was “just drink loads of whisky!”
Do you have any pre-show rituals?
I used to have more, but these days I am performing so much, and often on a tour where there isn’t much time from arriving to show time, so I have released some of my hang ups of pre-show rituals. I am an avid swimmer, so it’s always a good thing if I can have a swim the morning of a show.
What other acts are you looking forward to seeing at Edinburgh Fringe?
I am scouring the programme, and am excited to discover so many acts that are new to me – especially in the realm of circus and theatre. I would love to sing in circus.
Why do you think people should come and see your show over the thousands of others on at the fringe?
Because it is a show like no other. It is a true story musical that paints a picture of adventure, empowerment, overcoming fears and embracing the beauty of taking a chance in life. Also, it is rare that you get to see a performer doing seven things at once, perfectly – such as controlling a loop pedal with my toes, while simultaneously playing toy piano with my right hand, singing through a kazoo and doing percussion with my left hand, all the while interjecting hilarious tales of a friendship with a fairground statue. My show will move you to tears and laughter, and make you want to travel the world by bicycle.