CANMORE – For Nurdjana, singing and playing guitar will always remind her of family.
Her recently released single – "Thinking of You" – marks a return to music that was 10 years in the making.
“What is most special to me, is that this single kicks off the Basement Gold project I started,” Nurdjana said, referring to her plans for the collection of music she inherited from her late father, Rob.
“It’s a way for me to still connect with him. He was a very talented songwriter and musician. But he was a very modest and humble man, and so was never really good at promoting his own music. So, I’m trying to put his music in the spotlight for him.”
Nurdjana is Canmore-based vocalist Nurdjana de Rijcke. She was born and raised in the Netherlands, and shortly after immigrating to Canada, her father passed away. They had shared a passion for music, and had even performed together, beginning when Nurdjana was in her teens.
After her father died, music took a back seat to motherhood and a career in her new country, and it wasn’t until her children got into an old box of sheet music and lyrics that Nurdjana realized she needed to preserve her father’s artistic legacy. In another box there was a collection of demos, CDs and hard drives filled with recordings.
“And then I ran into this song, and I was listening to it and I had this flashback, and I was like ‘wait, we played this song a long time ago,’ ” Nurdjana said.
A seed was planted. After approaching a colleague from the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, who happens to be a recording engineer, it was suggested that the songs could be re-imagined.
“It’s really weird, because when I heard this song for the first time [after so many years], it was so beautiful I actually didn’t want to change it,” Nurdjana said. “But then working with other people, of course, opens you up to different input. Especially when you work with a producer, he has different views on it. It was actually really cool to let that go.”
The single "Thinking of You" was released on Dec. 11, and the pop stylings of the song are reminiscent of recordings by Anouk, Daughter and Dido. Ed Renzi plays bass on the track, John Kyle Varley plays keyboards, and Lucas Meijers features on guitar.
In all, there are 58 of Rob de Rijcke songs that have been recovered and catalogued, and Nurdjana hopes to release an EP in the spring. She is also exploring grant options in order to produce a full-length album in the future.
"Thinking of You" is available on Spotify, Apple/iTunes and Amazon Music. Go to Nurdjana.com for more information on the artist.