Any instrument will do

by November 11, 2011

It is standard operating procedure for media to discuss a musician only when there’s a “hook”; in other words, when an album has been released, a tour begun, or a scandal broken. Here at SCOPE we watch for hooks too, but our definition of a hook includes those times when we happen across a musician or band that is so good that waiting for a new album would be an exercise in frustration — not to mention needlessly depriving our readers of some great music.

Basia Bulat is one such. Hailing from Toronto, she’s getting better known in Canada — having been nominated for a “Best New Artist” JUNO award (Canada’s version of the GRAMMYs) this past year certainly helped — but her name will likely ring only a few bells beyond the country’s borders. This will almost certainly change, however: Bulat’s songs are complex and addictively tuneful at the same time, and her performance is skilled enough to make an instrument as obscure and un-hip as the autoharp seem like something that Eddie Van Halen should have considered taking up.

Now that I’ve sold you on the autoharp, here’s Bulat playing her 2010 song “Go On” on the, um, guitar:

You can hear more of her music on Myspace: