Great Aunt Ida
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Great Aunt Ida


Band Folk Pop


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"How They Fly press quotes"

"Great Aunt Ida is back with a new album of relaxed and natural talent.This is what excites me. This is what pop music is all about."

-- CBC Radio 3 (Grant Lawrence)

Ida sounds more like a shy 10-year-old girl whispering secrets into the microphone than my great aunt – but this vocal innocence creates an interesting contrast with her mature sound and literary lyrics. With a Radiohead-esque melodic sense and a Rachel-esque darkness, B.C. pianist Ida Nilsen creates lovely little indie-pop poems to sooth crooked hearts. Coded musings on love and snippets of strange friendships are wrapped in angular chords and built up by her fabulous rhythm section, bassist Scott Malin and drummer Barry Mirochnick, who has also played with Neko Case and Christine Fellows. She oversees some atmospheric horn and string arrangements and welcomes friends Jesse Zubot, Ford Pier and Veda Hille. Great Aunt Ida’s Canada Council grant has certainly been put to good use here.

- Mary Beth Carty - Penguin Eggs Winter 2006

How They Fly is a collection of 12 songs, all liminal and mysterious, with moments that alternately transport the listener into a nouvellevague movie and then a border-experience; there is genuine mystery, and melancholy throughout, not to mention that ineffable thing that discerning listeners recognize as grace.

-The Nerve Jan 2007

"...gently awed by her songs' deliberateness, tenderness and quietude, also by her band's expert dedication to mood and feeling, all necessary components for the expression of presence in its delightful elusiveness."

-- Zulu Records

While Great Aunt Ida’s debut album, Our Fall, was stunning in its quiet sparseness, How They Fly shows a bolder, more confident side to singer-songwriter Ida Nilsen’s sound. Front and centre are her vocals, almost childlike in their soft sweetness; her lyrics, on the other hand, provide a far darker contrast.

-Georgia Straight Oct 2006

"Great Aunt Ida sounds gorgeous on this well-constructed full-length. Nilsen's songs are all invested with more hopeful instrumentation and she is often more playful in her wordplay. Great Aunt Ida lulls you into loving her with "How They Fly."

-- Exclaim! Magazine

"fraught with admonishment, yet somehow manages to avoid flat-out misanthropy."

-- Toronto Star

"Ida Nilsen builds on the promise of last year's debut. All dozen cuts deliver more depth with eachlisten."
Rating: A-

-- The Province

"Great Aunt Ida, or singer and pianist Ida Nilsen's songwriting outlet has mastered the art of emphasizing simplicity over complexity, to create a sound that encompasses both inherently. How They Fly is even more of a succinct masterpiece that should raise Great Aunt Ida's stature on Canada's folk meets country map considerably."

-- View Magazine

"a superb second CD, How They Fly is Nilsen's poetic skill that really captivates."

--Tandem Magazine

This is quiet music with presence, plus an involving continuum of stories, of longing, love, curiosity, and rebirth.

- Erasing Clouds October 2006

Like a modern day Joni Mitchell she navigates around her songs with instinct.

- Americana UK Oct 2006 - various


Our Fall - 2005 Hive Fi / Scratch
How They Fly - 2006 Northern Electric / Fontana North / Universal



Great Aunt Ida is a Vancouver-based pop band led by multi-instrumentalist and composer Ida Nilsen, best known as a member of experimental rock quintet the Beans, alt-roots Radiogram, and more recently the Violet Archers and the Buttless Chaps. A long awaited vehicle for Nilsen’s talents as a singer and songwriter, Great Aunt Ida also includes Barry Mirochnick drums (Veda Hille, Neko Case, Martin Tielli), Scott Malin bass (Joel RL Phelps & the Secret Three) and JP Carter trumpet (Tony Wilson, the Inhabitants,).

While Ida Nilsen found her own voice on Great Aunt Ida's 2005 debut, "Our Fall", now, with "How They Fly", she's made that voice a little easier for others to discover. The earlier disc was a sombrely beautiful collection of whispery monologues, but on Great Aunt Ida's second effort Nilsen is singing from centre stage -- and from a new place of confidence in her art.