Little Miss Higgins is hounded by evil spirits on her hauntingly powerful single Le Tchian du Bouôlay — premiering exclusively on Tinnitist.
The latest preview of the Manitoba musician’s new multifaceted project The Fire Waltz — which includes a five-part weekly podcast debuting Feb. 14 and a full-length album arriving a month later — Le Tchian du Bouôlay has plenty of bite, thanks to the pounding drumbeat and howling slide guitar that surround Higgins’ plaintively forlorn vocals and bewitching lyrical fable.
“Le Tchian du Bouôlay is a song about a mythical creature from Jersey Island, where the story of The Fire Waltz begins,” Higgins explains. “I discovered while doing research for the piece, tales of a big black dog with giant glowing eyes called Le Tchian du Bouôlay. And so I wove themes of haunting dogs, wolves and coyotes throughout the whole story. This song is a favourite. Kris Demeanor took the lead on writing this one and played guitar and sang harmonies on the recording. I sang the lead vocal, backed by some of Manitoba’s finest musicians: Eric Lemoine on electric slide guitar, Gilles Fournier on bass, Joanna Miller on drums and Matt Foster on harmonies too.”
There’s plenty more where that came from. Inspired by stories of her great-grandmother Eva Bersay, Higgins has created a one-of-a-kind audio experience that offers a riveting tale of an extraordinary woman. The Fire Waltz follows Eva on her journey to Canada from Jersey Island, off the northern coast of France, during the early 1900s. Attempting to escape her marriage, Eva’s narrative reveals a world at war and the uncertainties of the aftershocks. It is a depiction of the power and perils of love, family and expectation in a time when women had few rights and often little respect. On stolen land, Eva goes against the odds, finding security in the unsuspecting Whiskey Gap along the Milk River Ridge of Southern Alberta.
Based upon old photos, postcards, letters, a travel journal and stories gathered from family, the music-driven project took shape in October 2019. Higgins and her two main collaborators, Demeanor and Eric Rose, began by telling the story through song titles. After that, 18 songs were written in 12 days. Initially it was intended for theatre, but when the pandemic hit, Higgins switched to a podcast and album. She wanted to link the songs with narrative, drawing on old radio plays. Scripts were written, more artists were gathered, even more songs were created. Working both in studio and remotely, Higgins and her team from across Western Canada recorded. Then she sound-designed the piece while engineer Jamie Sitar put everything together. Thus, Season 1 of The Fire Waltz has come to fruition.
The first episode of the podcast and Le Tchian du Bouôlay will be released on Feb. 14, with weekly episodes until the finale on March 14, which coincides with the release of The Fire Waltz album. Listen to Le Tchian du Bouôlay above and get more information from Little Miss Higgins’ website, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.