Van Lefan takes a deep dive into our shared ancestry and interconnected existence with her exotic, thought-provoking and beautiful new single Bodies Of Water — premiering exclusively on Tinnitist.
How did we get here? Who came before us? These are questions that Van Lefan invites the listener to ponder as they experience the rich, mesmerizing sonic world of Bodies of Water, the first preview of the Taiwanese-born, West Coast-based multidisciplinary artist’s forthcoming album What Holds Us Together. Set against a reggae backbeat tastefully decorated with ukulele, percussion, flute and bodhran, the ebbing and flowing track elegantly frames the eastern melodicism of Van’s syncopated vocals as she asks us to consider who we are in relation to our ancestry, the land we are from, the land we are on now, the bodies of water we live in, the bodies of water we crossed — and what responsibilities we have together, here and now.
Authentic, vulnerable and inspired, Van Lefan (樂凡, she/they) honours music as powerful medicine for healing, connection, transformation, and change. Born and raised in rural northern Taiwan, and immigrating to the unceded territories of the Squamish, Musqueam & Tsleil-Waututh First Nations at the age of 11, Van has a complicated relationship with residing on these ancestral lands. The theme of displacement profoundly informs their work, along with deep contemplation around the impact of remaining on or leaving this land she has grown to love and call home.
Due April 23, her debut album What Holds Us Together is an inquiry into personal and collective experience; a sonic journey that synergizes folk, pop, world music, experimental soundscapes and poetry. Together, these stories weave a multi-sensory tapestry of ancestry, identity, ecological reverence and social justice. From her earliest memories, Van has been singing with her mother, falling asleep to her father’s lullabies, and inspired by Taiwanese folk/pop songs by Chyi Yu, Tsai Chin and Tiger Huang. To her family, songs are the language of love, celebration, connection, and expression.
What Holds Us Together is a product of this childhood, spent playing in farm fields, growing food with her grandparents and cultivating a deep sense of connection to the natural cycles of life. It is also a product of witnessing the industrialization of her hometown, and a reflection on watching helplessly as those fields she knew turned into factories that poured toxic dyes into streams once filled with life. Weaving the threads of environmental and social justice together with great respect for plant medicine and ancestral origin, What Holds Us Together is a deep introspection on the meaning of belonging while navigating the realities of displacement.
Van’s performances have moved audiences worldwide, including a 2019 tour of Taiwan and Japan with celebrated roots/soul artist Buckman Coe. She shares a voice that transcends culture and language, speaking directly to the heart and spirit. Traversing landscapes of sound, movement, and visual arts, her work is both an invitation to inner exploration and a call to action.