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Songwriter comes home

Daron Letts
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Dec 02/05) - In the 1990s, the capital's live music scene offered fertile ground from which young Northern talent could blossom.

That's where singer/songwriter Indio Saravanja began his music career. He launches his first full length CD at the Northern Arts and Cultural Centre on the night of his 33rd birthday next week.

NNSL Photo/graphic

Indio Saravanja's self titled CD features 11 original songs recorded in Whitehorse last January. He will return to Yellowknife for a Dec. 8 concert at the Northern Arts and Cultural Centre. - photo courtesy of Pablo Saravanja

His mature talent will remind the community how a vigorous music scene can nurture creative potential.

Born in Argentina and raised in the North, Saravanja explored the world as a wandering musician.

When he returns home, again, to perform songs from his self-titled CD, he'll be joined by a couple of members of his band and Yellowknife bassist Pat Braden, who also played on the album.

"I'm really looking forward to playing with Pat Braden again," Saravanja said. "He's probably the best bass player I've ever met in my life, and I've played all over."

When Saravanja left Yellowknife as a teenager, he refined his musical skills as a street musician. He played for pedestrians on sidewalks and for commuters in subways across Montreal, Toronto and in the U.S. and Europe.

"I went back to Yellowknife from New York City when I was 20 years old and I walked into a very, very vibrant musical community where I could pay my dues and learn," he said. "I didn't know much about playing with bands in bars. Yellowknife kicked my ass and taught me everything."

For those few years in the 1990s, Saravanja played constantly in clubs like the Cave and the Gallery.

"There used to be 10 bands playing every night of the week," he said. "If I stayed in New York or Toronto I never would have been able to play as much as I did in Yellowknife."

He fronted a string of bands and backed up big names who flew up from the south, like Winnipeg blues legend Big Dave McLean.

"It was amazing," he recalled.

The new album features 11 original songs. Saravanja's voice sounds like a mellow blend of Bob Dylan and Tom Petty. His poetic lyrics to songs such as Northern Town roll together much like Tom Waits' early recordings.

Today, Saravanja lives in the Gulf Islands region of B.C. He recorded his CD last January with Whitehorse's independent Caribou Records label.

The Dec. 8 concert marks the first time Saravanja will perform original songs in Yellowknife since he played the once-lively Yellowknife music scene with 25 Kingsize.