Alissa Skorik combines the old with the new. She plays a traditional Native American spirit flute accompanied by modern backing tracks.
“I still love traditional spirit flute music,” Alissa explained, “but it’s not my favourite music. Most traditional music is ambient. It’s difficult to keep a crowd’s attention with that music, especially younger audiences, so I incorporate more synthesizers, more drums, and faster tempos.”
The backing tracks are designed in collaboration by Alissa and her manager, Marc Nadjiwan, an singer and songwriter in his own right. “Marc is really, really skilled,” said Alissa, “not only from a performance perspective, but from a compositional perspective.” It was Marc who created the background tracks for Alissa’s 2014 debut album, Eluna.
Alissa Skorik’s 2014 debut album, Eluna
Alissa began playing the spirit flute in 2009, when she was 12. She was inspired to take up the instrument after seeing the Canadian film Where the Spirit Lives in history class. As she taught herself to play, Alissa listened to spirit flautists like David Maracle (with whom she would later perform), Carlos Nakia, and Pedro Eustache, as well as the Peruvian band Alborada.
“I’m self-taught, so my music theory isn’t amazing,” said Alissa. “It can be challenging when other musicians are spewing theory at you, but luckily my ears are good enough to hear what other musicians are doing.”
In September, Alissa will begin her degree in Music Industry Arts and Performance at Centennial College. Because there is no one on faculty who teaches spirit flute, Alissa will either study privately with the saxophone instructor or the Dean of Music.
“The instrument is dying out,” said Alissa. “If there is anything I can do to inspire more people to take it up, I want to do that.”
Alissa Skorik will perform at TEDx Mississauga on July 22. She will be also be appearing at Studio .89’s Coffee House open mic night on June 29. For more information about Alissa, visit her website at www.alissaskorikofficial.com. You can also follow her Twitter page @alissaskorik for upcoming performances.