Looped in Love: Carlie Fairburn brings harmony to Tel Aviv

When I was in my twenties, I started up again, taking voice lessons and singing.

(photo credit: ALEXANDER KINIK)
Carlie Fairburn is not your typical singer/songwriter.
With the help of her musician husband, Yosi Chopen, her music incorporates everything from xylophones to didgeridoos, transcending genre. On October 11, Fairburn and Chopen will bring their sublime sound to Suzanne Dellal in Tel Aviv for an exclusive performance of new and old material. With live looping and Carlie’s distinct firey vocals, they’re putting heart and soul into every song.
How did you initially get into music?
Growing up in Avalon, Australia, I sang in the choir in school until I was 12. The choir teacher really loved me; she used to give me all these special parts and solos. Then when I was 12 or 13, I moved and stopped singing.
But when I was in my twenties, I started up again, taking voice lessons and singing. Then, I went to India and brought a little mp3 player with me, and there I kind of taught myself the guitar and started really singing. I wrote my first song and it snowballed from there. It was called “Dragonfly.”
I had been trying to write a lot before that, but it just never came together until then. That first song came to me, as all my songs have afterwards, as kind of a download from the heavens.
Who are your musical influences? When I was growing up, I listened to a lot of Tracy Chapman and Natalie Merchant. Then, as I got older, I discovered Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan. They probably influenced me more with their storytelling.
These days, I really love Bon Iver and Nick Drake.
Your music is very transcendent. Can you talk about all the different sounds and instruments that you incorporate?
I had a wonderful band in Tel Aviv that I played with for a couple of years. Then, I discovered that I had nodules on my vocal chords and I had to stop singing for a while. That was a really crazy time. When I was ready to sing again, maybe a year-and-a-half later, I was no longer living in Tel Aviv, I was living where I am now in the north. So I was far from my former band members at that point. Then, Yosi and I were in India, and I discovered that I was pregnant. So I was far from the band and I was pregnant.
I wondered what we were going to do, and Yossi suggested that maybe we could play together.
We had never performed on stage together before, but we thought we would try. Yosi is a sound man; he studied sound here in Israel.
So we came back from India and bought a loop station and started playing around to see what we could do. Slowly, we started picking up instruments that were around our house.
Yosi plays the didgeridoo, and I picked up a flute that I hadn’t played for years. We started adding what we had around; a tambourine, shakers, clapping sticks that a friend gave us. We eventually incorporated the xylophone that we had bought for our daughter. We practiced every day for about three months. When our daughter was first born, we would practice as soon as she would go to sleep and we sounded terrible in the beginning because working with the loop station is hard at first.
Yosi was really patient in teaching himself how to use it and it really paid off because now he’s amazing.
Are you and Yosi working on anything new at the moment?
We just filmed out first clip that’s not live; our first music video. It’s for a new song called “Ayla.” We’ve been filming it this past week and now it’s going into the editing process. We have a lot of really amazing live clips, but this has a story and I’m really excited about it. I hope it will be ready in the next couple months.
We’re also starting to record new material, and we want to gather it together for an EP.
What’s your future dream collaboration?
Collaborating with Jose Gonzalez or Ray Lamontagne would be a beautiful dream come true.
Also, I would love to collaborate with Nakho Bear, who I sang with in a healing music festival in Israel. That was an amazing experience because he was so welcoming, and he held me (metaphorically) and made me feel that I was very much a part of his journey, which was very special and beautiful.
To purchase tickets for Fairburn’s show, visit http://www.suzannedellal.org.il/?CategoryID=171&ArticleID= 1406.