Our Feature Artist

Nasti Weather and the Essential Nature of Shadow

By Venta Rutkauskas

 
Ana Schlechleitner   performs as Nasti Weather. Photo by Julia Bassal.

Ana Schlechleitner performs as Nasti Weather. Photo by Julia Bassal.


Nasti Weather and Her False Predictions perform on Wednesday, March 20th at 7:30 pm at the Central Cariboo Arts Centre. Presented by the Community Arts Council of Williams Lake, Nasti Weather’s Ana Schlectleiter will be joined by Danny Bell Music. Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door.

The wind blows cold and mean sometimes. The rain and sleet slap and bite, become piercing ice. Collars up, hats pulled down, our eyes squint to look hard at the gray and dreary fast approaching. Sure, it’s nasty. But if the sun shone upon your radiant face every day, then heaven would start to look like hell, bleached and parched from the incessant pleasant of rays gone astray. It’s time to embrace the dark, and the gift of recognition the shadow brings.

Nasti Weather’s frontwoman, Anastasia Schlechleitner , is like a shadow dancer, standing in the storm, the weather unfolding around her, now dark, soon bright. She sings like a slow burn from an electric light bulb a hundred years ago… So very current, this artist charges her voice and lyric with precious-metal-secrets dug up from a mine called heart.  The mystics have always revered the voice as a soul infused calling card, and sometimes, when you hear that certain something in a singer’s voice, you are lifted to a sphere of intimacy that is wiser than their years. Ana’s song-stories rise, sometimes up from the gutter while other tales topple in from the ethereal dreamtime. Listen in and you’ll be drawn from your reveries into a banjo tinged world where light and dark dance eternally in the cosmic twin embrace.

Art by puppyteeth.

Art by puppyteeth.

Ana’s voice speaks of loss and love, how we might overcome, then delves into intensely personal debates about becoming free. With tone and grit, she channels the svelte jazz singers and worn blues pipes from eras bygone. Lyrically, she paints with personal experiences of living through adversity, with mental illness, of seeing life through a lens darkly. Standing centre stage on songs like Darkside, she’ll advise you “to best respect your demons” and bring them into your loving arms, courageously unveiling her vulnerabilities in hopes that the audience might join the conversation about these internal struggles. Ana’s willingness to share arises from a longing to connect with others experiencing embattlement, depression and anxiety, and to comfort those who are pushed to the margins. Her songs weave and build community around themselves, calling us all to reflect as they dive deep into the penumbra of human experience.

Ana was always drawn to music, but not always as a musician. She worked for years behind the scenes, at venues or booking shows for bands before she ever took to the stage. “I was deeply insecure, and there was a part of me that was always drawn to perform, but I never thought I would be good enough,” she explains. A move to the west coast wilds of Tofino introduced her to a community of free souls, where they often sang and played instruments at local gatherings. “There was a lot of room to play and experiment and everybody was singing, because we wanted to do that together.”

To empower and free the voice, sometimes the singer takes an inner pilgrimage through the rugged landscape of inherited beliefs.  For Ana, as she challenged herself to project more, it dawned on her that she had intentionally stayed quiet as a child, avoiding the turmoil that arose if she didn’t. “As a child, I taught myself to never project my voice,” she remembers. “I never wanted things to escalate at home.” Staying safe while young, the internalized message followed her onto the stage. Ana could either stay safe, or dive in, trust and open her voice. “The more I sang and the more that my voice started to open up, the more my insecurities stopped holding me back from enjoying what it is to be that expressive.”

So, Ana let loose her breath and intention. She left a relationship and the band formed with her ex, daring herself to start again, on her own. Banjo slung around her shoulder, the songs came slowly, but they came, some like visitations of the holy spirit after a tranquil sleep. Let yourself fall into the imagery of Heaven, rowed to the pearly gates by gentle strum banjo and old soul hymn that pursues sinners and unborn babies. What have we been brought up believing about who deserves beauty or punishment?  Heaven transforms personal stories into transcendent meditations on disassociation and redemption.

Photo by Julia Bassal

Photo by Julia Bassal

In fierce feminine vulnerability, Nasti Weather calls up a storm, knowing the calm will come. There’s room for play and laughter beside the grit and tears. If you’re willing to dance in the darkness, Ana will guide you with her candlelit beacon to another side of the coin. Love and light can’t always be seen without the natural cycle of storm and cloud casting the essential shadow…

Visit nastiweathermusic.com to hear and see more from this emerging artist.

Tickets for Nasti Weather and Danny Bell are on sale at Red Shreds and Open Book, or available via email at williamslakearts@gmail.com. For more info call the Community Arts Council at 250.305.9428.

 

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