The Scotsman Sessions #68: Ela Orleans

Welcome to The Scotsman Sessions. With the performing arts world shutting down for the foreseeable future, we are commissioning a series of short video performances from artists all around the country and releasing them on scotsman.com, with introductions from our critics. Here, Ela Orleans performs her song In Spring from her flat in Glasgow’s Maryhill

Polish-born, Glasgow-based musician Ela Orleans already knows a bit about isolation, given the lockdown mentality she has adopted over the years while composing her haunting looped electronic soundscapes, which she has self-styled as “movies for ears.”

But in a cruel twist of timing, Orleans broke her ankle last autumn and had only just emerged from months in a wheelchair when the Covid pandemic imposed its own particular restrictions.

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“Lockdown has been a bit much for me,” she says. “I feel like I haven't had a chance to socialize since October. And I am struggling now, because I had to say goodbye to my beloved cat Florek whose presence I miss incredibly.

Ela Orleans

“I turned into a reading machine, from McLuhan to Murakami. I am a book monster! I have been training my brain, as the cognitive side of it really got affected by being dormant for almost eight months. So I am doing Mensa training, a fast reading course and online French classes four times a week. I think it is easier to get motivated for me than for others, because I’ve always worked from home.”

Somehow Orleans has also carved out the time to work on a PhD, compose music for a production at the Polish Theatre in Poznan, work with Paris-based artist Michel Zumpf and indie film director Miranda July and continue her relationship with Glasgow-based sonic and visual art house Cryptic.

“Cryptic has been truly brilliant with helping me to survive and now suddenly I have so much work I can't rest,” she says.

Happily, Orleans did have time to record a mesmeric number called In Spring for the Scotsman Sessions, with the evening sun dappling the walls of her flat in Maryhill, Glasgow.

“This is a very difficult but also very inspiring time,” she says. “I chose that song because we didn’t have a chance to have spring – and when I say spring, I mean the spring of thought and compassion and love and understanding and communication. Hopefully it happens soon.”

Ela Orleans music and merchandise available from www.elaorleans.com and www.moviesforears.com

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