Formed in 2003, Great Aunt Ida is a Vancouver-based pop band led by multi-instrumentalist and composer Ida Nilsen. Best known as a member of experimental rock quintet the Beans, alt-roots Radiogram, singer-songwriter Kevin House’s backing band, pop supergroup the Gay, and the infamous all girl improv quintet Cunt, Nilsen has also performed and recorded with many well known Vancouver artists including Veda Hille, The Buttless Chaps, Jerk with a Bomb, P:ano and Toronto based The Violet Archers (Tim Vesely [Rheostatics] solo project). Many also remember Ida for her role as co-proprietor and booking agent for the much missed downtown music and art venue the (sugar refinery).
A long awaited vehicle for Nilsen’s talents as a singer and songwriter, Great Aunt Ida also includes Barry Mirochnick drums (Veda Hille’s Skilled and Devoted Band, Martin Tielli’s Operation Infinate Justice Band), Annie Wilkinson bass (Thermos, Knock Down Ginger, Beekeepers, Cunt), and JP Carter trumpet (Tony Wilson Quintet, the Inhabitants, Fond of Tigers). Extolled for their contributions to some of the most innovative and acclaimed bands to surface amid Vancouver’s independent music scene, Great Aunt Ida’s talented co-conspirators provide the perfect foil for Nilsen’s pretty voice, instantly memorable melodies and elegant piano. Together, they have performed at the Railway and Anza Clubs, the Western Front, and Rime, with Veda Hille, Ford Pier, David P. Smith and others in Vancouver, ….and during fall/winter 2004, they recorded their debut album Our Fall with Colin Stewart at The Hive Studios with guest appearances from Jon Anderson (Jonathan Inc. / Radiogram) and Tim Vesely (Rheostatics).
More akin to a song cycle than a concept album, Our Fall plumbs a darkly enchanting vestibule of dreams, memories, and tales within tales. Hauntingly beautiful, melancholic yet never cloying, Great Aunt Ida takes stock of the debts and promises of a world unfolding endlessly upon itself. Revealing just enough of her secrets to seduce, Nilsen explores fragility, longing and relief in a sotto voce which reminds us just how much more, less can be.