Professing to let your freak flag fly and actually raising it on one’s pole for all to see are two different things. More often than not, we succumb to social standards and allow a subliminal code to dictate how we look, feel and act. We can’t help but find comfort in ordinary belonging. However, when you witness that someone who by all evidence doesn’t give one f*ck about trends or fitting in or being completely understood, it’s like discovering a rare species buried deep in the Amazon that you want to exploit but also leave in its brilliance.
Cher Von is an unconventional musician experimenting with anything she can get her hands on. Literally. The last time I saw her perform it was with a flip phone. But the “props” she uses are more about guiding the direction of her performance than they are for the sounds they produce. Her voice and her willingness to trust her natural instincts have transformed her from musician to performing artist.
Cher Von’s musical beginnings began by using her voice and a pedal looper to create harmonious beats, but she has now freed herself from any standard tools of the trade and relies on the instrument she was born with – her voice. The guttural sounds she emits float out like a tribal chant and you feel a part of the ceremony. She is unafraid to follow whatever direction her spirit takes her and sensing that she’s working something out for herself, you observe and wish you could be so bold.
One of her recent performances I saw in Louisville was titled “The Forgotten Experience” where at one point she brought a flip phone on stage and began a narrative of how she came to posses it. She was in a train station and a man named Greg struck up a conversation with her asking her who she was and where she was going. After their brief conversation, he felt compelled to give her this phone so she could contact him whenever she wanted. Another thing of note is Cher Von takes pride in living minimally and therefore travels light and is somewhat of a Luddite. She took the phone based on his insistence and only used it to call her mother and ignored all of his incoming calls. She said, “but tonight I want to call Greg while all of you are here.” She dialed, he answered and she said, “this is what I think of this,” and she set the phone on the floor and took a 10lb rock and smashed it to pieces. The audience cheered and she sat for a second contemplating and then smiled and said, “how am I going to contact my mom now? Maybe I should have thought that through.” She then performed “A Song For Greg,” which was so encouraging to witness because she was putting something to rest, making amends, resolving conflict without uttering one recognizable word. Listen to the track here:
It may seem that Cher Von is this solemn and grave figure, but she is the exact opposite. She’s giggly, positive and focuses on happiness even though her performances have a somber tone, which attribute to their meditative quality. She’s enjoying these new directions she’s taking, which have no map or compass and this creative exploration is part of the surprise and intrigue of getting lost and letting go.
Cher Von’s upcoming performances: 4/23 at Magic Lantern (Atlanta, GA) & 4/24 at Urban Juicer (Nashville, TN)