Creative BC News

Jocelyn Pettit charts adventurous new musical paths with Wind Rose album release

Jul 20, 2022 | Funding Recipient, Music + Sound Recording

Hailing from coastal British Columbia, Jocelyn Pettit is a musician who seeks to connect people through music. Through her work, she celebrates cultural heritage and traditions, and uplifts creativity. Utilizing her talents of fiddle playing, composing, singing, and stepdancing, Jocelyn performs powerfully uplifting and unifying concerts that celebrate the uniquely propulsive and kinetic joy she finds in music-making.

Recent support from the Career Development program has enabled Jocelyn to explore cultural traditions and folk heritage via the release of her latest album, Wind Rose. Named for the nautical compass used by 18th-century seafarers, and serving as an additional metaphor for the visible and invisible forces that inform the currents of life, the album features 12 tracks. It includes a mix of original compositions inspired by core themes of home and travel, nestled alongside fresh interpretations of traditional and contemporary tunes. Wind Rose saw release on June 3, 2022. The title track’s music video debuted on the same day.

Jocelyn, at home on B.C.’s rocky coastline.

As a new album, Wind Rose draws inspiration from Celtic, folk, and world music traditions, and features band members and guest collaborators drawn from North America and Scotland. With careful curation evident in its makeup, Wind Rose provides listeners with an ethereal and eclectic mix of melody, rhythm, and dance. Career Development funding supported artistic and production costs associated with the album’s development. This funding also enabled Jocelyn to optimize opportunities associated with the album’s release through the creation of an updated website with integrated e-commerce capabilities. This enabled her to drive promotional, marketing, and business development efforts. In doing so, she was able to sustainably connect this latest project to new audiences at her periphery while also maintaining ties to those already engaged.

“As a multicultural artist, with Scottish, Irish, French, and Malaysian heritage, I integrate in my music the Celtic and folk traditions of my roots.  I draw on influences from places and cultures encountered during my musical travels to create my compositions, with the goal of bringing tradition-based music to a wider scope of audiences.” Jocelyn explains.

She continues, “It has been the biggest compliment in all my years of performing to see people dancing to my music, tapping their feet, singing along, being emotionally moved, [and sometimes] reaching out afterwards to say it brought back happy memories, or that they could relate in some way.”

As her third album, Wind Rose marks a high point in Jocelyn’s already-established career. Over the past fifteen years, she has toured nationally and internationally: sometimes backed by her own five-piece Jocelyn Pettit Band, and also appearing as an musical duo with select collaborators. Her work has taken her to festivals and venues across Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Europe, and Malaysia.

Jocelyn in a moment of outdoor celebration.

Jocelyn has also enjoyed radio and television appearances with CBC and the BBC, and has performed with world-renowned artists, including The Chieftains (Ireland), The Battlefield Band (Scotland), and Carlos Núñez (Spain), among others. With a strong musical focus supported by thoughtful business strategy, Jocelyn’s two prior self-produced albums (Debut, in 2010, and Caravan, in 2015) have earned multiple nominations at the Canadian Folk Music Awards and the Western Canadian Music Awards. Simultaneously, she continues to maintain a busy schedule as a music educator, teaching fiddle and stepdance lessons and community workshops to learners of all ages and levels.

When asked to reflect on the genesis of Wind Rose, Jocelyn offers, “This album was inspired by home and travel, and two years of living in Scotland. It includes more original material than my previous releases. I’m really excited to share this new music! It was recorded with my fabulous B.C.-based band members, and guest collaborators in Glasgow. The Wind Rose name is very fitting: my hometown’s name is a Coast Salish word that means ‘Mother of the Wind’. It’s definitely a windy place!”

Culminating in a Master of Music from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, this period abroad also brought about new influences, composition inspiration, and memorable performance opportunities for Jocelyn. Career highlights during this period included engagements at the Celtic Connections Festival – the UK’s premiere celebration of Celtic music – appearances at Edinburgh Castle and Blair Castle, as well as at Scotland House in Brussels, Belgium, performing for HM Queen Elizabeth II and HRH Prince Charles, performing on the violin of influential 18th-century composer, Niel Gow, and connecting with new collaborators.

These collaborative connections have proven integral to future opportunities. During this period, Jocelyn also broadened her musical and creative works by forming a meaningful partnership with Ellen Gira, an American cellist. This partnership has continued to bear creative fruit: In July 2022, Jocelyn and Ellen released a duo album, All It Brings, comprised of soulful and high-energy folk music from Scotland, Ireland, North America, and Scandinavia. They are also touring this summer and fall throughout British Columbia, Ontario, Québec, and the Eastern United States. Ellen remains one of Jocelyn’s core creative partners: in both collaborative and performative capacities, their energy and chemistry is palpable.

Jocelyn in 2021.

When invited to reflect on the inspirations that fuel her creative processes, Jocelyn is quick to offer that, to her, “…inspiration is everywhere!  Keeping the mind open to input is so important.  I have an inspiration garden where I plant seeds of creative ideas.  I love listening to the sounds of new kinds of music! Discovering new albums is fun.”

In this vein, Jocelyn continues, “I’m inspired by music with movement: grooves, harmonies, global rhythms, and blended combinations of traditional and contemporary folk influences. Catchy melodies are exciting and memorable.  Inspiration evolves and changes. Some favourite musicians who have inspired me include Natalie MacMaster, Hanneke Cassel, Alasdair Fraser & Natalie Haas, The Fretless, The East Pointers, Flook, Frigg, Dreamers’ Circus, and Andrew Bird – there are so many great musicians out there!”

Jocelyn concludes, “A shout-out to independent artists managing all aspects of developing your career: you’re amazing. What an intensely busy juggle! It’s inspiring to see fellow indie musicians making it happen, and supporting each other.”

Connecting more fully with the setting for Wind Rose’s music video.

Energized with this reflection on generosity of spirit, Jocelyn is also quick to offer it to other independent artists contemplating an application to Creative BC on behalf of their own projects.

“Go for it!  Research the guidelines carefully, ask a trusted friend or family member for feedback, and give yourself lots of time before the deadline.  Determination pays off over time, and the more often you apply, the more chances you have of being considered for support.  All the best with your projects!”

You can grab your copy of Wind Rose here, and on Bandcamp.

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Photos courtesy of Audrey Thizy