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The Retro Modernist

Devon Sproule
Photo: Judith Burrows
I mention something Joe Boyd said, that individual distinctive voices (like hers) come from kids that “grew up actually singing with their family,” noting that “singing with kids from an early age at home is not something the average family spends a lot of time doing”.

Devon nods, finishing a mouthful of egg and potato. “I think the thing that makes me feel connected to being musical at Twin Oaks was instead of Valentine’s Day, we had Valedation Day. We made valedation cards for each other, where everyone writes in each other’s cards and on Valedation Day, February 14th, they’re read out and people guess whose they are, then they’re given to that person.”

“I have some left over from when I was little. They say, ‘Devon, I love it when you sing, I love it that you sing all the time’. These are adults who pride themselves on talking to kids as human beings and they’re very heartfelt messages. You hear about these songwriters who grow up with their parents going, ‘You’ll never be a musician, you’ll never make any money’, but for me people were saying, ‘I’d be overjoyed if you did…’, ‘If she’s not going to become a musician it’s her decision, no-one else is discouraging her’.”

So she learned her dad’s old guitar and played with some people in the community: “All 40-year-old men, who wanted to play like the Grateful Dead. So we’d do a Grateful Dead song and I’d be like, ‘Let’s play the Cranberries’, so we had an interesting repertoire. It wasn’t silly that we were playing together, it was fun, I could play guitar but I wasn’t as good as them.”


fRom fRoots 289, July 2007

 

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