Clara Venice Feature

Clara Venice LIVE

11
Jul
2012

See the girl that plays an instrument created from a secret Russian government project.

By Filip Terlecki  Photos via Clara Venice

Life is all about memorable experiences. And one person on a mission to inject some unforgettableness into your life is Clara Venice.

Based in Toronto, this self-described “one-girl, love-pop, multi-instrumental performance artist” is a vocalist, violinist, guitarist, keyboardist, and most recently a ukuleleist who only sings love songs.

“What else is there to sing about?!” she asks.

She also plays the theremin – an extremely rare instrument which is the only instrument you actually play without touching it. It originated from secret Russian government-sponsored research.

How’s that for memorable?

This Thursday you can see Clara and her theremin at the Drake Underground. We spoke with the love songstress to find out what she and her shows are all about…

You describe yourself as a thereminist – what in the world is a theremin? And, can it bring about world peace?

Yes, I am a proud pop thereminist! The theremin is actually the oldest electronic instrument, invented by a Russian revolutionary in the 1920s and took the world by storm – but then almost disappeared along with its inventor.

Most people today know it from sci-fi movie sound effects. It’s the only instrument you play without touching it.

It consists of a rectangular box with two antennas – one controls pitch, one controls volume – and when I wave my hands in the air, a compellingly beautiful and mysterious sound is produced.

It’s truly a magical instrument, and extremely rare, so this might be your only chance to experience it live! I fell in love with it at first sight, and yes – with its soulful power to seduce and amaze, I’m sure that if anything can bring world peace, the theremin can.

This Thursday you’ll be debuting a new instrument called the Omnichord – what’s that all about?

It was a complete fluke that I came across a YouTube video of another rare instrument called the Omnichord, which is an electronic autoharp produced by Suzuki in the 1980s, now out of production.

As soon as I saw it I knew I had to have one – which was easier said than done. But it’s now mine…I’ve been having a blast learning how to play it, and excited to introduce it to everyone at the show!

The cover of the Omnichord manual.

What can people expect at a Clara Venice show?

A Clara Venice show is a one-girl love-pop thrill ride through time, instruments and genres. As I sing, I switch between soloing on theremin and electric violin. I accompany myself on guitar, ukulele, omnichord, or laptop. 

As I perform, the stage wall behind me is alive with Ken Ogawa‘s gorgeous stop-motion animations; a series of irreverent, dreamlike and sometimes haunting projections that blend perfectly with the sonic experience.

The show is truly one-of-a-kind, and makes a great date night! Besides performing my original material, I also do covers ranging from California punk rock, to sultry French pop, to Iggy Pop, to Britney Spears.

One of my fans described the show this way: “After seeing Clara Venice, people go home and make out. They can’t help themselves.”

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