“Raise up your eyes!” sings Emma Back. This is her cry for our “Little World.”
Blending acoustic instrumentation with percussive loops, layers of vocal and string harmonies, and flourishes of Eastern-European tonalities, Back's debut release Little World investigates how to heal personal and global conflicts through bearing witness to issues of feminine power, racial and religious oppression, war and ancestry.
In live performance, Back uses a loop pedal to create lush layers of strings and Balkan and African inspired percussion as the backdrop for melodic vocal lines that hint at Bjork and Tori Amos influences juxtaposed the spacious urgency of Andrew Bird. Whether she is tapping her violin bow on the mic stand, beat boxing, stomping, whispering haunting melodic stories, or digging into a klezmer violin solo, Back’s dynamic and passionate performance invokes in listeners a deep sense of intimacy and care.
Little World was written and recorded during a four-year period of immense transition in Back’s life that included a health crisis resulting in her return to Vermont where she was bedridden for 6 months after burning out from traveling in Israel and touring and teaching throughout the US. In her healing process, she found herself exploring aspects of inner-shadow and global issues of conflict, pondering the age-old question, ‘how do we connect beyond the differences that divide us and stand in compassion and solidarity?'
This yearning to heal, both personally and collectively and the sense of bearing witness to inner and outer "shadow" as a pathway for transformation, is at the heart of Little World.
After transitioning between two different producers and re-writing many of the songs after her health crisis and travels, Back finally landed with producer and multi-instrumentalist Colin McCaffrey to finish recording Little World in Vermont.
What resulted from their collaboration is an album that is sonically intricate and emotionally complex.
Little World is out May 24th 2018 with lead single out April 21st.
Back has a background in classical violin and voice and has been performing since the age of 7. She grew up in rural Vermont, falling in love early on with Balkan and African music through her exposure singing with teen world music choir, Village Harmony. After a brief time spent living in Paris, Back returned to the US to study Avant-Guard improvisation, composition and vocal performance at Naropa University, releasing her E.P “C’est Nous” as her BA thesis project in 2011. Back has toured throughout the US and has performed in England, Israel and France solo and as a guest with various music projects including the Cameron Powers Project (Greek & Turkish music), Planina (Balkan Choir), the Inquiry (Folk-Rock) and Neva Tehilla (Sacred Jewish Music). In addition to her performing life, Back is the founder of She Sings Out Loud, an organization that supports female-identifying singers, public speakers and performing artists in finding authentic expression onstage while healing from culturally inherited patterns and personal blocks around being seen and heard. Back currently resides in Vermont where she is active in supporting women in the Burlington music scene as well as teaching voice and violin to children and leading She Sings Out Loud workshops.