yuka is a wanderer. she is a shaman. she’s a designer and an artist. she’s a collector. she’s a crate digger. she’s a songbird catcher. she’s a dancer, a guitar player and an inventor. she’s a traveler. she is so many things — but most of all, yuka is a music maker.
born in 1974 in the industrial beachside town of bratsk in eastern siberia, yuka’s home offered red earth and harsh climates; a fact that she doesn’t romanticize, even today. the town’s remote location in the depths of the taiga, as well as the severity of the soviet regime, meant that she relied on imagination, imagery and music to fuel her creativity.
i’ve never met lyli jordy in person. i’ve never heard her speak aside from picking up on her ghostly vocals in the productions featured on her soundcloud. we met in the way that seems typical of the music community – over the internet, earlier this summer when my good friend jackie spade pointed me in lyli’s direction, insisting that she has a “voice that needs to be heard.” i tucked into her soundcloud, devouring her every release from dripping, melting dub to complex microhouse or instrumentalized minimal thread through perfect, breathy vocal fragments. and though i’ve never heard it in person, i know for sure that lyli has a voice that, indeed, begs to be heard.
a little over seven years ago, i sat in the backseat of my parents’ car, listening to “wide open spaces” by the dixie chicks on repeat, and crying as they drove me from my native toronto to montreal for university. i had spent the previous night having what i would later describe as enlightened moments with my best friends and my high school boyfriend — we had watched the sunrise from the top of the playground at my elementary school. the whole memory has a kind of a rose coloured glow. at the time, i didn’t think it was possible for anything to ever mean more to me than those moments with those friends. when i finally arrived in montreal, i cried for two days straight.
my first couple years here were spent at concordia, and i took on a life that involved frosh week, thirsty thursdays, beerfest, and st patrick’s day, the epitome of a university student. i loved every minute of it. but it wasn’t until i became immersed in the local music scene that i started to really understand montreal, and it wasn’t long before i felt like montreal understood me. i started going out to shows and concerts and having what i would later describe as enlightened moments on the dancefloor.
“i used to be a makeup artist.”
“i’ve been doing rodeo on broncos since i was 17.” “When did you get the most scared on a horse?” “last year. i fell down and the horse stomped on me. but it didn’t stop me from riding.”
“god asked me to be a pope.
by now you’ve undoubtedly heard of humans of new york, the photography blog that has quite literally taken the world by storm. through his matter of fact photos and the simple, poignant quotes that go along with them, brandon stanton has captured hearts both with his camera, and with his unique blog, a mix of street style and story telling. HONY has inspired dozens of like-minded blogs and communities around the world from berlin, leuvan and paris to islamabad, tehran, brisbane, and karachi — it’s more than likely that you’ll find a version of the “humans of” concept in your own city. such is how i came upon portraits de montreal, the version montrealaise of humans of new york run by thibault carron, samuel rocheleau, and mikael theimer.