monashee [name styled lowercase] is a solo independent artist from Vancouver (traditional, ancestral, and unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, səl̓ílwətaʔɬ, and Sḵwx̱wú7mesh peoples) in Canada, she plays synthesizers with sequencers (and sometimes harp and other instruments) and sings. As a solo musician her music has been played on radio stations such as CITR, CJSF, CJLY, and KEXP, and she has performed at shows and festivals in Vancouver since 2014, including Music Waste 2015 (at Horses Records) and Verboden 2019 (at The Astoria). In 2021 she was interviewed in a car by 'Parts Unknown' host Chris-A-Riffic on CITR. Her last show before the pandemic was at The Vogue theatre in Vancouver opening for the bands Chromatics and In Mirrors in June 2019, and after pandemic cancellations, and an audio/visual installation of her music at the Biltmore for Verboden 2022, her next live performance will be May 14th 2023 when she returns again to Verboden, this time at Green Auto. Throughout the pandemic she steadily released songs while recovering from the nightmarish fairytale she says she experienced with her former label,
monashee’s songs now available online were written and produced by her, and recorded between 2015-2019 mostly at night at the Secret Location (long standing DIY studio warehouse in Vancouver’s Downtown-Eastside now shut down due to redevelopment), and though her synth-and-vocal songs were intended to be released on L.A.-based Italians Do It Better after secretly signing with them in December 2015, she only got back two mixes out of over 30 songs sent to Italians’ Johnny Jewel, who’d asked to mix and release her music on vinyl. She left the label in early 2020, (see pitchfork) , feeling shelved and mistreated, with nothing released, and says it was a “devastating, and traumatizing experience”, but she’s found a new strength in walking away and being free to mix and share her songs, and has now digitally released many of her unreleased tracks.
With some songs' written beginning in 2010, [all song titles styled lowercase] and songs like 'silence on the radio' (about the frightening rise of the far right and fascism), 'the state of the world, 'love is a terrible thing, 'nightmares', 'it started with a kiss', 'brasil', ‘time’ (about the nature of time), 'angels' (in which she sings "do you believe in angels, do you believe in devils"), and ‘doomsday’, (about the climate crisis), monashee’s first song shared post-Italians was ‘pieces’ (featuring harp, and vintage Roland Alpha Juno synth which she uses in all her tracks), followed by songs such as ‘run’ (with lyrics “into the street, into the night, don’t think twice”), along with ‘the romantics’, and the existential ‘i don’t want to die’, as well as ‘a bird in flight (falling)’, (“do you remember feeling, feeling free in the night”), and ‘again’ (“will we ever live again, will we ever dream again”). Also among her singles is her own mix of her song ‘ghosts’, (first recorded 2014), different from the mix by Johnny Jewel that premiered on SiriusXMU in 2019.
monashee, (who has dealt with the disease M.E. since age 13), became involved in the Vancouver music scene in the late 2000s, playing in a few groups and forming Brazilian/Canadian duo Falcao and Monashee [capital M]. They released two albums, (Falcao and Monashee, and Fools), their first album charted on EarshotTop50. with radio play on over 300 campus and community stations across North America and Europe and reviews in publications such as Exclaim!, Ondarock, Discorder, and Foxy Digitalis.
By 2014, monashee [styled lowercase] began performing solo in Vancouver, playing her first show at a party in the woods, then several shows at places like Thor’s Palace, The Railway, Fingers Crossed, and on CITR radio, before agreeing to release with Italians Do It Better. By 2016 she also got involved with many of the city’s late night events like The Dark 80s, which was a challenge because of her M.E., but provided contrast to the isolation she often felt.
Her songs were recorded alone in the calm midnights and early mornings, sometimes after the club, between coatcheck and sunrise, taking frequent breaks to rest, and monashee says she went through a lot in the time these songs were written and recorded, but long hours at the Secret Location helped her find a way through darkness and grief and it seemed the perfect place to be able to be immersed with her synths. It was only in 2021, while trying to find something historical to save the East Hastings warehouse space, she discovered that the building was once an asbestos cement plant in the 1950s.
“It was great to have ‘a room of my own’, it was a place for me to hide away with my music, and i learned a lot in that time, i grew as an artist,” she says, “..but i’m horrified now, just how much time I spent in that room, writing, singing, recording, and rerecording, without knowing its history. this is also a huge loss to the music community. dozens of artists lost their spaces there. the Secret Location needs a new, safer, home, to survive, and the city had said they would help us find something, but everything has been too unaffordable or unsuitable. so for now, myself and others are without a (safer) place to create and record.”
Working on these songs so many nights and years, sending them off and then feeling that they were being locked away in a vault by her former label, she really wanted to let her songs see the light of day, as she moves on from toxicity and trauma, and begins to play shows again.
JUNE 2019 Chromatics, In Mirrors, and monashree at the Vogue Theatre, Vancouver
"Beginning the night was Vancouver’s own monashee, who is signed with Chromatics’ record label Italians Do It Better. Monashee was a single person with keyboards on stage, performing very synth-y and snazzy tunes. Her visuals included flowers blooming in shades of both black & white, and vibrant colours. Although every band that night had deep bass, the bass present here was the deepest and most powerful of the sets. It echoed through the entire theatre and I could feel it vibrating through my body in my seat. This synth was accompanied by lovely, soft vocals. A short and sweet set, she was a wonderful opener to the evening and her music suited the atmosphere for what was to come." - thepermanentrainpress.com
some of the artists monashee has played shows with as a solo artist or previously since 2007 include:
A Relative Distance, Adjective, Aunts and Uncles, B.A. Johnston, Bedrooms of the Nation, Bella, Bleating Hearts, Brasstronaut, Brent Randall and His Pinecones, Buffaloswans, Chromatics, Certain Breeds, Collapsing Opposites, Chris-a-riffic, C.R. Avery, Druiz, Fanshaw, Fake Sick, Fine Mist, In Mirrors, James Lamb, Japandroids, Katie Caron, Kensington Gore, Kidnap Kids, Kiss Painting, Kontravoid, Spencer Kingman, Lost Lovers Brigade, Lovers Love Haters, Like Animals Again, The Liptonions, The Magician, Mt. Royal, No Gold, Nothofagus, Olenka, Physical Wash, Red Cedar, Sleep Holiday, Spring, Terror Bird, The SSRIs, Shearing Pinx, Steven Donald Robert Nelson, The Ephermerals, The Square Root of Margaret, The Wind Whistles, Total Chroma, Unreliable Narrator, The Wintermitts, Visitor, xibling, Zombie Pistolero and His Guns
She has performed at venues in Vancouver such as The Astoria, The Beaumont, Brandiz Pub, The Biltmore, The Bourbon, Cafe Deux Soleils, The Cobalt, Finger's Crossed, Honey Lounge, Gravelevel, Guilt & Co, Hoko's, Las Brisas, The Lamplighter, Little Mountain Studios, The Media Club, Pat's Pub, The Princeton Pub, Thor's Palace, The Rickshaw, The Vogue Theatre, The Shark Club, as well as other cities and venues across Canada such as the Rivoli (Toronto), The Arc (Sault St. Marie), Medicine Hat, The Palomino (Calgary), The Lion's (Castlegar), Edmonton, Jimmy Jazz (Guelph), Kitchener, and Waterloo, Grand Central (Galiano Island)
PREVIOUS REVIEWS AND RADIO for Falcao and Monashee (2007-2013):
“FALCAO AND MONASHEE have become fixtures in Vancouver’s music scene in recent years…”
Falcao and Monashee's press materials proudly note that the duo's second album, Fools, was captured live off the floor in just three days, using zero overdubbing. Listening to the album's 14 tracks, however, you'd never guess that it was so bare-bones. Recorded by local studio whiz Colin Stewart at the Hive, the band uses a combination of loops and vintage plate reverb to ensure there isn't too much dead air. On "Inner Journey", a scratchy guitar lays the foundation for an eastern-infused melody. A dense, pattering beat fills up the space on "Money", as guitars and keyboards echo and burble, always sounding hauntingly out of focus.
The album's creepy mood and slow tempos don't vary much over its 47-minute run time, and the result is that Fools works best as a mood piece. Still, the album has got more going for it than just atmosphere. Monashee Sun switches instruments on nearly every song, so things never get too repetitive. Just as impressive as the multi-instrumental display is Rodrigo Falcao, whose loops and nimble percussion are so solid that you could swear they were painstakingly created in Pro Tools. If this is what Falcao and Monashee are capable of in a live studio session, it's amazing to imagine what they could create with more time and a larger budget." - Alex Hudson, The Georgia Straight
"Falcao and Monashee released their greatest album yet, Fools. Their debut album, Falcao and Monashee, gave us a glimpse of the wondrous musicianship of Rodrigo Falcao of Sao Paulo, Brasil and Monashee Sun of British Columbia, Canada..."Fools" is a breathtaking adventure through the landscapes they've once called home. "Money" is reminiscent of the tribal dances of Runa Pacha while "Hollywood Cigarettes Off Road" hangs on the vibes of a bollywood sitar-like sound.Monashee's beautiful compositions on violin, keyboard, mandolin, harp, banjo, dulcimer and vocals paired with Falcao's drums, bass, guitar, organ and vocals create a lovely unity to their experimental, folk, and sometimes funk vibes. Lyrics like "there is no past, no yesterday, only today/ there is no town we wouldn't stay, only today" capture the essence of the duo. The harmonic vocals of "Investigative" creates a gothic lullaby for the mind and the quick drums and eclectic mix of instruments that grace "Merry Go Round" are upbeat dance vibes. It's no wonder Falcao and Monashee inspire a fan-base that covers all of North America, Brasil, Spain, and Belgium... 9/10" - Candace Butler, Beatcrave
" Dark would be the perfect word to define Falcao and Monashee's music. This 14 song album takes you in a Inner Journey, where while going on a Merry Go Round you get glimpses of places like Hollywoo[d] and Kathmandu"-soulmagazine.us
"There is this band that you may like - their name is Falcao and Monashee, and I saw them play last night in conjunction with the Music Waste Festival opening 'What Does Info Want?' @ Blim. Everyone seemed to enjoy them throughly, or so I concluded from the nodding heads, and swaying bodies of approximately 100 onlookers. Their music is a delightful electro-acoustic mix composed and performed live by two individuals, Canadian, Monashee Sun (who operated mandolin, keyboards, violins, xylophones), and Brazilian, Rodrigo Falcao, (who played drums, samples). Such fantastic vocal harmonies! Such talented multi-instrumentalists! Also, I can say that in speaking with them, they seem very sweet and kind which is always nice..."- Aaron Moran, SMOKE SIGNALS
"I've lost a lot of sleep over the last year because we never got time to review Falcao and Monashee's self-titled album. Their epic, wiry dark-folk songs creep up and lay waste to your inner space. I'm not sure from what dimension they're beaming in from, but I do know I don't wanna go. They're scary and a little strange, and they've a new album out soon which I'm desperate to hear."- Leicester Bangs
"Rodrigo Falcao (a Sao Pãulo percussionist) and Monashee Sun (a "BC psych-folk descendent") met in Vancouver in 2007 and a year later recorded these tracks at a Galiano Island cottage. Both musicians chant lulling melodies while holding down everything from organ and keyboard loops, bass, drums, percussion and guitar (Falcao) to harp, tenor banjo, violin, xylophone, keys and Moog delays (Monashee). For all the layers of sound though, the disc remains a pretty mellow ride. Shuffling drums pulse forward under the languid, winding melodies that lead many of these tunes to their close, but the groove remains relaxed and the mood ethereal. Repeat listens reward as well on tracks like "Teleportation" (featuring field-recorded birds by Falcao), "Special Agent" and "Strange Universe," as the innovative instrumentation reveals itself in the rattles and ebbs. Rooted in psych-folk but looking dreamily forward, the duo pull off an impressive debut, one that's expansive but not rambling. (Independent)" - Jonathan Rothman, Exclaim.ca
"Rispettando in maniera ossequiosa la regola della coppia uomo-donna in ambito alternative-folk, il duo Falcao And Monashee raggiunge il debutto dopo una lavorazione fine ed elaborata. Conosciutisi a Vancouver nel 2007, Rodrigo Falcao (brasiliano di nascita) e Monashee Sun (canadese, figlia di musicisti) si stabiliscono su un'isola chiamata Galiano Island. Immersi in un microcosmo incantato, i due artisti esprimono la loro ispirazione con un primo Ep da cinque tracce. Lasciata l'isola, con tappa intermedia a Sao Paulo, tornano a Vancouver, dove aggiungono altre tre tracce per un totale di otto canzoni, proprio quelle che vanno a comporre il loro debutto omonimo.
Nell'ultima decade il folk, in ogni sua mutazione e sfumatura, è stato ben approfondito e dunque non c'è (quasi) più niente di cui sorprendersi. Il discrimine attraverso il quale distinguere puro mestiere e operazioni valide è la passione interpretativa, l'ispirazione nelle liriche, i riferimenti poco scontati. Nel caso specifico, ci troviamo di fronte a un folk sommesso, malinconico ma non pessimista, decadente ma non funereo. I toni acuti del cantato femminile stanno in contrapposizione alle pennellate distaccate della nutrita strumentazione. Si possono ben distinguere un organo Hammond, tastiere di vecchia data, chitarre, banjo, percussioni di ogni genere, arpa, violino e perfino un mandolino. Non un baccanale confusionario, bensì una solida stratificazione della realtà strumentale gestita con discrezione e professionalità.
Sinuose nenie dark-folk gesticolano fumose e seducenti (il giro ipnotico di banjo in "Teleportation", il duetto vocale mistico di "Plot"), mentre la robustezza di un folk-pop ben delineato arricchisce la proposta con brio (Monashee fa la musa in "Special Agent", "Parasocial" splende di riflessi colorati). Fra sfumature elettroniche ben dosate (i field-recordings in "Heaven"), e altre gemme di folk errante (l'intreccio acustico di "All Terrain", le trasparenze ben archiettate in "Strange Universe").
A metà fra sperimentazione freak e sensibilità pop, il duo Falcao And Monashee si cimenta con la materia folk mostrando sensibilità e gusto nell'allacciare stili differenti. Un buon viatico per costruire una carriera fruttuosa e slegata da canoni e proposte ordinarie. 7/10" - Alessandro Biancalana, Ondarock.it
"often evocative and moving. The duo of Brazilian drummer Rodrigo Falcao and British Columbian singer Monashee Sun weave subdued vocals around a dense rich folk sound that draws both from flamenco and alt-folk. The sound fills its space with warmth, longing and a certain sense of dread...
Falcao & Monashee are already at a peak of virtuosity and vision on this debut. Such rich music demands to be heard for its nuances. 9/10" - Mike Wood,Foxy Digitalis
"This Vancouver duo's debut album has an immersive sound with lots of slow builds and a gradual intertwining of melodies. It's an urgent sound that carries forward the ideals of the post-rock movement of the '90s and early '00s, as they use instruments often associated with the rock tradition for making clearly non-rock sounds. They also use instruments from other genres such as the banjo, mandolin and harp. Rodrigo Falcao's drumming seems to indicate some kraut influences, especially on tracks like "Starlight," which is probably the album's best. Monashee Sun's vocals feature prominently in every song and are reminiscent of the '60s folk songstress Joan Baez. (...) its strength lies in the talented intertwining of the duo's songwriting skills. In addition to their vocal duties, each member plays at least five instruments on the album. They draw on what we can only imagine is almost every musical instrument at their disposal... this album contains eight tracks of beautiful musicianship." -Jordie Yow, DISCORDER magazine
"..Special Agent" the soundtrack to an arthouse film about former spies, retired to the coast but about to be embroiled in political intrigue once again‹maybe..."
"Parasocial"..."...the creepiest: trilling keyboards with a steady, unnerving beat. Hip for your Halloween party, or any time you feel a sense of looming disaster. The real keeper of the album is "Starlight," nearly five minutes of Monashee's gorgeous translucent voice doing what can only be described as "pretty high things," plus judicious use of xylophone. (...)...Falcao & Monashee are wholly listenable, alternately terrifying and soothing. They give us a mean ambient soundtrack that grows better with repetition." - Kai Green, The Ubyssey
"Sao Paulo's Rodrigo Falcao and Vancouver's Monashee Sun team up to make psychedelic folk that should appeal to fans of current playlist artists like Bowerbirds and Megafaun, or the freak folk of Wildbirds & Peacedrums and older Akron/Family. Check out "Plot," "Special Agent" and "Starlight"."- WLUR Lexington Kentucky
"Falcao and Monashee's self titled debut starts with a folk sounding alternative sound. The second track has almost a spanish sound while still maintaining the folk/alt sound. The combined vocals of Rodrigo Falcao and Monashee Sun create a beautiful sound that fits with the mandolin that is prominent throughout the album. The deep voice of Falcao and light voice of Monashee remind me of Dead Can Dance. A haunting album that has an original sound yet undefinable sound that adds some mystery to the music." - WRUV, Burlington Vermont
"Falcao and Monashee's debut LP begins with birdsong; we can hear it ring out in the distance while the wind blows through the trees. The mind speedily conjures up imaginary of an idyllic countryside through vast fields of green, surrounded by trees in which birds are nesting and singing their spring melody. I imagine that what I'm about to hear will be the 'regular' type of homemade folk doodlings everyone seems to be making nowadays in their backyards, somewhere out there, yonder in the countryside. Harmless fun, for loving psych and improv couples all over the world, scribbling down their thought onto obscure CD-Rs. Almost instantly the music kicks in and my expectations are immediately shattered. This is folk music all right, and it does have a homemade charm to it it is a bit rough. This time around though it all seems to be about the groove, most compositions centered around pulsating near-krautrock vibes, comfortably sliding into one and pulling you in. It kind of makes you want to dance along or at the very least obligatory tap your foot whilst sitting on the front porch in your self-made rocking chair, smoking your pipe or whatever it is you youngsters do these days. The music sounds fun and engaging; multiple layers of banjo, violin, mandolin, drums, looped bass, harp, keyboards and a playful 1940's Hammond organ all start to dance and twirl together, like a slowly shifting night's firmament. In contrast, the vocals come across as almost mournful; semi-monotony runs like an unity, remaining close to an eulogy in spirit. It doesn't offset the other happy, upbeat spirit, offering it a pivot around which to revolve, giving it more character and making it deeper. Every song is unique and stands on its own but the whole flows seamlessly together. When it's finished, you've just woken up and want to press play once more to go back to sleep. Falcao grew up in São Paulo, Brazil, listening to heavy metal and playing in various bands, whilst Monashee was "raised on radio, old time ballads, homespun songs" and apple-pie, I imagine in Canada. It's where they've met and have decided to live on an island, composing things of their own. Sounds something like a fairytale or dream, but so does their music." - THECOOKSHOP
"...a wigged out Galiano Island session that could've been from Nottingham in the sixties. The fragile, Spartan grooves grow grander with each listen..."-Tom Harrison, The Province
"an epic, gothy sound which brought to mind the Cure or Joy Division. A complete surprise"..."I found myself thinking about the end of man and the wars of the Romans as I listened to them play..."- Stacy Thomas, DISCORDER magazine / January 2009
Negli anni Novanta era molto fico leggere Siddharta, vedere film su Buddha e convincersi di essere buddhisti. Il frullato esotico funzionava anche in musica, dove bastava aggiungere un loop vagamente indiano alle peggio tamarrate techno per trasformarle in sciccheria da intellettuali. E come sempre in questi casi, una volta finita la buddhamania si è rapidamente passati all'eccesso opposto: il ghetto sonoro della "chill out" è diventato da allora uno dei modi più facili per stanare il cafone di turno che cerca di darsi un tono, magari comprandosi l'ennesima compilation mixata da Dj Ravin.
I Falcao meravigliao però non sono Dj Ravin, non sono neanche suoi lontani parenti e probabilmente (buon per loro) non l'hanno mai nemmeno sentito nominare. Perché qui l'incontro fra Oriente e Occidente avviene per via diretta, senza la mediazione del loop precotto (e senza gli stereotipi del relativo sottogenere). A dire il vero gli otto brani che compongono il loro omonimo album scaricabile qui pescano sì i titoli dal più classico immaginario new age ("Teleportation", "Strange Universe", "Starlight", "Heaven"), ma d'altra parte esibiscono una componente pop che li rende neopsichedelici in un modo tutto loro.
Prendiamo ad esempio proprio "Teleportation", la traccia iniziale; che parte appunto all'insegna del post-buddhismo, con l'introduzione di uccellini e poi il riff di mandolino sopra un moderato ritmo funk (metronomo 122) a base di batteria e sintetizzatore. Però quando entrano in coro le voci di Monashee Sun e Rodrigo Falcao, a 1'09", l'effetto è spiazzante: una melodia così lamentosa che sembra una preghiera, non si capisce se indiana o gregoriana, e va il doppio più lenta della base strumentale sulla quale si inserisce. Una trovata che potrebbe voler significare il trionfo fricchettone della tranquillità soggettiva (la voce appunto) sull'ambiente frenetico (il groove); mentre il mandolino continua il suo riff, sottolineando così l'integrazione fra le due componenti.
Questa strofa viene ripetuta, più o meno variata, nella tipica forma AABB; dopo la quale però non arriva un ritornello, ma siamo a 2'10", metà del pezzo un breve assolo del mandolino, che si allontana un po' dalla sua formula ricorrente. A 2'26" ricomincia la parte vocale, ancora in forma AABB, e al termine di nuovo il solo del mandolino. Come si capisce, l'architettura complessiva di "Teleportation" è molto lineare e non offre ulteriori sorprese; essendovene del resto già abbastanza nello stile dei Falcao meravigliao.
2009 Radio Charts
-Tuesday October 06th
CKXU Lethbridge #10
-Tuesday August 25th
WNCW Spindale NC #1
KXLU Los Angeles CA # 7 New World
WXDU Durham NC #33, #7 World
-Tuesday August 18th
Radio Phoenix AZ #9 Top 30, #3 New World
WXDU Durham NC #10, # 5 World Chart
-Tuesday August 11th 2009
#50 on Earshot Top 50
CFMU Hamilton ONT #18
CHMR St. Johns NL #30
CITR Vancouver BC #20
CJAM Windsor ONT #10
KWLC Decorah IA #14
KWUR St. Louis MO #30
KZSC Santa Cruz CA #29
Radio Phoenix Phoenix AZ #11
WMHB Waterville ME #22
WMUC College Park MD #21
WPTS Pittsburgh PA #23
WUNH Durham NH #4
-Tuesday August 04th 2009
CFMU Hamilton ONT #30
CHMR St. Johns NL #20
KAOS Olympia WA #8
KBBI Homer AK #28
KSLU-1 St. Louis MO #12
KWUR St. Louis MO #26
KZSC Santa Cruz CA #22
Radio Phoenix Tempe AZ #11, #3 New World
WDCE Richmond VA #28
WRPI Troy NY #13
WUNH Durham NH #6
CHOQ Montreal QC #9 Top Anglophone album
- Tuesday July 28th
#120 on CMJ TOP 200
CHMR St. Johns NL-Canada #18
CHOQ Montreal QB #18, #8 Top Anglophone album
CJAM Windsor ONT #12
KBBI Homer AK #28
KSCL Shreveport LA #29
KSLU-1 St. Louis MO #15
KWCW Walla Walla WA #15
KWUR St. Louis MO #16
KZSC Santa Cruz CA #25
Radio Phoenix Tempe AZ #17, #2 New World
WDCE Richmond VA #24
WMEB Orono ME (#27
WMHB Waterville ME #30
WNCW Spindale NC #15
WPSC Wayne NJ #27
WRPI Troy NY #23
WUNH Durham NH #14
- Tuesday July 21st
#158 on CMJ Top 200
CHMR St. Johns NL - #26
CHOQ Montreal Canada #21
KVMR Nevada City CA #30
KWCW Walla Walla WA #18
KSLU-1 St. Louis MO
KZSC Santa Cruz CA to #4
WDCE Richmond VA #20
WMHB Waterville ME #28
WNCW Spindale NC #22
WPSC Wayne NJ #27
WRFL -1 Lexington KY #24
WRNC Ashland WI #30
WRPI Troy NY #23.
- Tuesday July 14th
CHMR St. Johns NL #26
KCPR San Luis Obispo CA #14
KSLU-1 St. Louis MO #26
KVMR Nevada City CA #11
KWCW Walla Walla WA #17
WNCW Spindale NC #19
WPSC Wayne NJ #28
WRPI Troy NY #28
- Tuesday July 7th
CJLY Nelson BC #14
KOPN Columbia MO #6
WUTK Knoxville, TN #4 of Top 5 Adds
KZSC Santa Cruz CA #2 of Top 5 Adds
KTUH Honolulu HI #3 top RPM Add
- Tuesday, June 23, 2009
CITR Vancouver BC #3/Top 30, #13 for the Month of June