Carmen Braden: Embracing the Subarctic
Winner of both the 2019 and 2020 Western Canadian Music Award for Classical Composer of the Year, Carmen Braden is a versatile genre-blending musician worthy of the title. Based in her hometown of Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Carmen draws inspiration from her home, using her creative outlet to explore various aspects of the landscape, such as the lake ice, northern life, raven calls and bedrock. She is often incorporating other creative mediums into her work and performances. Passionate about creative education, Carmen has worked with students in the Northwest Territories in many ways of music making.
From a young age, Carmen showed an interest in pursuing music. Carmen received a Bachelor of Music in Composition from Acadia University before going on to pursue a Masters with the University of Calgary. Carmen’s music has been performed across Canada and internationally by a variety of ensembles such as the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and The Gryphon Trio.
Carmen shares that music is her job and so finding a balance between her passion and work comes easily to her. However, for Carmen there is a necessity of finding time for non-musical parts of her life. Sharing that, “often I’ll find my next inspiration in those non-musical parts! Even things as simple as household chores, random sentences I over-hear in a crowd, [or] glimpse of the changing season.” Carmen also credits her balance to her supportive family and community, allowing her to pursue her passion in music. “I couldn’t do it without them!”
While new to the Blundstone brand, Carmen was overjoyed to join the Blundstone Playlist Volume 4. Her favorite indoor shoes are her trusty slippers, “I’ve often heard people refer to Blundstone [boots] as ‘outdoor slippers’ – so it feels like a perfect match.” Carmen can’t wait to get walking in her new boots, across lake ice that is over 4-feet thick, hiking on 4-billion-year-old bedrock on the Canadian Shield and travels all across Canada.
Carmen’s Blundstone Playlist contribution – “Small Town Song” – comes from her first studio album, Raven, released in 2017. Since then, she released a second studio album entitled Songs of the Invisible Summer Stars in 2019. Head over to the Blundstone Playlist and listen to “Small Town Song”. It celebrates the small towns that are dotted across our great country, with a perfect sound of being off-the-beaten-track. Enjoy!
Follow Carmen for music updates and upcoming performances:
Feature Photo by Bill Braden
Blog Photos by Hannah Eden