ABOUT - Of the Sun
"In terms of a triumph of the human spirit, it is an extraordinary achievement.."
Based in idyllic rural Cedar on Vancouver Island, Canadian musician and multidisciplinary artist Marian van der Zon is a woman possessed of a considerable breadth of creative talent and achievement, but with extraordinary courage and resolve to match.
A singer-songwriter and inventive banjoist with the quirky alt. folk outfit Puzzleroot between 2009 and 2012, Marian is now exploring new sonic and thematic territory with Of the Sun. Blending organic psych-folk, alt. country, and loop technology with lyrics and messages of healing, spirituality, love, perseverance, and mysticism, the debut Of the Sun album, Still Rising stands as a huge personal and artistic triumph.
"Looping her voice to produce layers of choral vocals,
van der Zon performed the acapella We are Love with arms outstretched, and it was incredible." Folk Radio UK
It has been a very long road to the completion and release of this dramatic collection of material. Marian suffered a serious vehicle accident in 2013 – an upending event so physically and mentally debilitating that it ended her academic career, and she has been unable to work since. And as a performer, touring as it is generally considered remains an impossibility; a single performance is so draining for Marian that it takes her days to recover.
Consider this: for years following that fateful day Marian suffered from a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), with migraines and exhaustion - so much so that, as a musician, she could not even listen to music with a discernible beat without experiencing acute discomfort and distress. So, that she has battled her way back from such an unthinkable situation, to rebuild her life and create the musical journey that is Still Rising is simply extraordinary, yet testament to her indomitable force of will.
Marian’s recovery continues at the serene, bucolic home – the ‘Valley of Miracles’ that she is gradually fashioning into Of the Sun Sanctuary - including Nature Meditations and Equine Facilitated Wellness with her three beloved Medicine Horses, Zadia, Tia-Jewel, and Shasta.
Of the Sun’s long-awaited debut album was crafted in collaboration with the 7-time Juno-winning Canadian legend Steve Dawson’s Henhouse Express, the innovative ‘in-house’ band comprising Dawson (guitars), Gary Craig (drums), and bassist Jeremy Holmes. Formed shortly after the declaration of the COVID-19 pandemic, it provided a means for Dawson and his cohorts to continue working by offering a service for artists like Marian to record with them remotely. Additionally, Marian bolstered the contributing personnel by drafting in Justin Amaral (percussion) and William Moore (bass) on three tracks, as well as backing vocalist friends Darren McKinnon, Tina Jones, Shelley Brown, and James Scholl.
A direct translation of her surname, Of the Sun is the latest chapter of Marian’s already storied life as a creative and academic. Besides her current focus Marian’s eye-popping resume boasts numerous sound art/collage projects and membership of the ground-breaking, Vancouver Island University-birthed multimedia performance project, Meridian, the group in which Marian made her remarkable and unexpected stage comeback in 2017. A professor in Media Studies and Women’s Studies at VIU from 2005 until the accident in 2013, having also been involved in radio and media activism for over a decade she co-edited the anthological book, Islands of Resistance: Pirate Radio in Canada (New Star Books, 2010).
Still Rising could hardly be a more apt title for Marian’s deeply personal solo project. As her gradual recovery and spiritual journey continue, she is pressing ahead, ever onward to realms that surely seemed like unattainable dreams just a few short years ago. And yet, no one that has ever encountered Marian’s gutsy spirit is surprised, as she is proving to be an embodiment of the philosophy that the beginning is always now.