EPK for Elsa Nilsson Quartet Hindsight
ELSA NILSSON
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HINDSIGHT will be released in full on February 21st, 2020. This album started as a reaction. November 9th, 2016. I was home alone, feeling confused and betrayed after the election. My whole world had changed overnight and my faith in humanity was crushed. As I do in times of turmoil in my life, I turned to my instrument. I remember experiencing this pit in my soul, like we all fucked up and everything was about to go dark.

In the midst of these spiraling negative thoughts I got a message from my guitarist Jeff McLaughlin, a video of thousands of people on the streets yelling “We reject the president elect!”. As I watched the street full of people chanting together I felt overwhelmed with gratitude. I heard my own frustration and despair in their voices, and it made me feel less alone. I put my flute down on the piano and began writing.

What came out was HINDSIGHT, the title track of the record. I poured every once of fear, frustration, rage and hope onto the page. I can’t say that it felt good, but it felt important. It was something I had to do. The song ends with the rhythm underlying the now infamous protest chant “This is what democracy looks like!”. It starts together and then falls apart, mirroring how my faith in the concept of democracy was doing the same. It wasn’t just about who won the election, but the depth of fallacy in the entirety of the system.

My band and I started playing “Hindsight” around New York, and every time we did the energy in the room would shift. It gave me a direction, a way to express my beliefs and take action that felt genuine and powerful. I wanted to do more, so I started calling my representatives, I went to protests and yelled until I lost my voice, I donated to causes, but nothing felt like it was enough. It felt like I was just doing things to make myself feel better rather than having any impact on the world. So I returned to writing music. Every issue that struck me hard became a song, the chants I’d been yelling in the streets embedded within. THIS was my protest, my deepest form of resistance. And when I brought the music to the band it ceased to be just my resistance, it became ours.

In recording and releasing this music it has taken on a life of its own. Now it belongs to everybody. The music that began alone in my practice room has grown like the chants do in the streets. It lives within the human instinct to make things better. Thank you for being a huge part of this. The world is dark and we have a lot of work to do. We need each other, and I need you.

I'm releasing this video on February 3rd, 2020, the day of the Iowa Caucuses. Now is the time to step up.
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