Valdera is many things: A region in Tuscany; an art deco apartment block on Peterborough st; and the solo moniker of James Musgrave, under which he explores the medium of guitar and voice. Valdera songs embody the reflection, solitude, and frozen hope of a southern winter, and the joy and fulfilled promise of spring. Summer and autumn… not so much.
The first version of Valdera was a two piece consisting of James Musgrave on acoustic guitar and Bri Yaakoup (Frase and Bri) on piano. Early recordings on James’ computer attest to the band being formed in late 2004, which seems like a long time ago now. They intended to make quiet and pretty music, as a reaction to the very loud style of their previous band, where they were joined by mutual friend Fraser Austin (Frase and Bri, Secrets).
However, this duo didn’t last long. James forgot about quiet music and went off to form A Flight To Blackout, and Bri linked up with Fraser again to form Frase and Bri. But James never stopped playing acoustic guitar. He continued to write songs, singing softly to himself in various freezing flats across Christchurch City, and slowly gaining the confidence necessary to do so in front of other humans.
Before live performance however, he spent long hours teaching himself to record the best of the songs that he had so far written, again in various freezing flats across Christchurch. Eventually, in a modest room on Nicholls st around 2006, James was finally happy with the sound of the recordings. Unfortunately, after hearing them over and over ad naseum, by this time he was also completely sick of the songs themselves – so he left them to sit idle on his hard drive.
Fast forward to 2008, and James decided that the only way he was going to play live was by forcing himself. Therefore, the first Valdera show was booked, and on 01.06.08 he supported A Flight To Blackout and I.Ryoko at the Christchurch Media Club. The songs ranged from ones written in 2004 to the present, and were completely acoustic and unaccompanied.
Since then Valdera has branched out into the world of electricity, with about 50% of the currently played songs involving electric guitar, programmed drums, and synth all plugged into a loop station with vocals on top. Sometimes the Valdera setlist is acoustic, sometimes electric, and sometimes a mix of both.
Now, several years later, the finishing touches are being put on the Nicholls st recordings, and will be released as a 4 song EP before the end of 2008.
This extended bio was brought to you by the letter A, the colour white, and a completely shameless use of the third person. Thank you.
Discography (picks in bold)
- 145 [November 2008 self-released]
- Terminus [September 2009 self-released]
- All Past and All Future [January 2010 self-released]
- Early Earth [May 2010 self-released]
- Remnants [November 2010 self-released]