“The Garden” by Erica Dee Mah

Taking inspiration from the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, Yukon-based artist Erica Dee Mah has released her new single “The Garden,” out now. “The Garden” is Mah’s lead single for her upcoming EP Paper Wealth which is set to be released May 8th of this year.

Mah is an orchestral folk musician, using grander instruments like violins and cellos throughout her music. Scattering these elegant strings in song give it this beautiful natural sound, which perfectly mirrors her muse of the garden in Vancouver’s Chinatown. Mah not only sings on the track but accompanies herself on the Guzheng – a Chinese zither with 2500 years of history. It is clear how thoughtful Mah was when crafting this song and what instruments would be incorporated based on her influence from the Chinese and Vancouver’s Chinatown.

When sharing her influence behind the song, Mah shared, “I see the garden as a symbol of long-lasting cultural resilience. I was inspired to write the song after visiting the new Chinese-Canadian museum in 2021 with my brother and seeing how much the Chinatown community was struggling.”

So, the common thread throughout the struggles is the community’s resilience on the garden and what it means to them. “Street by street, we feel the defeat / Put bars on the shop windows / We’ve still got the garden,” she sings in the second verse.

Overall, Erica Dee Mah’s thoughtful artistry is extremely admirable. This is the first time I have heard an orchestra folk artist so it is truly beautiful to see her weave the complicities of orchestral music with the powerful stories of folk songs.

Written by Katie Power





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