Kurboom Original Freestyle Design - Dressage at Devon Success

Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Posted by Tamara Williamson


So...The making of Jacqueline Brook's kur really started when I was lucky enough to go to the Olympics and watch the freestyles this summer. I came away with a clear idea of what I wanted to do. Something dramatic and clever at the same time. It struck me that the world of freestyles was getting a bit too Hollywood epic and I wanted to just take it back a notch. Don’t get me wrong, I love epic, but it is sometimes too much of a good thing maybe, just my opinion. So I approached Jacquie with an idea. I started my company “Kurboom” in 2002, Jacquie was my first client so we have made many kurs together. I love working with Jacquie as she always loves to try new ideas, and has a very musical ear.  Jacquie is also my dressage coach and unlike some other freestyle composers I’m a level 3 dressage rider...It’s awesome I get to mix my two great loves ...Anyway, she said YES.
We wanted to make a Canadian kur celebrating some of Canada’s finest songsters so Leonard Cohen's “Halleluiah”, one of the greatest songs ever written, was a nice place to start, The Joni Mitchell song “Big Yellow Taxi” a folk anthem through the ages, Neil Young's “Heart of Gold” and then for the intro Spirit of the West “Home for a Rest” one of the greatest drinking songs EVER! All Canadian - all recognizable...or should be anyway.

So three weeks before Devon, myself and my long time drummer friend Morgan Doctor (The Clicks, Toronto Tabla Ensemble) and producer/engineer Mitchell Girio got together at The Slaughter House studio’s downtown Toronto, to record the beds. I made a map of the test making sure each part was mirrored and then I literally sang section by section how the music was going to work with in the gait’s of the horse and the pattern. It was hard and everyone had headaches but we got through making all the drum’s tracks the first day. So then we just kept adding layers but at the end of each session I would go over and Jacquie would ride it to make sure it was all working. She also would make choices about how much instrumentation she wanted. We all agreed it was sounding pretty good with just drums, guitar, bass and vocals...but we sent it off to violinist Karen Graves (Sarah Harmer, Sarah Sleen) and she added some spectacular fiddle and string arrangements.

We emailed the finished kur to the sound man in Devon on the Thursday before the Saturday Fresstyle competition. So needless to say it was all VERY exciting.
I am interested in making original music or kur’s from scratch. I am tired of editing together pre-existing music which can only work up to a point. When you create a kur for the horse that’s when the artistry comes into play. I honestly think Jacquie would not have won on Saturday with an edited kur. You could hear it in the way the crowd responded, they are ready for more.

Tamara Williamson was a major label recording artist with her band Mrs. Torrance. She has since released six independent albums and has toured north America and Europe extensively. Her music is available on itunes. Visit Kurboom's Virtual Vendor listing here!