Witness the subtle beauty of Jonah Yano's jazz-leaning songs on The Intro

Watch Yano and his bandmates play 3 songs from his latest album, the BadBadNotGood-produced Portrait of a Dog.

Watch Yano and his bandmates play 3 songs from his latest album, Portrait of a Dog

Witness the subtle beauty of Jonah Yano's jazz-leaning songs | The Intro

5 months ago
Duration 24:42
Jonah Yano brings his eclectic music stylings to The Intro and talks about collaborating with Badbadnotgood, and incorporating his family stories into his newest record.

"The theme of family runs through [your music] like a roaring river," notes host Damhnait Doyle during her interview with singer-songwriter Jonah Yano on his episode of CBC Music's The Intro, streaming above.

That theme is central to the first of three songs Yano and his band perform during their session.

On "Always," a highlight from his most recent album, Portrait of a Dog, Yano ruminates on his brother's breakup (and by extension his own, he admits), while his bandmates explore the song's muted harmonies. The tune's compound meter launches Felix Fox-Pappas into an eloquent solo on electric piano — a standout moment.

Yano's esoteric songs belie myriad influences — Portrait of a Dog was produced by jazz outfit BadBadNotGood, and he lists emo hip-hop duo Moneyphone among his former roommates — and jazz-leaning "The Speed of Sound" bears witness to this eclecticism. "The speed of sound is so at ease/ but it's needed for the wind to speak," Yano sings, his voice itself a delicate zephyr. By contrast, Leighton McKinley Harrell's bass solo has a thoroughly grounding effect.

Born in Hiroshima, Yano has called Vancouver, Toronto and now Montreal home, collecting friends and like-minded collaborators along the way — an amorphous fellowship that informs his music's spontaneity.

Their session concludes with "Haven't Haven't," Yano's attempt to encapsulate his grandparents' identities in music, following a visit to their home in Port Coquitlam, B.C. You'll hear echoes of Tom Misch's nostalgic "Movie" in its gently waltzing tempo, before saxophonist Christopher Edmondson ushers the song out with an effusive solo.

CBC Music's The Intro spotlights emerging musicians across the country through interviews and live performances, and airs on CBC GemYouTube and Keep an eye out for new episodes every second Tuesday.