By Mike Shanley
Pittsburgh Current Music Writer
Throughout various artistic projects, Christiane Leach used a few variations on her name, including Christiane D. and Christiane Dolores, to name just a few.
Now the local musician/artist/activist has become Madame Dolores for her latest release, The Pantry of Salt and Sugar.
The project began on the day after the most recent presidential inauguration. “I think it was snowing outside,” she says. “I sat at my dining room table, thinking, ‘Did this just really happen? How am I going to emotionally psychologically, spiritually, psychically deal with the coming hell?’”
MADAME DOLORES CD RELEASE SHOW. 9 p.m., Saturday, July 27. Pittsburgh Limousine, South Side Works Dock, 2611 S. Water Street, South Side. Tickets: $30
Madame Dolores answered her questions by creating songs spontaneously, using only her computer. After numerous collaborations, in groups like Soma Mestizo and Qliterrati, this marks her first solo project. She gave herself a limited amount of time to layer the beats, with lyrics coming spontaneously as soon as she hit Record. To date, she has created over 500 of these pieces, which she initially referred to as micro-songs.
The 15 tracks on The Pantry of Salt and Sugar come from this first batch, although she says that, with most of them lasting two or three minutes, they’re not really “micro” anymore. Ranging from stark, distorted beats to more peaceful, sensual grooves as it progresses, the album presents a response to the turbulent times, offering hope for the future. The album title envisions this country as a pantry. “If America was made into a cabinet, you would open it up and it would be full of salty and sugary things,” Madame Dolores says. “We call it the land of milk and honey but I call it the pantry of salt and sugar.”
Madame Dolores is releasing a physical CD, she says, only after being encouraged by friends. She has higher hopes of presenting music in nontraditional settings. Earlier this year it was featured in Streaming Space, a public art piece displayed in Market Square. She would like it to continue utilizing it for sound art.
In keeping with unusual settings, her CD release show — part of LovePghMusic month — includes a full band and takes place on a Pittsburgh water limousine rather than a club or a performance space. “I’ve played a lot of shows in spaces that have walls. I’m tired of walls. I’m tired of people talking about walls,” she says. “We’re not just going to go into any old club. You’re going to go into my mind. It’s something special and I want it to be special for you.”