Priced-out artist sings familiar tune

Local folk band laments Vancouver’s affordability crisis on new album

Melissa Bandura has taken a page out of the George Costanza playbook.

Her message: it’s not you Vancouver, it’s me. Well, sort of. Bandura is the lyricist and principle songwriter of Vancouver folk band Familiar Wild.

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The group is slated to release its new album, Things We Forgot, on Nov. 10 and its central theme speaks to the concept of home.

The band formed in 2013, and Vancouver was Bandura’s home for more than a decade. Earlier this year she moved to Victoria because life in Metro Vancouver got too expensive and unmanageable.

Her lyrics from the song entitled “Home” lament the cost of living in the big smoke: “Home, it’s not what you think, it’s a diamond ring that discoloured. Home, it’s an empty nest we try to fill our best like good lovers.”

“Housing is a lot more affordable in Victoria compared to Vancouver,” Bandura told the Courier. “It’s still an unaffordable city relative to other cities. But compared to what I was used to, it’s a lot better.”

Bandura taught music and yoga in Vancouver, while her husband worked from home as a programmer. The couple lived in Mount Pleasant.

Their Island Time transition has allowed Bandura to focus exclusively on music — that’s her bread and butter day job — and her husband retained his programming gig.

“There wasn’t a future that we could see for ourselves in the city,” she said. “We’re not bitter about it. I love Vancouver. It would be great to be able to live there.”

Bandura’s four other bandmates still live in Vancouver. Bandura said they perform and rehearse less often nowadays, but focus their efforts on landing higher-profile gigs. The intention is to do more with less, and take a quality-over-quantity approach to gigs and promotional efforts.

Bandura suggests her move has not crippled the band’s progress, nor the internal dynamic. The Courier attempted contacting Bandura’s bandmates. No dice.

“I don’t want them to think that I’m breaking up with them, because I’m not,” she said. “We’ve had the talk. We have to take it month by month to make sure everything is still working for everyone. They saw it coming, it was sort of expected, so it was fine. It ended up being a great conversation.”  

The group plays its album release party at the Media Club, Nov. 10.

jkurucz@vancourier.comLocal folk band laments Vancouver’s affordability crisis on new album


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