The Process Is the Project: Ruby Singh on the Making of Vox.Infold
December 09, 2021
“...the human voice is an adaptation of the metabolic activity most crucial to our existence – breathing. This is how the atmosphere enters our beings and how we know we are intimately connected to our world.” – Ruby Singh
Ruby Singh wants to create art outside of the patriarchal, capital-driven music industry. His latest creation, the album Vox.Infold, is a reflection of the process that went into making it, outside of the white supremacist, capitalist system we’re familiar with. The first single and video for the song “Nakshatra” was released on December 8, and the whole album can be experienced at the PuSh Festival in 2022, at the extraordinary Lobe Studio facility.
With a professional background in facilitation and social justice, Ruby’s talents include bringing disparate people and concepts together in such a way that they seem like a natural fit. A good illustration of this is his previous album Jhalaak, which reinterprets 13th century Sufi poetry, into a hip-hop album featuring Manganiyar musicians, recorded in the clay huts of the Thar desert in Rajasthan India.
The making of the new album was both stressful, because of Covid worries and restrictions, and exhilarating, as the artists were able to gather and create together (though separated by partitions, 20 feet and masks). “It really was a time when we were being told singing together could kill you,” says Ruby. The loneliness and isolation of the last year are palpable in the acappella work, but so is the joy of working in harmony with others to create something beautiful and meaningful.
”I loved being able to collaborate with this group of incredible artists,” says Vox.Infold vocalist and Vancouver musical luminary Dawn Pemberton. “I learned so much, and felt like I had to put my best foot forward to keep up with their creativity and amazing ideas”.
The collaboration grew out of Ruby’s previous relationships with the artists involved, but they did not all know each other, and he let the sound of the project happen organically. “I had some ideas, and I just threw them out there to a group of incredibly talented humans,” he says. The space and process were created to give the group of BIPOC artists the opportunity to explore the evocative potential of sound through voice, and give the listener a place to experience the power of these human voices, and to consider where they are accepted in our society, and where they are denied. The result is Vox.Infold.
Dawn Pemberton has known Ruby Singh for over 20 years, and explains why his work is so successful at bringing us closer together in an understanding of our shared humanity. “Ruby is a very conscious creator with a lot of vision. His process is intentional and relational. It’s all about community.”
Vox.Infold runs January 20-30 at the Lobe Studio, for full details visit pushfestival.ca/shows/ruby-singhs-vox-infold/