Kele Fleming laments the loss of ecosystems in ‘Where the Rivers Meet’
The indelible, but tenuous bond between the natural and human worlds is being tested like never before with unprecedented loss and change. And singer-songwriter Kele Fleming has distilled her grief over this into her new single, “Where the Rivers Meet.”
The sixth single to be released from Kele’s fourth solo album, The Song I’ll Write For My Whole Life, “Where the Rivers Meet” was written while the nature-loving artist was spending time in the lush Kootenays area of southeastern B.C. in 2019.
“I was in one of my favourite places on Earth and surrounded by towering mountains, breathless forests, cool lakes and rushing rivers,” she said. “The song captures my love of the natural world.
“And it’s a love song [about] wanting so badly to get another chance and to do right with the one you love.”
Watching the massive fires that have occurred over multiple summers in Canada, the U.S. and Australia spurred Kele to underline the fragile connection between humans and nature in song.
“Our energy and spirits are impacted by the marginalization and destruction of nature,” she said. “Everything is connected, and we have experienced a loss of connection. The beauty we experience in the natural world is also reflected in us.”
Kele released the song to bring attention to some of the most at-risk areas of our environments, she said.
“Where the Rivers Meet” also signifies the meeting of two creative and connected artists. Singer-Songwriter Aaron Trory, the bass player in Kele’s band, duets with her on the track.
“When I wrote the song, I knew Aaron’s voice was perfect for the duet and that he would bring a wonderful combination of grit and vulnerability to it,” she said, adding, “Aaron always says that when we sing this song together, he’s reminded of Gram Parsons and Emmy-Lou Harris. Pretty esteemed company!”
Finally, a little familial approval helped Kele decide to highlight “Where The Rivers Meet” as a single. “This is my Dad’s favourite song out of any I’ve written!” she exclaimed.
“Where the River’s Meet” follows on the August release of Kele’s fifth single from the same album, “Me Oh My,” written by Ron Yamauchi.
The song gives the Victoria-based artist the opportunity to stretch vocally from calm reflection to an emotional roar — knowing well what inspired Ron’s powerfully personal lyrics.
“I wrote this after my first family reunion with my birth family,” Ron explained. “It’s about thinking about difficulty in one’s past, sacrifices others made for you, and feeling grateful.”
“Me Oh My” was originally recorded for Kele’s 2016 album, No Static, a complete collaboration with Ron on which most of the tracks are co-writes. “Me Oh My” is the release’s exception, written solely by Ron, but Kele was up to the challenge of interpreting her friend’s song, as she was on the cusp of going through big life changes herself.
“I can hear the intensity of the emotion I was feeling at the time in my vocal performance,” She said. “I was hopeful and fierce that the shifts and changes I was following in my life would bring me peace and love.”