Kishi Bashi: Winter’s Eve

Atmospheric, eerie and layered, “Winter’s Eve” by singer-songwriter and musician Kishi Bashi (aka Kaoru Ishibashi) is the title track for a short film by Max Lowe. Written during the annual polar bear gathering in the subarctic near to Churchill, Manitoba, the track is a haunting lament. Ishibashi explains, “The polar bears in this region spend most of the summer onshore, away from their seal prey, and begin gathering on the shores of Hudson Bay in the fall, waiting for the sea ice to return so that they can trek across the frozen bay to hunt for seals. I was deeply moved to learn that polar bears here now spend three to four more weeks off the ice than their grandparents did. It made me think about how the arrival of winter is so important for polar bears near Churchill, and how they are anticipating and awaiting their return to the ice and the cold. ‘Winter’s Eve’ is about perspective. While many of us associate the winter with darkness, restraint, and lifelessness, polar bears see the opposite. It is a time of vitality and vigor, and the anticipation of hunting and mating can be seen and felt when visiting them as they gaze upon the unfrozen ocean, waiting for it to freeze. Unfortunately, due to global warming, the Arctic ice is melting, and the winter is setting on later and is remarkably shorter, causing an incredible strain on the polar bear population. ‘Winter’s Eve’ is about embracing the perspective that all living things on this planet are infinitely intertwined within a delicate ecosystem, and that climate change will cause catastrophic failures that will ultimately leave this world uninhabitable for our future children.”