Tunnel Canary

Members: Nathan Holiday (a.k.a. Aleh Kaheen), guitars and electronics; Ebra Ziron, vocals; David Sheftel, bass and electronics.

Tunnel Canary AWH

Tunnel Canary formed in 1978/79 after Nathan Holiday left the original line-up of [e?]. He formed Tunnel Canary with the expressed purpose to be a hard-hitting, anarchist, improvised, electro-punk band. Although influenced by the punk-rock bombast of the Sex Pistols and the Clash, et al, Nathan wanted to take things further than three-chords, leather jackets & spiky haircuts.

Tunnel Canary used cheap, customized electronic technology, employed bold fashion and gesture in their performance, and unleashed an extreme musical statement upon their audiences. Back in 1979, few people knew how to describe Tunnel Canary's free-flowing, largely improvised wall of noise, featuring cascading sheets of cathartic rage and abject fury interposed with feedback and drone-like passages. There was little else to compare it to!

Ebra, the diminutive shrieking fury at the front of this ensemble, was Nathan's then-partner. She was drafted into the project after Nathan saw a group of female punk fans screaming into a microphone that had been inadvertently left operational during between-band set-up at a local concert. In hindsight, it's hard to imagine anyone other than Ebra capable of doing what she did in Tunnel Canary. In the early stages, the core duo experimented with various musical collaborators, including drummers, but the idea of percussive rhythm was quickly discarded. Eventually the band resolved to a trio lineup with the addition of bassist David Sheftel. This was the stable lineup that most Vancouver audiences witnessed during their all too brief career.

To read Nathan Holiday's full Tunnel Canary bio, click here do download the text file, or here for the PDF.

In 2009 filmmaker Eric Lupe produced a Tunnel Canary documentary. This film is not yet available on DVD. Contact ved001@canada.com for more info. View the trailer here.

For information regarding Tunnel Canary recordings, contact Nathan Holiday.