Published Jan 24, 2009An inventive coupling of indie-rock and graphic art, Le Cyc is an earnest, theatrical production, exploring social imbalances from a unique perspective. The product of musical and visual artists steeped in the galvanizing Burnt Oak Records collective and Kazoo! Concert series in Guelph, Ontario, Le Cyc is a "bike opera" that fosters empowerment by adopting the ultimate DIY vehicle, as a beautifully primitive (and literal) symbol of revolution.
Composer Eihab Boraie sought a collaborative venture that he and illustrator Dave Willekes might pursue. "I got back from travelling in Egypt and heard that Dave was biking across Canada with his band, the Special Purpose," Boraie explains. "I thought about how all the pedalling they were doing could power a city. When he came back, he was looking for a project and we decided to work at it." Boraie began writing a haunting libretto, revising drafts as Willekes created corresponding ink drawings, coloured with wine and coffee. Within a surreal, abstract character study, Le Cyc explores the inherent people power of bicycles as modes of production. "In third world countries, bikes get used as primitive machinery to blend margaritas," Boraie chuckles. "Some use bicycles to power televisions in Japan. So, people are starting to think about practical ways of generating power."
Le Cyc initially consisted of Guelph musicians and local boosters bringing Boraie's words to life, as Willekes' comic-inspired images were projected sequentially behind them. The effect was overwhelming, occasionally masking the subtle narrative. Since then the libretto has expanded further, just in time for Le Cyc to reach new, discerning audiences across Ontario. "I've always had full confidence in the project from the perspective that it's a bombardment of stimulus," Willekes says, "There's an orchestra and fast-moving visuals; it's an overload to watch."