Alexander Varty

Lulu Performing Arts Society

Despite having been the kind of child who read the dictionary for fun, I’ve just been introduced to a new word, xenophrenia, which the online Encyclopedia of World Problems & Human Potential defines it as “any state other than the normal waking state.”

This, apparently, has also been described as “the etheric body coming out of alignment with the physical body.”

It’s perhaps a state many Gabriolans know well and that many more might want to investigate, especially in the midst of a grey February. And if that is in fact the case, there’s no better way to research the condition than by spending an evening with the Victoria-based electroacoustic trio Thelema Banana, which the Lulu Performing Arts Society is bringing to the Gabriola Arts and Heritage Centre on Saturday, February 10.

Unabashed xenophrenists, David Bodrug, Jro Schuurman, and Aaron Watson use an assortment of drums, horns, keyboards, and modular synthesizers to create what

Bodrug, in an email interview, describes as “a soundtrack to something out of the ordinary.”

“The approach….is often finding an alternate reality to work with—be it some sci-fi future or fictive past,” he continues. “We embrace the other. That can take us to dark places sometimes, but also into moments of transcendent beauty.”

As can be heard via the group’s Bandcamp page (, its sound can range from almost jazz to almost noise, and although individual pieces occasionally hold a mood or a texture for an extended period, this only heightens the effect of having been immersed in some dream-like environment. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Bodrug claims the American filmmaker

David Lynch as a key inspiration, citing the Twin Peaks director’s view that “even what is thought of as aesthetically unpleasing can have beauty if seen through a different lens.”

“There’s always the question of ‘Is this something that could act as the score to a film?’” he explains.

What happens in the mind-movies that will be generated at the GAC Hall is entirely up to the listeners, Bodrug adds. “Each audience member likely soaks up their own sense of otherness through a performance and this might be entirely different from our intention, but that’s okay. If we can all walk away with a new feeling or thought, we’ve accomplished something.”

Lulu Performing Arts Society presents Thelema Banana on Saturday, February 10th, 4pm at the Gabriola Arts and Heritage Centre. Advance tickets $25, door $30, students $10; available online at and at Nova Art and Craft Boutique.

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