Eli himself grew up in a strict Christian household, no less in the wrong body. His father would jam the button of the radio with a rubber band to keep the pagan sounds of Nirvana and Metallica from reaching the ears. To no avail: Eli snuck into the room upstairs and copied a seized cassette tape, listening to these enticing discordant sounds in silent secrecy.
This opened up the first rift to a new reality for Eli, one he purposefully plunged into for the remainder of his existence. It took him to places and experiences across vast oceans, a sequence of revelations and events that crescendoed to becoming the person he always wished to see staring back at him in the mirror. Bear Valour’s latest EP Dover symbolises a necessary reckoning with Eli’s previous self.
These five songs symbolise the final chapter of the band’s drastic reinvention as both artists and human beings: a gripping audiovisual performance at Rotterdam’s Motel Mozaïque and a short documentary capture Eli’s heart-stirring dialogue with his past self, harmonising his personal transformation with the transformation of Bear Valour’s music.
Dover’s final song ‘Iron Heart’ offers the first glimpse of the band in its refurbished, elemental form. The song documents the sometimes eerie, magical coincidences in which love bestows itself upon two tethered individuals. Bear Valour has hereby achieved their thrilling definitive state: seven close-knit individuals tangled within the same creative web, cleansed by a tidal wave of potent shared experience.
The moonstricken, mystical alternative folk of Bear Valour embodies a quest for both inner and outer harmony for its chief songwriter and composer, Eli Oscar Awad. Like with any quest, there have to be devoted disciples joining the adventurer’s cause. In Bear Valour’s case, the cast of characters is both unconventional and intoxicating: Linda Visser, Alisa Timmermans and Sherida Alberga radiate as the group’s three towering sirens, while Josha Stribos, Eddie Kuijpers and Erwin Pronk engross themselves in melody, pulse and rhythm.