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Milwaukee Music Premiere: Anja Elise, ‘the lost one’

Cover art from "the lost one."
Ella Freigang
Cover art from "the lost one."

Every week, Milwaukee Music Premiere connects the city’s artists with our listening audience. If you’re an artist with a track you’d like us to debut exclusively on Radio Milwaukee, head over to our Music Submission page to learn how.

While this particular premiere appears under the name of Milwaukee-based artist Anja Elise, every step of its journey from creation to execution was a family affair.

It started with Lisa Freigang, a violinist and lyricist in addition to being Elise’s mom. Forced to deal with the deaths of several family members in rapid succession, Freigang needed an outlet for how she felt and penned “the lost one” — a song she said “explores the emotions of loss, coming to terms with grief and the courage to move forward.”

The first thing you hear on the track is local musician Dallas Brown, whose gentle guitar work is a tone-setter, as well as the only non-family component in the project. Elise’s cool, melancholy vocals come in next and are soon joined by Craig Freigang on drums as a story of ache and escape unfolds:

The lost one comes slowly, like a rift through time
Taking me on a journey, that is not entirely mine
The lost one brings me comfort, in the dark spaces of my mind
Wrapping me in memories of another time

Lisa lends her violin throughout the song but most poignantly in the last 90 seconds as it spearheads an instrumental tribute to her sister, a fellow violinist and pediatrician who died of cancer. It’s a lovely project that emerged from a painful place, and you can listen to it using the player at the top of the page.

The single — with cover art from Ella Freigang, the third member of the sibling trio to contribute — is available for pre-order now and will get its proper release next Friday, Nov. 9, along with a show at Linneman’s Riverwest Inn that night at 6:30 p.m. All proceeds from the event will benefit Children’s Wisconsin oncology ward in honor of Lisa’s sister.