FolkNorth 2017 Artists
With the success of Amanda Rheaume’s latest album Holding Patterns, it’s safe to say she has arrived. The Canadian Folk Music Award winner and Juno Nominee continues to connect with audiences with her deeply personal, uplifting and instantly recognizable sound at festivals and on stages across Canada and Europe.
Strung together with whatever instruments lay to hand, Canailles are a self-taught bunch who have created an instinctive sound enriched by the members’ diverse backgrounds—because the world is a big and beautiful place. Gospel, blues and other old-time traditions are embraced and proudly elevated into a wall of contemporary acoustic sounds.
Cassie and Maggie
Nova Scotian sisters Cassie and Maggie have been lighting up the world with their unique blend of traditional and contemporary Celtic instrumentals and vocals. Appearing on stages across North America, the UK, and Europe, the sisters have enchanted audiences far and wide with lively fiddle, piano and guitar arrangements, stunning sibling vocal harmonies in both English and Gaelic, all complimented by their intricate and percussive stepdancing style.
Montreal-based folk-rock collective comprised of Geneviève Cooke, Elie Flynn, Pierre Lavoie, Mathilde Pigeon and Ariel Harrod. From diverse musical backgrounds, this eclectic bunch combines the intimacy of a coffee shop folk act and the energy of a festival jam band. The band has been touring bars and festivals since 2014, gathering a following of loyal fans. They now present Odds and Ends, their first album, released in November 2016.
Durham County Poets
Durham County Poets are a lively and soulful group, who write and perform an eclectic blend of songs. Seasoned musicians, all of whom are songwriters, working together individually, collaboratively in composing their music, their musical influences are vast. They have managed to put it all together to create their own musical style. The joie de vivre expressed while performing together is reflected in the good-time feel that the band creates.
As a songwriter, Jay threads together the colours of his own ancestral traditions: Dene spirituals, Irish ballads, Canadian folk and rock. He was raised in Yellowknife, and is currently based in Edmonton, Alberta where his considerable fan base has learned what the rest of the country is about to find out: Jay Gilday owns one of the most arresting and important voices in Canadian music today.
Two-time Juno award winner Jenny Whiteley got an early start in music playing with her father, Chris Whiteley, and uncle, Ken Whiteley. Her music career began in earnest when she founded bluegrass band, Heartbreak Hill, and went on to record several highly acclaimed solo albums, as well as touring with the Hootenanny Revue. She has collaborated with Colin Linden, Fred Eaglesmith, Sarah Harmer, Joey Wright and Amy Millan, among others.
FolkNorth is the introduction of Jody Peck’s brand new outfit cooking up some serious vintage country soul. After years on the road with her rock ’n’ roll trio Miss Quincy, Jody is embarking on a solo journey of her most personal songs. Chronicling stories of northern love, hunting camps, gunslingers, and her legendary Cook Shack. This is the sound of a traveler returning home, headed northbound on the Alaska highway.
The music of Trinidadian Canadian Drew Gonsalves and his band Kobo Town from Toronto has been variously described as “an intoxicating blend of lilting calypsonian wit, dancehall reggae and trombone-heavy brass” (The Guardian) and a “unique, transnational composite of rhythm, poetry and activist journalism.” (Exclaim!). Their latest album “Where the Galleon Sank” earned them the World Group of the Year award.
Laura Cortese & The Dance Cards
Laura Cortese & the Dance Cards have a vision for their band’s sound: bold and elegant, schooled in the lyrical rituals of folk music and backed by grooves that alternately inspire Cajun two-stepping and rock-n-roll hip swagger. Cellist Valerie Thompson, fiddler Jenna Moynihan, and bassist Jeni Magana pair their sophisticated string arrangements and rich vocal harmonies with band leader Laura Cortese’s poignant and powerful singing.
A passionate singer/songwriter and soulful performer, Leela Gilday has a voice that comes straight from the heart. Confessing her stories to her audiences with a gutsy voice and open stage presence, Gilday weaves her experiences as a northerner, a member of the Dene nation, and a traveler into a beautiful world that transports the listener.
Les Tireux d’Roches
Les Tireux d’Roches has been electrifying crowds with their unique sound and stage performances.Hailing from a region overflowing with creativity, this motley crew of colourful characters draws from the rich Québécois tradition while staying open to other musical influences such as jazz and rock. They play on an unconventional arsenal of acoustic instruments and the result is an explosive folk/trad party that’ll make you dance and knock your socks off!
The Montreal band, MAZ, known for its unique blend of trad, electro and jazz music, release its third album, entitled ID (“idea”). MAZ delivers with ID a style of music that has matured and come into its own, and also reveals rich new voices. Decidedly contemporary, and intrinsically rooted in tradition, these voices speak to the heart and body … without losing the mind!
25 years of performing live has seasoned Quique Escamilla to effortlessly connect with his audiences. Breaking down language barriers through his powerful voice and passionate delivery while fusing traditional Mexican styles of music with modern sounds Quique’s lyrics carry powerful messages inspired by social and political issues in support of human and civil rights.
Red Moon Road
Impeccable songwriting. Masterful storytelling. Three part harmonies. Banjo, lapsteel, mandolin, guitar, keys and a shared roots drum kit – a dizzying display of instrumental prowess fronted by one of Canada’s top vocalists. Modern Canadian roots music.
Samantha Martin & Delta Sugar
Bubbling up from the cauldron of roots Americana music, Samantha Martin is an artist of extraordinary power, gravitas and deep-seated emotion. On first listen, one is immediately struck by the awesome presence and sheer magnitude of her other worldly voice. Cigarette-ravaged and whiskey-soaked in the extreme, Martin’s pipes are capable of conveying an infinite range of emotions.
Whether she’s in a nightclub or a concert hall, Shakura S’Aida never fails to make the stage her own. With her vibrant personality and unforgettable voice, she takes audiences on a sublime and soulful journey that lingers on, long after the lights have come up. Touring regularly across North America and throughout Europe, she is set to release her long awaited fourth album in the fall of 2017!
Originally from Maliotenam in northeastern Quebec, the singer-songwriter, Shauit, sings honest and committed songs that ingeniously combine his native language and traditional rhythms with other popular trends. This new show is a homecoming. He proposes a new folk sensibility that will join a wide audience and enriching the mix of reggae and dancehall influences for which Shauit was first recognized.
On her 2014 debut album ‘Sad-Eyed Lonesome Lady’ Steph Cameron clearly evidenced an old soul, her music redolent of another time and place. Think Greenwich Village circa 1963, early Dylan and Dave Van Ronk. On her sophomore release, 2017’s ‘Daybreak Over Jackson Street,’ the vibe is by degrees more Laurel Canyon 1970 than Bleecker and McDougall ’63, but still with an emphasis on great songs, playing and singing.
Fearless, carefree, and joyful, Steve Poltz is a spontaneous storyteller and masterful musician. He is co-writer of Jewel’s “You Were Meant for Me”, San Diego’s Artist of the Decade, and dual-citizen (but if a hostage situation breaks out he’s conveniently Canadian). Taking audiences on a journey of unadulterated emotion, his one- of-a-kind shows leave people blissfully confused and yearning for more. “Mildly demented folk rock .”
Son of Town Hall
Imagine if Simon and Garfunkel were lost at sea, salt in their beards, and whiskey in their bottles. What songs might they sing whilst stomping like melodious madmen on the boards of their boat? Introducing Son of Town Hall, the newest (and yet oldest) trans-Atlantic duo sensation. They penned all their uplifting tales and tunes aboard a raft crossing the great ocean. The results are nothing short of stunning.
The Small Glories
Folk powerhouse pair The Small Glories are Cara Luft & JD Edwards, a dynamic duo planted on the Canadian Prairies. Straight out of the gate these two veteran singer/songwriters built an international buzz around their tight harmonies, authenticity, visceral live performances and equally well-matched guitar prowess.
The Young’uns have proved themselves a unique proposition – writing and performing a cappella or subtly accompanied songs alongside traditional songs from their native North-East England and further afield – songs of conscience, songs of warmth and wit and songs to inspire. Renowned for pitch perfect harmonies and rapid fire humour, their live show truly takes the cliché out of the “make you laugh, make you cry” tag.