Aug 16,17,18 2019 tickets

Tag Archives: folk

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Sun Times Article 12: Two’s company

Every year Artistic Director James Keelaghan writes a series of 12 articles for the Owen Sound Sun Times previewing the Summerfolk Music and Crafts Festival

By James Keelaghan

One of the advantages of being the Artistic Director of Summerfolk and a touring musician is that I get to see music on the road that I might never see otherwise.

 

I’m with Quincy Jones—I like all kinds of music, except bad music. I’ll listen to anything and it doesn’t matter to me if it’s jazz, blues or country. All that matters is that it’s good. I have to admit though, if it’s quirky, it goes to the head of the line.

 

Last year, I was playing the Chester Folk Festival in the UK. On the Sunday night, there was a band on immediately before us in the Marquee tent with the enigmatic name, The Hut People. The festival program was devoid of photographs and, in my mind, I imagined a band of twenty-somethings in 1970s retro gear.

 

While wondering when they were going to appear, I was backstage with Hugh McMillan and two guys roughly my age. One of them was laying out a low table full of all kinds of, “I didn’t know what”. The other guy had a piano accordion. That’s how I met Sam Pirt and Gary Hammond, The Hut People.

huts press pic 1 (1)

A table full of “stuff” and a piano accordion are pretty good indications that the quirk factor is going to be high. The table belonged to Gary and the “stuff” turned out to be percussion instruments:  a bell tree, bottle caps, kudus, ghatams, all manner of cymbals and found instruments. I couldn’t name half the things on that table, but they sounded great.

 

Sam plays the accordion in a number of different styles from traditional English to Finnish folk as well as step dancing and Quebec-style foot percussion.

 

Watching them set up I had to wonder, what the heck is this going to be about? After the first tune, I was hooked. I have never heard or seen anything like them. They are unique.

 

Sam and Gary had been on the scene in England for a long time. They travelled in the same circles but didn’t come together as The Hut People until three years ago.

 

At first blush, accordion and percussion seem an odd combination to hang a set of music on, but every single tune was fascinating. Musically, they wandered the world—folk tunes from Quebec and Spain, from Scandinavia to Sussex. It would be a mistake to think they are a novelty act. Master musicians both, and though the music may be light-hearted, it’s played with skill. I bought a CD and offered them a gig at Summerfolk as soon as they came off stage.

 

A duo is one of the most challenging ways to present music relying almost exclusively on chemistry. Unless there is a spark, it’s just two people on stage. Sam and Gary know each other’s moves, laugh a lot on and off stage and they clearly enjoy each other’s company.

 

Mama’s Broke may not be as light-hearted as The Hut People, but they do have the duo thing going on. Amy Lou and Lisa Marie, like Sam and Gary, came together a little over three years ago. Since then, the road has been their home.

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It’s rare for a young band to have a wide touring range in the early years, but Amy and Lisa have managed to tour Ireland, Continental Europe, Canada, the USA, Indonesia and Australia in that time. The venues have been as varied as their repertoire: from circus shows in New Orleans to pirate ships in Amsterdam, to concert halls in Ireland, to theatres in Brooklyn. They say they are based everywhere and nowhere and the tour history bears that out.

 

They are folk hunter-gatherers. Every trip taken is an opportunity to learn a new song and delve into a new tradition. Off-road months are spent weaving those influences into new songs and then they set off on the next expedition. Drawing from old-time, Quebecois, blues, punk, Celtic, Balkan and doom metal, they create a soundscape that is both familiar and new.

 

It’s cliche to say that a group pushes the boundaries, but with regard to Mama’s Broke, it’s actually an understatement. What they play sounds traditional, but there are surprising twists and turns—harmonies that wander into Eastern Europe while the instruments stay in Appalachia. Their commitment is to challenge borders between people, places and traditions while encouraging freedom of expression and community through music.

 

While a lot of the material is original, they play it old school—no DI boxes—just two musicians, two microphones, fiddle, mandolin, banjo, guitar and two perfectly blended voices.

 

Mama’s Broke and The Hut People are two of the finest duos you are ever going to see. They have workshops and concerts throughout the weekend and we’re happy to welcome them to their first Summerfolk.

 

Summerfolk43 begins one week from today, August 17. For ticket information, to view/download the schedule or to preview the performers, visit us at www.summerfolk.org

 

Kubasonics

Sun Times Article 8: A world of talent

Every year Artistic Director James Keelaghan writes a series of 12 articles for the Owen Sound Sun Times previewing the Summerfolk Music and Crafts Festival

By James Keelaghan

There is an extensive intelligence network at Summerfolk. When people ask how I find the acts that make up the roster, that’s what I tell them. Tips come from people about bands they’ve seen. Summerfolk volunteers come back from other festivals with favourites they’d like to see here. At music conferences like Folk Alliance or Folk Music Ontario, directors of other festivals mention must see acts as they pass in the hallway. People email me lists of performers –– it’s never ending and I love it. A vast musical buffet is out there and folks are more than willing to point you to the tastiest dishes.

That intelligence network is also working right now. It’s high festival season and I receive texts like this:  

2018-07-06, 10:33 PM

I’m watching the kubasonics play a killer set right now at mariposa…I’m definitely dancing right now I think they’d do great High energy and driving rhythm…And a standing ovation

It makes me happy that I booked them.

 

Michele Law, from the Kingsville Folk Music Festival, mentioned The Kubasonics to me after attending a showcase event in St. John’s—raved about them, in fact. After a conversation about them with Mariposa’s artistic director, Liz Scott, I decided to take a chance based on what I was hearing from people I trusted—I’m also a sucker for Ukrainian music.

 

The Kubasonics’ promo proudly states, “ They are arguably Newfoundland’s finest Ukrainian band”. I won’t dispute it. They were voted the “Best Band to See Live” in Newfoundland. Think about that for a second. Best live band—in Newfoundland!

 

Known for their high energy shows and playing on a dizzying array of exotic traditional instruments—the tsymbaly, a kind of hammered dulcimer, the drymba and the hurdy-gurdy, they round it out with more familiar ones—accordion, violin, bass and guitar.

 

The music is from the Ukraine and the Ukraine is a big place. Band founder, Brian Cherwick, describes their style this way, “Ukrainian music comes in many genres. Some of it is the fast dance music, like the type we often play, but much of it is complex lyrical music. We play that from time to time as well. There are some distinctive scales and modes that are used—often the minor sounding ones—that are a bit different from what we usually hear in other music. There are also some unusual rhythmic patterns. And, to state the obvious, I guess the fact that the words are in Ukrainian would make it different too.”

 

Though they appear to be new on the scene, this is just the latest version of the band. Originally formed in Alberta in 1996, The Kubasonics enjoyed some success and had a devoted following touring across Canada and Europe. When Brian Cherwick moved to Newfoundland in 2011, the Kubasonics went on hiatus.

 

In 2015, Brian reconstituted the band. Three-fifths of the band are Cherwicks—Brian is joined by Maria on violin and Jacob on Drums. The roster is rounded out with a couple of great Newfoundland musicians, Darren Browne on guitar and Matt Hender on bass.

 

The intelligence network is one way of finding bands. Sometimes though, the bands come to you all by themselves. Back in January, we held an open audition for Summerfolk and Polky Village Band travelled from Toronto to participate. It’s not a stretch to say that they were the hit of the afternoon. What made it great was that they were so unexpected.

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Their music is Polishenergetic and played in a traditional fashion. The capacity crowd in the Heartwood Music Hall took to them like a house on fire. Polky Village Band received the only standing ovation of the afternoon. Pleasantly surprised, but I shouldn’t have been— Summerfolk audiences love music that is authentic.

 

Polky Village Band was formed by two Polish womensinger, Ewelina Ferenc and dancer, Ala Stasiuk. When they met in Toronto, they realized that there was a shared passion for the unique and enigmatic style of Central and Eastern European folk music. Eager to share the music and dance learned when growing up, they found some equally incredible Canadian musicians—Georgia Hathaway on fiddle, Matti Palonen on cello and hammer dulcimer, and Tristan Murphy on accordion and pocket trumpet—and Polky Village Band was born!

 

Both The Kubasonics and Polky Village Band will take the stage at Summerfolk this year. In addition to concert slots and workshops, both bands will present dance workshops at our Down By the River stage.

 

The Summerfolk Music and Crafts Festival happens August 17,18,19 at Kelso Beach Park. Information is available, with no need of a spy network, at summerfolk.org.

 

Georgian Bay Roots Ep 015

Georgian Bay Roots

With your host Jon Farmer


jonfarmerEvery Sunday on CFOS 560 from 4-5pm, Georgian Bay Roots shares some of the best music that’s made in and played in Grey and Bruce Counties with roots music from across Canada and around the world thrown into the mix. Host, Jon Farmer, brings a musician’s ear and the heart of a fan to the airwaves with stories about performers and news about upcoming shows and releases. Tune in to hear some of your favourite acts and new bands that you didn’t know you loved.

This is the very first episode of 2017. It features a couple of Happy New Years songs, songs about winter, country tunes, blues tunes, and a few pretty alright jokes.

If you missed the live show, we will post the episode by 6pm ET.

You can download an iTunes podcast here

Are you making music that you want us to share?
Do you have gig coming up that you want to promote?
Are you interested in being a sponsor or advertising on the show?
Contact us at georgianbayroots@summerfolk.org

Georgian Bay Roots is presented by the Georgian Bay Folk Society with the support the Ontario Trillium Foundation

 


Ep 15 Jan 8
Artist: The Duhks
Track: Lazy John
Album: Beyond the Blue
Length: .30
Release date: 2014
Canadian
Artist: Our Shotgun Wedding
Track: Happy New Year
Length: 3:08
Album: The Honeymoon Sessions
Year: 2014
Canadian
Artist: Tiger Patrol
Track: New Years Resolution
Length: 3:53
Album: Tp Ep
Year: 2014
Canadian
Artist: Raine Hamilton
Track: January
Length: 2:59
Album: Past Your Past
Year: 2015
Canadian
Artist: The Deep Dark Woods
Track: The Winter Hours
Length: 3:08
Album: Winter Hours
Year: 2009
Canadian
Artist: Richard Laviolette and the Oil Spills
Track: Winter Breathe
Length: 3:39
Album: All of Your Raw Materials
Year: 2008
Canadian
Artist: The Foggy Hogtown Boys
Track: Lonesome Scenes of Winter
Length: 3:14
Album: Northern White Clouds
Year: 2005
Canadian
Artist: Joni Mitchell
Track: A Case of You
Length: 4:23
Album: Blue
Year: 1971
Canadian
Artist: Matt Epp
Track: The Sound
Length: 3:13
Album: Unknown
Year: 2016
Canadian
Artist: Sweet M
Track: I Thought I Was Living in Freedom
Length: 4:05
Album: Unknown
Year: 2016
Canadian
Artist: Catharine MacLellan
Track: Old Tin Can
Length: 3:24
Album: Silhouette
Year: 2011
Canadian
Artist: Bobby Dove
Track: Casualty
Length: 2:20
Album: Thunderchild
Year: 2016
Canadian
Artist: Raoul and the Big Time
Track: Born to Love
Length: 3:42
Album: You My People
Year: 2009
Canadian
Artist: The Dardanelles
Track: Joe’s Happy Ship
Length: 3:58
Album: The Dardanelles
Year: 2009
Canadian
Artist: Maura O’Connell
Track: Hit the Ground Running
Length: 3:16
Album: The FolkScene Collection
Year: 1998
Artist: Delhi 2 Dublin
Track: The Happy Track
Length: 2:30
Album: Planet Electric
Year: 2010
Canadian
Artist: Richard Garvey
Track: Abound
Album: Where Fools Gather
Length: 1:49
Release date: 2015
Canadian

 

Archives

Visit our  iTunes podcast page for archived programs

Or stream them on Soundcloud here

Pages with set lists and further info can be found below.

GBR show 1

GBR show 2

GBR show 3

GBR show 4

GBR show 5

GBR show 6

GBR show 7

GBR show 8

GBR show 9

GBR show 10

GBR show 11

GBR show 12

GBR show 13

GBR show 14

Georgian Bay Roots 13

Georgian Bay Roots

With your host Jon Farmer


jonfarmerEvery Sunday on CFOS 560 from 4-5pm, Georgian Bay Roots shares some of the best music that’s made in and played in Grey and Bruce Counties with roots music from across Canada and around the world thrown into the mix. Host, Jon Farmer, brings a musician’s ear and the heart of a fan to the airwaves with stories about performers and news about upcoming shows and releases. Tune in to hear some of your favourite acts and new bands that you didn’t know you loved.

This week’s show features a couple of songs in commemoration of December 6th, The National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.

If you missed the live show, we will post the episode by 6pm ET.

You can download an iTunes podcast here

Are you making music that you want us to share?
Are you interested in being a sponsor or advertising on the show?
Contact us at georgianbayroots@summerfolk.org

Georgian Bay Roots is presented by the Georgian Bay Folk Society with the support the Ontario Trillium Foundation


Ep 013 Dec 4
Artist: The Duhks
Track: Lazy John
Album: Beyond the Blue
Length: 30
Release date: 2014
Canadian
Artist: Pretty Archie
Track Scars
Album North End Sky
Length 3:24
Year 2011
Canadian
Artist: Hot Black Coffee
Track Get in Line
Album unknown
Length 3:22
Year 2016
Canadian
Artist: MAZ
Track Reel du Combat
Album Telescope
Length 4:13
Year 2011
Canadian
Artist: Canailles
Track J’l’hais
Album Manger du Bois
Length 3:50
Year unknown
Canadian
Artist: The Jerry Cans
Track Qanuinngittuq
Album Aakuluk
Length 4:19
Year 2014
Canadian
Artist: Pharis and Jason Romero
Track Sad Old Song
Album Long Gone Out West Blues
Length 3:54
Year 2013
Canadian
Artist: David Ross Macdonald
Track We Don’t Live Forever
Album Knuckle Brass and Bone
Length 4:34
Year 2006
Artist: Chuck Ragan and Austin Lucas
Track Sun or Snow
Album Bristle Ridge
Length 5:26
Year 2008
Artist: Samantha Martin and the Haggard
Track Dark Angel
Album Samantha Maritin & the Haggard
Length 3:13
Year 2011
Canadian
Artist: Evalyn Parry
Track 14 (For December 6)
Album Small Theatres
Length 4:19
Year 2007
Canadian
Artist: Shawna Caspi
Track Not So Silent
Album Apartment For Lovers
Length 4:44
Year 2014
Canadian
Artist: Red Moon Road
Track I’ll Bend But I Won’t Break
Album Sorrows and Glories
Length 3:16
Year 2015
Canadian
Artist: The Boxcar Boys
Track You Are My Sunshine
Album Rye Whiskey
Length 3:19
Year 2012
Canadian

 

Archives

Visit our  iTunes podcast page for archived programs

Or stream them on Soundcloud here

Pages with set lists and further info can be found below.

GBR show 1

GBR show 2

GBR show 3

GBR show 4

GBR show 5

GBR show 6

GBR show 7

GBR show 8

GBR show 9

GBR show 10

GBR show 11

GBR show 12

Natalie MacMaster and Bruce Cockburn

Natalie MacMaster and Bruce Cockburn at Summerfolk

By James Keelaghan

You have to understand that there was a full-tilt party going on. The performers’ bar was like a who’s who of Folk Music — Paul Brady, Mary Black, Maura O’Connell, Aly Bain and Garrison Keillor. The volume was indescribable. People were packed in shoulder to shoulder amidst the fug of cigarette smoke and the cracking of plastic pint glasses. Tables were placed in rough concentric circles around the bar.

She was sitting at a table in the outer-most ring, her eyes hidden beneath the peak of a ball cap. In front of her were some textbooks and notebooks. The seats across from her were empty. A guitar player in Lennie Gallant’s band, Chris Corrigan and I sat down opposite her.
“ What are you doing, Natalie ?” I asked.
“ Studying for my exams,” she replied.
“ What? Here?” I asked incredulously.
“ They’re not going to take themselves.”

I ran into Natalie MacMaster a lot that summer. She was riding high. She was getting main stage slots all across the country and in Europe as well. She was clearly on the edge of breaking big, of becoming the new Canadian fiddling icon, yet she was focused enough to keep up with her studies.

The summer after that, in 1996, she made her only appearance at Summerfolk. She’s been away too long and, after 20 years she’ll be returning to Summerfolk41. A lot has changed since that smoky bar in Denmark 21 years ago, but she has never lost her focus. She knows what she wants and is willing to do the hard work necessary to get it.

Natalie MacMaster Photo 1

Natalie MacMaster will play Sunday, August 21.

All that makes her sound rather serious, but she’s not. She has a great sense of humour and is as much fun as you would imagine someone who was raised in the kitchen party atmosphere of Cape Breton should be–as long as you catch her when she isn’t studying.

Consider this: Her uncle was the legendary Buddy MacMaster, her mother and father are both musicians, her cousin is Ashley MacIsaac and another cousin is renowned fiddler, Andrea Beaton. She comes by the music honestly — it’s an integral part of her. When you watch Natalie, you are not watching one person — you are watching generations of players who have all contributed to what she is now. She’s aware of that history, but she wears it easily.

The best thing about of Natalie MacMaster is that she measures success not by ticket sales or CD downloads. Success is time spent with her family, in hard work completed, and the power of music. Natalie is busy, amongst everything else, raising a family of five.

I grew up in a family a little larger than that. Not being blessed with infinite amounts of space, the way the kids were distributed about the house was a complex algorithm of age and gender. As boys, my brother and I were assigned bedrooms in the basement early on. Strange music would waft down from the bedrooms above and some of the tunes would stick. Going to the Country became the soundtrack of my twelfth summer — a tune I sang quietly while watching the prairies roll away through the back window of the Custom Suburban station wagon. So began my relationship with Bruce Cockburn. It’s been ongoing for over 40 years.

Bruce is the embodiment of the Canadian acoustic music scene for the past four decades. He’s never been content to plough one crop and, by turns in his life, he has been a solo acoustic player, an electric player, a bandleader and a social justice advocate. That is the secret to his longevity as a figure on the Canadian cultural scene — the ability to explore new sounds and new approaches to writing.

Bruce Cockburn will play on Saturday, August 20.

Bruce Cockburn will play on Saturday, August 20.

As a songwriter, there is no mistaking his style, sometimes as regular as any Tin Pan Alley pro, sometimes spilling out lyrics in an unrestrained flow where the words tug and push at the margins. As a guitar player, he has inspired a couple of generations of players. Learning to play Foxglove is a rite of passage for most young Canadian guitarists.

He’s not afraid of politics. We’re living in an era where there is pressure on live artists to leave politics out of the performance. Bruce retains a devotion to a folk singer’s responsibility to sing about issues. He has always done so. From songs like Gavin’s Woodpile or Going Down Slow– another station wagon favourite — to the debate-inducing If I Had a Rocket Launcher, he’s never been afraid to put his ethical heart on his sleeve.

Nor, has he left out the spirit. There is often a note of searching in his songs, a longing for the calm at the centre of the human experience.

Despite the fact that he has been part of my life for so long, to me he is still enigmatic. My memories of him backstage at festivals are from a distance, a solitary figure walking and deep in thought. He is soft-spoken and considered. In another age, he might have been a cloistered poet like Gerard Manley Hopkins.

We are especially happy to welcome Bruce Cockburn and Natalie MacMaster back to Summerfolk after too long an absence. Come on out and enjoy them, but don’t bug them if they are studying.

Bruce plays on Saturday, August 20 and Natalie on Sunday, August 21. You can get information and see schedules at summerfolk.org

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