Performers 2011

Patrick Ball(California)Patrick Ball is one of the premier Celtic harp players in the world, and a captivating spoken word artist. Patrick plays the ancient, legendary brass-strung harp of Ireland with its crystalline, bell-like voice. On stage, his marvelous tales of wit and enchantment not only bring new life to two cherished traditions, but blends them to create “a richly theatrical and hauntingly beautiful performance.”

Robert Sarazin Blake(Washington State)Folk poet and troubadour Robert Sarazin Blake found his “calling” to folk music early. Playing folk music has been part of Robert’s DNA since he first stepped on to a Seattle Folklife stage at 15. Almost from that moment, he’s lived his music out of a suitcase and a guitar case full of stories and tunes to share. Blake plays the kind of songs you hear on the radio during a late drive home: some sweet gruff voice out of nowhere singing to the still spot in your

Mari Boine(Norway)Born in Karasjohka, a small town in the Arctic regions of Norway that’s part of what is known as “Samiland” after the indigenous people whose blood she shares, Mari Boine is a outspoken Sami woman, fiercely proud of her heritage. She’s also a boundary-pushing music artist who blends Sami folk traditions, in particular the yoik, with contemporary rock, jazz, electronica and other musical forms. A powerful and charismatic performer, she challenges and enchants audiences with her unique sound – and her unearthly and haunting

Jim Byrnes(BC)Singer, musician and actor Jim Byrnes has loved and played blues music since he was in his teens. Jim moved to Vancouver from the States in the early 1970s, and near-immediately became a key part of the local blues scene, and has remained so ever since. The last few years have been good ones. He won a JUNO for his gospel project House of Refuge, rave reviews for his latest, My Walking Stick and was part of the Mississippi Sheiks Tribute project. Forty some years into his career Jim is sounding better than

Caladh Nua(Ireland)Caladh Nua is a very unique traditional Irish band. Comprised of five talented musicians from three beautiful regions of Ireland, they got together simply because they share a love of the music and want to bring it to the world in their own special way. The band plays traditional Irish dance music and songs alongside more recently composed pieces. Striking a perfect balance between innovation and the preservation of Ireland’s wonderful music and song tradition, Caladh Nua offers a delicious taste of this rich heritage with fresh energy and captivating
Máire Ní Chathasaigh(Ireland)Máire is “the doyenne of Irish harp players” and one of Ireland’s most important and influential traditional musicians. She’s been described as “the most interesting and original player of the Irish harp today”. As a teenager in the 1970s she invented a whole new style of harping that quickly became “the standard” for both her contemporaries and younger players. She’s received Irish music’s prestigious Traditional Musician of the Year award, amongst a raft of other

The Church of the Blues(BC)Get ready for a new chance to worship the blues – or just take a dive for the bent notes and whisky voices plucked from the best of the Vancouver blues scene and the original Church of the Blues, the Historic Dewdney Pub. The Church of the Blues project brings together around twenty-five professional blues musicians from the Fraser Valley and Metro Vancouver to bend strings, cull songs from the tradition and to pull talents from out of the suburban shadows. The blues will be delivered to the festival faithful at the park and at the historic Dewdney Pub (a former church – hence the name).

Amelia Curran(Nova Scotia / Newfoundland)Called “one of this country’s finest singer-songwriters” by the Montreal Gazette, Amelia Curran is a songwriter by trade, a writer at heart – her songs a way of “expressing the inexpressible…describing the indescribable”. A perennially homesick Newfoundlander transplanted to Nova Scotia, Curran’s haunting melodies immediately get stuck in your brain – and her poetic, insightful and incisive lyrics always cut to the heart of the

Crow Quill Night Owls(Washington State)They describe their music as “jug band music / ragtime country blues / jazz / hillbilly” – so you know you gotta see what this Pt. Townsend, Washington-based duo is all about. Kit “Stymee” Stovepipe and Windy City Alex met a few years back, found they had numerous shared interests (old music, silent films, drawing commix, staying up all night), got themselves an old tenor banjo, got a boost from the Gallus Brothers – and the rest is history still being

John Doyle(Ireland)John Doyle’s gifts as a guitarist, songwriter, vocalist, and producer have played an essential role in the ongoing renaissance of Irish traditional music. As a member of Irish-American supergroup Solas – and a highly sought-after session player – Doyle pioneered a rhythmic, sophisticated approach to Irish guitar accompaniment, setting a new standard for the instrument. Now with a solo career, John continues to find fresh life in even the most well-worn of

Dry Bones – Nathan Rogers, Leonard Podolak & J.D. Edwards(Manitoba)We’re pretty sure that the combination of these three immense talents performing together is anything but “dry” or “boney” – but there you go. There’s got to be a reason for the name, so we’ll have to find that out. Nathan Rogers’ singing, chanting, guitar-playing and stomping has already won us over from his last fest visit. Leonard Podolak may be best known for his work with the fabulous The Duhks. J.D. Edwards is a guitarist and singer whose singular voice fills every stage. Together? Well, expect something pretty

Gallus Brothers(Washington State)The Gallus Brothers (Lucas Hicks and Devin Champlin) are more than a band, they’re a vaudevillian wonder to behold. Described as Bellingham’s “favourite handsome dance band”, the duo plays wild ragtime and old country blues on guitar, suitcase percussion and other instruments. There are some fab dance tunes, too! Not actually brothers, the “gallus” part means “suspenders”. Knowing how this band can tear up a stage and get audiences on their feet, as we do from previous festival visits, we’re all well-advised to hold on to our

Matt Gordon & Matt Greenhill (US)Two Matts together. One is a dancer, fiddler, harmonica and hambone player. The other is a global-travelling folk artist who carries on a little family business called Folklore Productions which has been a driving force in folk music for three generations. Between them they can also do wood carving, carpentry, jewelry-making and record producing. There’s some fascinating chemistry afoot here. Let’s see what these multi-talented renaissance men come up with when they join forces!

Griff(Belgium)The band Griff was formed by Rémi Decker and uses the skills of two virtuoso bagpipe players in a repertoire that strikes a balance between traditional music, new composition and modern arrangements. In addition to vocals, guitar and diatonic accordion, they play different types of bagpipes and whistles. From lyrical and lilting to slow and somber, Griff is a team of virtuoso musicians whose music has tongues wagging around the world. Listen to it – it’s positively addictive!

Harald Haugaard & Helene Blum Quartet(Denmark)Harald Haugaard is one of Denmark and the world’s best folk fiddlers and a respected traditional musician. In his virtuoso fiddle playing, he combines playful ease with a rich and sometimes melancholy sound; his music contemporary, original and deeply rooted in the rich Danish music tradition. Helene Blum is his musical and life partner, known for her intensely expressive and crystal clear voice. Together they perform sublime and timeless tradition-based

Ron Hynes (Newfoundland)Known as the “man of a thousand songs”, Ron Hynes has a songwriting career that’s spanned more than 30 years. He’s won numerous awards, had his songs covered by the likes of Emmylou Harris and Prairie Oyster, moonlighted as a theatre, film and television actor, and generally been a credit to his beloved home province of Newfoundland. An artist of profound depth and range, Ron Hynes’ songs have a tendency to become instant folk

Namgar(Mongolia / Siberia)Namgar takes its name from founder, lead singer and stunning vocalist Namgar Lhasaranova, and means ‘white clouds’. Namgar is a Buryat from the village of Kunkur, a tiny place near the intersecting borders of Mongolia, Russia and China. Her ensemble performs both traditional songs of the Buryat people, the songs of legends and stories from the great steppes, as well as new

Lorcán Mac Mathuna & Northern Lights(Ireland / Norway)Inspired by the discovery of The Sea Stallion, a 1000 year-old ship built in Dublin that regularly travelled between Denmark and Ireland, Northern Lights was founded to explore the shared cultural history and connections between the Irish and the Norse. Their music is a unique fusion that brings together traditional Scandinavian and Irish folk music, music that travels from medieval singing forms to marches, laments and even

Ordo Sakhna(Kyrgyzstan)Cancelled – Kyrgyzstan’s Ordo Sahkna is not able to make their Canadian tour for reasons beyond our control. The 12 members of the group will be sorely missed at this year’s festival.

Outside Track (Scotland / Ireland / Canada)The Outside Track’s five members may come from different places, but are united in their love of Celtic music and their commitment to creating new music in that tradition. The instrumental abilities of the members are prodigious, and cover a very full spectrum – from the clarsach (harp), flute and fiddle to the accordion. These talented multi-taskers also all sing, write and arrange Outside Track


Dirk Powell Band(Louisiana)Dirk Powell has expanded on the deep-roots sounds of his Appalachian heritage to become one of the preeminent traditional American musicians of his generation. Dirk selected and arranged traditional Appalachian material for Riverdance: The Show, in which he performed on fiddle. He’s also a founding member of the Cajun group Balfa Toujours. His powerful live performances with The Dirk Powell Band showcase a consummate musician, grounded in tradition, with a dedication to creative

Sagapool(Quebec)Sagapool plays joyful world music, a mix of klezmer, latin, ska, jazz and fanfare – and all original composition. The group’s six multitalented members play everything from accordion and banjo to glockenspiel. Their cross-cultural membership reflects, and is influenced by, Montreal’s rich mosaic. Sagapool makes mincemeat out of borders, and with a free-wheeling attitude and contagious joie-de-vivre, they’re guaranteed to win hearts and speed-up some pulses at the festival this

Jayme Stone (Ontario)JUNO-winner Jayme Stone keeps an ear to the ground and an eye on the world. His curiosity started early with the quirky physics of the banjo, which led to a mysterious librarian who stocked his local public library with a vast trove of banjo recordings, and landed him long-lasting lessons with a series of maestros, from Béla Fleck to Bill Frisell. Turning his attention to Africa to find the roots of the banjo led him to boundary-crossing collaborations. A true globalista of the banjo, get ready to hear some magic plucked from those venerable strings.

Tapia eta Leturia(Basque, Spain)Tapia eta Leturia have two core members: Joseba Tapio and Xabier Berusaluze (“Leturia”), but their tradition-based Basque music is more than just the combination of diatonic accordion (trikitixa) and tambourine (pandero) played exclusively along prescribed paths. They’ve taken the tradition of trikitalari music to new places, introducing other sounds and influences into the mix. Their world travels and connections with groups like La Bottine Souriante have opened their music up to fresh stimuli. Still rooted in the rural valleys and rugged coastlines of Euskal Herria, the Basque country, their music remains upbeat, lively and a joyful expression of a rich heritage.
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