The Archers


The Archers (BC)

“The Archers, or if  Mumford and Sons had sons: With influences drawn from the softer side of the rock spectrum, The Archers merry brand of music brings together warm harmonies, direct lyrics and pointed guitars…”  (Steve Venegas CBC Radio 3 – Jun 11, 2012) The five young friends, still in their teens, creating this unique Folk/Rock sound out of Victoria, BC, pride themselves in their ability to be multi-talented musicians, songwriters and performers. The Archers share the roles of guitar, piano, bass, drums, mandolin, banjo and multiple other percussion instruments creating an impressive and versatile sound full of compelling harmonies and fantastic energy. The band was nominated for a “Young Performer of the Year Award” by the 2012 Canadian Folk Music Awards and was crowned Youthink’s “BC’s Best Teen Band.”


The Bills


The Bills (BC)

From the beautiful West Coast of Canada comes this extraordinary quintet, renowned among folk music fans of all ages for their instrumental virtuosity, lush vocal arrangements, exuberant live performances, evocative song-writing, and refreshingly innovative interpretations of traditional tunes from around the globe.Whether entertaining an intimate theatre audience or a festival crowd of 10,000, these five gifted multi-instrumentalists are masters at bridging the gulf between stage and audience to create a completely unique and exciting musical experience. The Bills are ready to take you on a joyous musical ride, so get on board and experience Canada’s foremost roots music sensation.




Briga (Québec/Poland)

The daughter of a Polish father and a Québecoise mother, Briga’s music is a reflection of a fragmented identity: a hybrid of songs written in French and English, guided by her fervent violin and firmly rooted in eastern European and Romani folk sounds learned from the days her father played the piano to put the children to sleep. Everything in regards to Briga is drenched in duality. Her music is deeply influenced by Balkan music as well as progressive sounds, her songs and stories of unlikely heroes and beautiful stars. She travelled the Balkans playing Romani (Gypsy) weddings receiving inspiration for the music she plays today. Briga is supported by her Montreal-based quartet: Alix Guéry (accordion & keys), Tacfarinas Kichou (bindir, darbouka, ryk, guellal), Marton Maderspach (fiddle, tupan, drums), and Jérémi Roy (bass).

Jim Byrnes


Jim Byrnes (BC)

Singer, musician and actor Jim Byrnes has loved and played blues music since he was in his teens. Born and raised in St Louis, he grew up on the city’s north side. As a teenager going to music clubs, he and his buddy were often the only white people in the place. “We never had any problems. We had too much respect for the music and the culture – they could tell.” Jim moved to Vancouver in the early 1970s, and soon became a key part of the local blues scene, and has remained so ever since. In recent years, he won a JUNO for his gospel project House of Refuge, rave reviews for My Walking Stick and was part of the Mississippi Sheiks Tribute project.


Mairi Campbell


Mairi Campbell (Scotland)

“Campbell’s voice can stop the clock…there is a pervading sense of renewal and even transcendence…” – Jim Gilchrist, The Scotsman.

Prepare to get lost in the evocative music of Mairi Campbell. From songs that tell of a mother keenly awaiting her son’s return from Iraq, a partner offering support to her lover or an exquisitely rendered tune for her own mother, Mairi offers something memorable and meaningful to every listener. This award-winning singer/songwriter combines her distinctive vocals and skilled fiddle playing to deliver live performances that have been described as “magical.” One of her fans says, “Mairi is an exceptionally gifted woman, she sings from her soul and touches mine…”


Liz Carroll


Liz Carroll (US)

American-born Irish fiddler Liz Carroll is a prolific composer of tunes, her melodies finding their way into sessions and onto CDs all around the world. She won the 1975 All-Ireland Senior Fiddle Championship and in 1999 had Chicago’s mayor proclaim September 18 as “Liz Carroll Day.” She was also nominated for a 2010 Grammy for Double Play, a recording she made with Irish guitar hero John Doyle. On St. Patrick’s Day 2009, she and John were invited to play for President Obama. Liz is a powerhouse on stage, a joy to watch and listen to. She will be accompanied on guitar by talented young Canadian musician, Jake Charron.



Comas (Ireland, US, Belgium)

Although coming from diverse musical backgrounds (The Drovers, Orion, Eileen Ivers, Urbantrad) and living in different parts of the globe, the members of Comas found each other in 2003 through their similar approach to music, bringing together their many cultural influences to forge a unique blend of traditional Irish music that had them, within months, playing in major festivals in Europe. They were asked back immediately to every festival they played. “Before we even had time to put our instruments away,” as guitarist Philip Masure aptly put it. Joining him are Aidan Burke on fiddle, Isaac Alderson on flutes and uilleann pipes, and Jackie Moran on percussion. The group’s openness to new influences and a respectful eye on the past bring Comas to the forefront of what traditional music is about today.

Crow Quill Night Owls


Crow Quill Night Owls (USA)

Seeing the Crow Quill Night Owls perform is like stepping back in time to a moment when prohibition reigned and jug bands were all the rage. They are utterly believable, completely in character, they look like they live the life of the music they play. Formed in 2007 by Kit “Stymee” Stovepipe (on National steel guitar and vocals) and Windy City Alex (on tenor banjo and vocals) they were joined by Baylin Adaheer on washtub bass in 2011. The Crow Quill Night Owls play a mix of early blues, jazz, pop songs, ragtime, jug band, and hillbilly music from the 1920s and 1930s. They also put their love of old silent films, comics, and bizarre cartoons of the past into the original artwork they create for their albums. They’ve played from west coast to east coast, on street corners, at festivals, in rundown bars, house shows, big concert halls, and down in the subways, performing strange early American Music on makeshift and traditional instruments.

David Francey


David Francey (Ontario)

This Scottish-born carpenter-turned-singer-songwriter has tapped into the Canadian psyche as if he was a Canuck born and bred. David Francey has been hailed as “the likeliest candidate for all-Canadian folk singer” by The Ottawa Citizen simply because he embodies the qualities Canadians most admire in a troubadour folk-poet: his straightforward songs tell honest stories of real people and real places, his keen sense of humour sees interesting twists in the everyday, and he champions things that matter. Like other greats before him, those with a rare poetic insight, he takes life and sets it to music. It doesn’t hurt that his voice is like rich warm honey, either. This multiple award-winning artist, who includes JUNOs, Canadian Folk Music and SOCAN Awards and a John Lennon Songwriting win among his other accomplishments, is a Mission favourite.

Dick Gaughan


Dick Gaughan (Scotland)

Firstly, and most importantly, Dick Gaughan is a Scot, from Leith on the southern shore of the Firth of Forth. Never forget that and everyone will be okay. And once you hear the man sing the songs he loves most, the Scottish ballads of great antiquity, the “Muckle Sangs,” the spell is cast as you are drenched in the voice, the moment, and the emotion. You will never forget the man, his voice, or that he is a Scot. You may think for a moment you were born there yourself, or wish you were. With a rich career since the 1970s, Gaughan was a founding member of Boys of the Lough and Five Hand Reel.


Mary Gauthier


Mary Gauthier (Louisiana)

Louisiana native-turned-Nashville resident, Gauthier, comes off as a practical, no-nonsense woman. Stoic, even. Which wouldn’t seem unusual, except for the fact that her songs carry so much emotional punch, they can leave you staggering. She has a way of burrowing into that hole so many of us carry inside our souls, and emerging with universal truths that show we aren’t so alone after all. Her songs have earned praise from Bob Dylan and Tom Waits, and been recorded by Jimmy Buffett, Blake Shelton and many others. Her 2005 album Mercy Now earned her the Americana Music Association’s New/Emerging Artist of the Year title, and 2011’s The Foundling was named the No. 3 Record of the Year by the LA Times.


Eliza Gilkyson


Eliza Gilkyson (US)

It is great to have Eliza returning for another year of the festival. A politically minded, poetically gifted singer-songwriter, she has become one of the most respected musicians in folk and Americana music circles. Eliza has been inducted into the Austin Music Hall of Fame alongside legends Willie Nelson, Townes Van Zandt, and Nanci Griffith; received a Grammy nomination for her 2006 CD Paradise Hotel; and is an ongoing winner of the Austin Chronicle’s various music awards, as well as the Folk Alliance Best Artist, Best Songwriter and Record of the Year. 
Eliza’s music has always reflected her vivid vision of the world around her, full of joys and sorrows, each song a window into a life of struggle and triumph in a world she feels is “poised on the edge of moral, economic and environmental bankruptcy.”




Locarno (BC) www.locarno

Locarno is the Latin project of JUNO Award winning musician and Paperboys frontman, Tom Landa. The music, like him, is part Mexican but with strong doses of Cuban son, folk music, pop and funk. There are threads of son jarocho and salsa but the songs are more edgy and contemporary. A key element to this sound is the partnerships he has created with producer Joby Baker who has worked with several World/Latin artists including Miguelito Valdes who lends his trumpet and percussion talents to the project. Miguelito was born and raised in Havana and has played with Afro Cuban All Stars, Omara Portoundo and The Buena Vista Social Club. Rounding out the group is Sam Esecson on drums and percussion, Kalissa Hernandez on violin and vocals and Nick La Riviere on trombone.

Lynn Miles


Lynn Miles (Ontaio)

Lynn Miles is one of Canada’s most accomplished singer-songwriters with 11 albums to her credit including the stark Unravel, winning her a 2003 JUNO Award for Roots & Traditional solo album and Love Sweet Love earning her multiple Canadian Folk Music awards.

 Her album Slightly Haunted was a Billboard magazine Top 10 pick for the year, while Unravel was praised by All Music Guide as “sounding as if it’s been produced by Daniel Lanois in an Appalachian town.” In her latest album, Downpour, the voice of her experience has elevated her song-writing to its richest depth of emotion. 

While her melodies undulate between traditional country and folk roots, it’s her sensitivity to the world around her, and the human heart, that pours itself directly into Miles’ music to make it stand out.


The Spring Standards


The Spring Standards (US)

Born and bred in the Delaware Valley, this trio of songsters first sang together in the last summer of the 20th century. Having just turned 16, the three teens with a common affinity for “oldies” music and harmony spent the better part of the next 2 years playing shows around the Delaware/Pennsylvania area. Influenced as much by their parent’s record collections as they were by what they heard on the radio, their style began to take shape into something a little bit both and a little bit neither. James, Heather and James are all songwriters and multi-instrumentalists. They use their strengths as a trio to create a sound that listeners might expect from a band twice their size. With an emphasis on 3-part harmony and a variety of instrumental switching, their range and energy onstage make each live show a unique event.

Hans Theessink & Terry Evans


Hans Theesink & Terry Evans (EU/US)

Hans Theessink and Terry Evans may be from separate sides of the Atlantic Ocean but they work together beautifully and make sense as a natural combination. These two vastly experienced and respected musicians are committed performers who are a perfect foil to each other. Theessink’s lazy baritone and Evans’ extraordinarily soulful gospel tones are tailor-made to blend together with spine-tingling results. Timeless blues, gospel- and soul related music comes alive in the capable hands of these two masters. With just two guitars, and two remarkable voices they bring forth honest and straightforward power in a stripped-down musical situation – an unhurried vibe that’s contagious and flows with the easy rhythm of buddies with mutual respect having a blast singing and playing together.


Piccola Band Ikona


Piccola Band Ikona (Italy)

A fascinating journey among the sounds and cultures of the Mediterranean Sea, Piccola Banda Ikona features original compositions sung in many different languages including Sabir, a lingua franca which sailors, pirates, fishermen, merchants and ship-owners used in the ports to communicate with each other. Musician and composer, Stefano Saletti, leads the group on a wide array of traditional, Mediterranean instruments including bouzuki, oud and tzouras. He is joined by vocalists, Barbara Eramo and Ramya; violinist, Carlo Cossu; bassist, Mario Rivera from legendary Italian world music group Agricantus; and percussionist, Leo Cesari. Be prepared to be blown away by the sounds of the Mediterranean when Piccola Banda Ikona make their Canadian debut.


The Sojourners


The Sojourners (BC)

When Jim Byrnes called Vancouver-based gospel singer Marcus Mosely a few years ago to ask if he could round up a few friends to record some back up vocals for a new album, no one could have guessed what would happen. From the moment Mosely and his pals began singing, they realized that they had something special. The Sojourners, based in Vancouver, BC, both make authentic gospel music and make good on their name. This is not music that strives to be polite. This is gospel music that can take a punch and remain standing. Formative years spent singing in the hometown churches of Marcus Mosely (Ralls, Texas), Will Sanders (Alexandria, Louisiana), and Khari McClelland (Detroit, Michigan) give The Sojourners sound has an authentic edge that only comes with experience. Not just for Sundays, The Sojourners’ approach is self-described as equally at home in a roadhouse as in a revival tent; an unbuttoned mix of doo wop, R&B, country and blues.

Oliver Swain’s Big Machine


Oliver Swain’s Big Machine (BC)

Hailing from Victoria, BC, nearly the farthest west (or left) one can be, Oliver Swain is Canada’s quintessential folk and traditional musician. He eats, sleeps and breathes music. With his pure, finely tuned vocals that have an astonishing range, and his undeniable skill behind a banjo or upright bass, Oliver grabs the attention of all who hear him, and holds it with his enormous sound and stature. From the most vulnerable and innocent sounding banjo ditties to the brave and imposing bowed bass, Oliver delivers his own brand of alternative folk and traditional music to the masses with a smile and a twinkle in his eye.

Viper Central


Viper Central (BC)

At the forefront of a rising wave of new local talent in bluegrass and old-time music, Viper Central has created an original niche in an otherwise traditional style and yet appeals to audiences both young and old. Hailing from Vancouver, they approach their music with the sense of creativity and adventure found in early bluegrass and old time recordings. While all members contribute original songs, the band won’t hesitate to deliver their take on an ages-old mournful waltz or bring the house down with a barn-burning bluegrass standard. They even wrote a song that tells of the “discovery” of a young Loretta Lynn in 1960 in a South Vancouver club called The Chicken Coop.



Zhambai (BC/Zimbabwe)

Zhambai means “to scream” in the Shona language of Zimbabwe and that is just what these musicians do…in a subtle way. Enter the polyrhythmic, hypnotic and deep traditional music of the Shona people of Zimbabwe with the powerful yet soothing mbira, or thumb piano. The sound is reminiscent of water dropping, spirits talking, ancestors singing and blood pumping. It is a magical instrument that has been used for spiritual means in Zimbabwe for generations. Add the hosho, the traditional rattle of Zimbabwe, and the Zimbabwean marimba, guaranteed to shake anybody who comes within earshot of its vibrant sound and its unique “buzzy” timbre.

Add voices to soar and sing above it all and you have Zhambai and the wonderful music of Zimbabwe.