Wendy McNeill (Spain/Canada)

Theatrical shape-shifter, known for her visceral folk-noir releases new album “One Colour More”.

Wendy McNeill Originally from the prairies of Canada, Wendy McNeill’s songs retain her love of wide open space and the longing that such big skies can generate. She is a fan of underdogs and brave hearts. These characters are often the center pieces of her songs which she creates using looped vocals, accordion, and guitar. McNeill’s unique style of Folk Noir takes the listener through dark nights but once one enters ‘Wendy’s World’ the stories get a splash of magic realism- gain a bit of colour…and often have a twist. Described as an artist who makes ‘dark twisted tales’ and ‘wise moving music’ she has been steadily gaining acclaim for her poignant lyrics and captivating live shows. As she stomps and squeezes her way through off kilter accordion waltzes, dreamlike folk tales, and cabaret style confessionals, her raw voice shifts from whisper to howl- taking listeners on an emotional roller coaster with a spirit that is both playful and fierce.

Angelica Negron & Shayna Dunkelman (New York)

This duo delivers an exquisite blend of accordion, voice and electronics, creating soundscapes suffused with strangeness and compassion.

Puerto Rican-born composer and multi-instrumentalist Angélica Negrón writes music for accordions, toys and electronics as well as chamber ensembles and orchestras. Her music has been described as “wistfully idiosyncratic and contemplative” (WQXR/Q2) and “mesmerizing and affecting” (Feast of Music) while The New York Times noted her “capacity to surprise” and her “quirky approach to scoring”.  Her music has been performed at the Bang on a Can Marathon and the Ecstatic Music Festival and she has collaborated with artists like Sō Percussion, janus trio and Face the Music, among others.
Born and raised in Tokyo Japan, Shayna Dunkelman is a musician, an improviser, and a percussionist based in Brooklyn, NY. Dunkelman the founding member of  the exotica inspired retro-future band Peptalk and she is also a member of Xiu Xiu. She has performed classical and contemporary pieces with numerous contemporary music ensembles and has recorded/performed with pioneers of avant-garde experimental musicians such as John Zorn, Yoko Ono, Thurston Moore and many others.  

Geoff Berner (Vancouver)

Eastern European klezmer meets punk rock: songs for odd, bookish people who like to drink, featuring his album release “We are Going to Bremen to Be Musicians”.

Photography by Fumie Suzuki

Geoff Berner is a strange figure.  What does he do? He is a songwriter. His songs have been recorded by diverse musical acts such as the Be Good Tanyas, Kaizers Orchestra, Rae Spoon, RotFront and others. His compositions are full of humour, darkness, love, drinking, and some politics. He is an accordion player.  He performs his songs sometimes solo, sometimes with a band.  He earns his living doing this(!)  He has toured in 18 countries, and performed on national radio in 7 of those countries. He has played numerous international festivals and was  invited by Billy Bragg to perform on his Leftfield stage at the Glastonbury Festival, in the UK. If his work has a common through-line, it is that it often makes you feel like you want to laugh, cry, and be horrified, all at the same time.  It’s a strange feeling. It’s not for everyone. But it has earned him a sizable cult following throughout many countries, especially among other musicians.  Also, physicists seem to like him a lot.

Kate and Rich Duo (Halifax)

 High energy set of klezmer infused folk by bicycle, accordion, clarinet, toys, and vocal harmony.

Kate and Rich Duo

Photography by Lisa Macintosh

Kate & Rich are a pair of Windsor, Ontario musicians based in Halifax, Nova Scotia.  They have been touring their high-energy Ragtime, Balfolk & Klezmer act since their first bicycle tour in 2012.  The kooky duo are favourites in Ontario and the Maritimes; They’re soon branching out to Manitoba and British Columbia.  They tour by bicycle as much as possible, cycling thousands of kilometers a year.  Both versatile players, Kate & Rich are equally as comfortable performing in lamp-lit living rooms as they are playing under live art projections on festival stages.  The duo makes a point of integrating their unique skills into unusual projects, collaborating with other artists and organizations whenever they see an opportunity.  This spring, Kate & Rich will share their skills with at-risk youth in Northern Ontario communities through ArtsCan Circle, Jumblies Theatre, and on their own. They have been invited to accompany Jumblies on their Train of Thought tour, delivering community arts workshops from Winnipeg to Halifax. 

Flying Machines (Vancouver)

An original spoken word opera


Photography by Jonathon Kim

FLYING MACHINES tells the story of Antoine Featherless and his short, exhilarating life. Packed in a suitcase at birth and flung from the 1001th floor of the hospital, Antoine falls to the inevitable pavement and transforms to bedrock and landscape. FLYING MACHINES is an original spoken-word opera, a frothing punk in an unfinished basement, an examination of the weightlessness of dreaming and the gravity of waking, an affront, and a eulogy for the stratosphere. FLYING MACHINES is created by pen and eyeball Elysse Cheadle, noiser Elliot Vaughan, charismatic tallman Aryo Khakpour, and jolly lightbox Jonathan Kim.

Compassion Gorilla (Victoria)

Unique concoction of worldbeat, latin folk, dub and psychedelic music

Compassion Gorilla

Photography by Aubrey Burke

This seven-piece worldbeat powerhouse will liberate feet and catapult audiences into whole-hearted dance entrancement. Locally, people know that a Compassion Gorilla show means an event – costumes, celebration and outlandish dancing. Infused with elements of Latin & African music, Compassion Gorilla combines tight instrumental arrangements with songs and story telling. The result is a high-energy show that leaves the audience wanting more.

Ana Bonbon (London/Vancouver)

Intoxicating dose of jump blues, western swing, cabaret, spirituals, and double-entendre

Ana Bonbon

Ana Bon­Bon is a ‘Blues Cabaret’ chanteuse, accordionist, songwriter, and musical hostess who delivers an intoxicating dose of jump blues, western swing, cabaret, spirituals, and double-entendre all wrapped up in one big wood­choppin’ gal with seasoned, sultry vocals and her bump’n’grind squeezy­box. Ana Bon­Bon recently returned home to Canada’s west coast after five years in London UK, where she performed solo and with Her Sugar­Coated Gentlemen­ comprised of drummer Chilly Mike Watts (James Hunter, Tracy Ray) and guitar­slinger John Ruscoe (Fallen Heroes, The Stupids)­ at venues and festivals around the UK and Europe. She featured with Big Mamma’s Door rhythm&blues revue (matching harmonies and attitudes with fiesty bandleader Fiona McElroy) and served meaty boogie­woogie cabaret blues with powerhouse pianist Sophie Smiles. Ana also co­produced ‘Venus Nights’ women in music charity events at London’s Hippodrome.

Rattletrap Ruckus (Bellingham, WA)

A bone-shaking jalopy transporting a boisterous rumpus riot

Rattletrap Ruckus

Photography by John Hutchins

Rattletrap Ruckus strives to incorporate the acoustic folk traditions of our heros of many cultures, while still generating ideas of our own. Our various members play all manner of different musics, and our own repertoire has included fiddle tunes, ragtime, tango, paso dobles, various breeds of waltz, klezmer, norteño, and polkas. But our main direction these days is original music, and we now play whole sets of original compositions. Some draw from a foot-stomping ragtime tradition, others invoke the tango tradition, and a recent piece drew inspiration from the eclectic Raymond Scott. Audiences reliably ask us “what kind of music is this?” — we’re never sure ourselves, but we trust that the question means we’re on the right track.

Svetka and the Raven (Victoria)

Trespassing borders of music, visual and performance art, puppetry and theatre

Svetka and the Raven Svetka and the Raven is an illustrious combination of sound and sight intertwined by accordionist/vocalist Julie Gennai and shadow projectionist Charlie Walker. With whimsical sights, tales and melodies, these two artists find a haunting medium between the auditory and the visual. Julie Gennai is a multi-faceted artist living and working in Victoria, BC. She has toured internationally as a accordionist/harpist/vocalist, working with musical groups such as Blackberry Wood, Compassion Gorilla, The Wayover Yonders, Zumbido Collectivo and a newly formed solo-project: Svetka – a performative blend of music, projected puppetry, story telling and dream weaving.

The Wayward Hearts (Vancouver)

…inspired by fine hats, Old Testament exuberance, Gothic Americana, Alphonse Mucha, tambourines, mountain music, worn-out boots, causing a ruckus and telling a good story about it.

The Wayward Hearts

The Wayward Hearts play original music featuring banjo, violin and electric accordion. Formed in the fall of 2013, they released their first EP in April 2014 and played over a dozen local shows that year including the Khatsahlano Street Party, Vancouver’s largest outdoor music and arts festival. The band also traveled south to LA in July, 2014 where they played a raucous set at the legendary Whisky A GOGO. The band consist of Bradley Damsgaard on lead vocals, guitar and banjo, Shiloh Lindsey on vocals, Emily Helsdon on violin, Jim Favaro on electric accordion, Scott Paulley on bass and Kirk Douglas on the drums.

Steve Normandin (Cap-de-la-Madeleine, Quebec)

Death, childhood, madness, humor. Humor that has no equal as tenderness

Steve Normandin

Like most young accordionists, Steve Normandin dreamed of someday performing in a rock opera… OK, maybe that’s not the most common aspiration among accordionists; but he pulled it off anyway. Between the years 2003 and 2007 if you wanted to catch Steve in performance you could do so at various places across the globe—Australia, Singapore, Germany, France, Belgium—as an actor-musician in The Busker’s Opera, a rock opera staged by Canadian heavy-hitter, Robert Lepage. When not touring the planet, Steve makes his home in Trois-Rivières, Québec, a town strategically located just about half-way between Montréal and the city of Québec. A self taught musician, Steve plays piano, accordion (squeeze box and piano accordion) and harmonica. A composer and lyricist, he’s also a terrific singer who can (and will, chez nous) perform Canadian Folk or French songs with real panache.

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