Read the biographies of this year's performers here. Some of them have web sites, so please take the time to click on the links and see what they have to show you there.
There are many favourites coming back. We do however make sure that there are new performers every year.
ALMALGAMATED DOUKHOBOR CHOIR
Doukhobor a capella singing originated in Russia in the early 1800s prior to the migration of the Doukhobors to Canada in 1899. This style of singing relies upon the oral transmission of the melody without written musical notes. Doukhobor repertoire is divided into psalms, hymns and folk songs. The themes of the compositions range from prayerful contemplation to others honouring major events and leaders of Doukhobor history. The Amalgamated Doukhobor Choir from Castlegar is drawn from various Doukhobor choirs that have performed at events in Canada, USA, and Russia, singing in honour of peace and freedom, to celebrate or commemorate life. We welcome them to Princeton.
Graham Baldwin from Vancouver is a founding member of the Vancouver Morris Men and the Rattlebone Band, both of which have been mainstays of this festival since its beginnings. Graham also sings traditional and contemporary songs in the folk idiom covering a wide range of topics. This will be Graham’s first appearance at the Festival as a solo performer.
Jon Bartlett and Rika Ruebsaat
Jon Bartlett and Rika Ruebsaat are the founders of this festival and have been singing together for over forty years. Their repertoire ranges from sea shanties and traditional ballads to logging and mining songs. Their particular love is the songs of BC. They have collected songs and history in the Princeton Archives dating as far back as 1900. The result of this research is two books: Dead Horse on the Tulameen: Settler Verse from BC’s Similkameen Valley, and the award-winning Soviet Princeton: Slim Evans and the 1932/33 Miners’ Strike, and a CD, “Now It’s Called Princeton: Songs and Poems from the Upper Similkameen” which contains 27 Similkameen songs and poems. All of these items will be for sale at the Festival. Visit their website at www.jonandrika.org.
Robert Bertrand from Merritt plays slide and ragtime guitar as well as the harmonica. He sings mostly blues from the Mississippi delta and New Orleans. His musical style follows that of Robert Johnson. Mississippi Fred McDowell, Leroy Carr and many more. He learned harmonica from the playing of Sonny Terry. This will be Robert Bertrand’s first appearance at the Festival.
Bob Bossin is a songwriter from Gabriola Island. He was the founder of the group Stringband back in the “folk boom” of the early 1970's. Since then he has produced numerous LPs and CDs. He is also the author of plays that have won awards and essays that have been published nationally. Bob has performed all over the world and his songs have been sung by such people as Valdy, Ian Tyson and Pete Seeger. Bob authored Davy the Punk, brewed Bossin’s Home Remedy for Nuclear War and made the videos Sulphur Passage and Only one bear in a hundred bites but they don’t come in order. Pete Seeger called Bob’s songs “funny, informative and inspiring at the same time.” Bob has CDs and a book for sale at the festival. Visit his website at www.bossin.com.
BRITISH COLUMBIA REGIMENT BAND
The British Columbia Regiment Band has been performing traditional military music in BC since 1901. They have also performed in the US and Holland for 440,000 people live. They expect to play for about 100,000 people live this summer. Although they usually perform at civic functions, last year they performed at the Pacific National Exhibition in Vancouver and the Interior Provincial Exhibition in Armstrong. We are delighted to have them for their first appearance at the Princeton Traditional Music Festival. Visit the band’s website at www.BCRegimentBand.com.
Marian Buechert has been singing traditional material for over twenty years. She has appeared at the Northwest Folklife Festival, Water Valley Celtic Festival, Langley International Festival and many other festivals, concerts and community events. She is very happy to be returning to the Princeton Festival this year and looks forward to performing traditional songs from her repertoire with the help of some guests.
Michael Burnyeat is a young fiddler from Vancouver who plays with numerous Celtic, folk and country bands in the Lower Mainland. He leads the Jericho Folk Club sessions, is the founder of the University of BC Fiddle Club and is a two-time BC fiddle Champion. In 2018 Michael placed in the top four at the Canadian Grandmaster Fiddling Championship, the most prestigious fiddle contest in Canada. Michael has CDs for sale at the Festival.
Bushy Park is the collaboration of Sophia Kelly, Sera Rabbett, Shannon Ingersol and cat mac. Each woman is an accomplished and independent musician in her own right who is completely blissed out to be in an all-woman country band together. They express their joy in sassy and sultry country, bluegrass and blues classes with a sprinkling of originals, harmony and humour. Bushy Park was formed in August, 2018 by Sera saying, “Hell, yeah!” to Sophia’s idea for an all-woman country band at Women’s Pride in Vancouver. They were joined a few months later by Shannon and most recently cat mac. Visit their website at https://bushyparkmusic.com.
Chanteclair is an a capella trio from the Lower Mainland. “Chanteclair” means to sing clearly (not “chantecleer,” which means to crow like a rooster as in Animal Farm). Brenda, Gloria and Sandi started singing together in a choir and soon found they all enjoyed folk, bluegrass and blues. The rest is history. They sing a mix of old and new songs with a folksy feel and all in three-part harmony.
Says Linda: “I grew up in a folkie family with a mother who came from a parlour singing tradition and was an early disciple of the folk revival. Surrounded by folkies, everybody I respected as a musician was also a songwriter, so from an early age I also wrote music. I’m not very prolific, but I’ve been doing it a long time and it adds up. After sleeping, people actually spend most of their time working, so I am perhaps best known as a singer and writer of labour songs, the most widely recorded of which is ‘Canning Salmon’, which I wrote while working in a cannery in Richmond.”
Barry Cole taught himself to play the autoharp in 1972. He has learned to play 14 other instruments, and to sing while playing most of them. He has informally collected and arranged a multitude of dance tunes, traditional ballads, and chorus-rich songs from pubs, sea shanties, and many trades. He has also been a muso for Morris, contra, square, and international bands.
Eric Coyle from Calgary grew up in Scotland in Stevenston, Ayreshire and Rutherglen, Lanarkshire. He tries to be faithful to Scottish traditional song, Glasgow street songs and “Rabbie” Burns. Eric sings at seniors’ homes, Burn suppers and ceilidhs. He says that he is not and never has been professional: “I am a plunker who wants to keep the songs and stories of Scotland alive.” We welcome Eric to his first appearance at the Festival.
BARBARA & DAVID DENZ
Barbara and David Denz met in graduate school over 30 years ago and have been singing and performing together ever since. “Our specialty together is ‘eclectic Celtic music’. The music we choose follows the Celts through their time and influences across Europe and North America and the seas in between.” Visit their Facebook page here.
THE DIGITARY DOS
The Digitary Dos is a Vancouver-based English country dance band who play the music that would have been enjoyed by dancers of all ages and backgrounds back in the “Old Country,” from the village fair to the stately ballrooms of the Regency period. The name might sound suspiciously like “Didgeridoos,” but that’s only because the group contains a wayward Australian. The tunes and songs they perform date from the Medieval period, from Playford’s English Dancing Master (1600s), from the Jacobean uprising and all the way up to the present day, helping keep English country dancing popular into the 21st century.
Fraser Union has sung and played together for over three decades. They have sung at festivals (Vancouver, Arts Wells, Princeton, Islands, to name a few), folk clubs, benefit concerts, picket lines – you name it. The group’s repertoire is heavily Canadian, sometimes a capella, often accompanied by various instruments but always sung in harmony with lots of singable choruses. Fraser Union has CDs for sale at the Festival. Visit their website atwww.fraserunion.com
STEVE GIDORA & MICHAEL BURNYEAT
Steve Gidora has been singing songs of labour and peace since the 1960s. A highlight for him was singing Dylan’s “The times they are A-Changin’” at an anti-Viet Nam war rally that was televised nationally. He has sung at many a protest rally since then, both solo and with others. At present he is founder and leader of the Celtic-based multicultural group, Wheat in the Barley. Steve has CDs for sale at the Festival. Visit his website at www.wheatinthebarley.com
John Gothard is a singer and multi-instrumentalist who has been performing his own brand of traditional music for many years. Born and raised in Liverpool, England, John’s style is a mixture of songs he first heard and learned there, together with other songs he acquired after making his own journey to a new life in Canada. John is well-known in singing circles throughout Vancouver and Seattle. During his performance, you will hear traditional songs for the British Isles, many with Irish connections, performed with voice, guitar and English concertina.
ROSALEEN & DAVID GREGORY
Rosaleen Gregory from Nelson was born in England with Irish, Welsh, Scottish and French ancestry. She discovered traditional songs in books, recordings and from musical friends. Some songs she sings a cappella and some with guitar or clarinet accompaniment played by her husband, David Gregory. Rosaleen has participated many times in festivals and workshops in Britain and Canada. Her passion is to share the music, poetry and stories of the British tradition at her favourite traditional music festival, bar none. Rosaleen has CDs for sale at the Festival. Visit her website at www.rosaleengregory.ca.
Halfwych (AKA Tim Kitz) is one half of the duo Wychwood, who like to call their music “blackgrass” or “feral folk.” Tim sings traditional folk songs, some country blues and particularly favours murder ballads. His performance involves banjo, guitar, foot percussion and several untimely deaths.
Tim Hall from Seattle is a singer of songs from hither and thither – from old-time to maritime to ragtime. He is an accomplished instrumentalist on guitar, banjo and concertina and a collector of wonderfully clever and fun songs.
Stewart Hendrickson, a fiddler from Seattle will take audiences on a trip from Scandinavia – Finland, Norway, Sweden – down the North Sea, stopping at the Shetland Islands, to Scotland, England and Ireland, playing traditional fiddle tunes from each place. Stewart studied classical violin as a child; gave it up for guitar and singing in high school, but came back to traditional fiddling about twenty years ago. Stewart performs frequently in the Seattle area as well as directing the Pacific Northwest Folklore Society. Visit his website at http://stewarthendrickson.com.
JAEGER & REID
Some of the best discoveries are made by accident. That’s what happened in the fusion of musical talents of Judi Jaeger and Bob Reid from Oakland, California. They unwittingly found perfect harmony while standing next to each other at a music camp in 2015. Their musical spark quickly caught fire and was noticed by those around them – and the successful collaboration of Jaeger and Reid was born. The duo combines Judi’s Canadian background with Bob’s California upbringing and his own original tunes. Their artful blending of guitar, ukulele and rich harmonies deliver an intimate experience of meaningful music. Jaeger & Reid have CDs for sale at the Festival visit their website at www.jaegerreidmusic.com.
TIM JENKINS, BALLADEER
One of the Pacific Northwest’s leading ballad singers, Tim Jenkins has been performing traditional, contemporary and original folk songs both a capella and with guitar accompaniment for almost fifty years. His vast repertoire ranges from traditional Scottish ballads to Delta blues, from cowboy songs to Woody Guthrie. The common thread to all his songs is that they tell a good story, whether funny, serious or light-hearted. We welcome Tm to his first appearance at the Festival. Tim has CDSs for sale at the Festival. Visit his website at www.balladtim.com.
THE JOOK JOINT JOKERS
The Jook Joint Jokers are a blues band from Vancouver. They bring you the country blues – those feel-so-bad-it feels-good kind of songs that make you want to cry or smile. Their repertoire ranges from Mississippi John Hurt to Bessie Smith to Taj Mahal as well as some original blues. Visit their website at www.thejookjointjokers.com.
Jugbandits is made up of Graeme Card, Colleen & Victoria Talson and John Hewson. From Victoria, they came together with the sole purpose of finding songs to “jugify” in that old jug band tradition, with washboard, kazoos, banjo, ukes, guitar, string bass, clog shoes, and mandolin. The songs are drawn from ragtime to skiffle, old time country to blues, folk to swing.
The songs David Kessler sings are surrounded by the odd stories of how and where he learned them and what he had to trade for them. He uses these stories to explain where in his brain the songs live. With memories of growing up in New England, living in Israel, hiking in Scotland, marching in Basel, sailing in various countries, drinking in various bars, opening various books, etc. He has co-founded a shantysing, a rum cruise and the Single Malt & Song Society. He co-produced the Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony and created The Child Book of Etiquette, which will be for sale at the festival. Visit David’s website at www.ouphrontis.com.
This year Mary Armitage and Simon Trevelyan from Vancouver reunite as King’s Shilling, bringing traditional folk songs sung both a capella and accompanied on guitar and banjolele. Both Mary and Simon have performed individually at the Festival but it is their great harmonies singing together that are truly memorable. Mary and Simon are both very active in the Vancouver Folk Song Society, which has had close ties with the Festival since its inception in 2008. King’s Shilling and Mary have CDs for sale at the Festival.
Liberty from Sorrento, BC, plays traditional music and songs from North America and the British Isles. They play old time reels, Irish jigs and hornpipes interspersed with songs. Harry and Jenny O’Neill have played traditional Irish and English music for years. When in BC they join with Nils Chase on fiddle, Bob Cameron on guitar and mandolin and Michael Faust on mandolin and fiddle to form the band Liberty.
LYN & STONEY
Lyn & Stoney’s performance at this year’s Festival is called,” Songs of Hope Against All Odds.” Here is how they describe it: “Those seeking social justice and peace are up against it and they always have been. Even so, they have sung about what might be and have even used their songs as their weapons.” Lyn Pinkerton and Stoney Bird have been singing together for five years and love these songs ranging from the tragic to the hilarious to the uplifting.
MADELEINE, JIM AND FRIENDS
Madeleine DeLittle and Jim Edmondson have been singing together for five years. They love making music with others. This year they will be performing with Simon Trevelyan, Michael Burnyeat and Peter Brunning. Their epithet this year is, “Songs to move you, inspire you and make you chuckle.”
THE MERRY MCKENTYS
The Merry McKentys from Manson’s Landing on Cortes Island are a retro traditional family band with an Irish twist and a wholesome West Coast vibe. They have performed at music festivals, folk clubs and community dances up and down the BC coast, often touring on their 61-foot wooden sailboat. Their repertoire is a mix of traditional instrumental tunes, folk songs and multi-part sibling harmonies. Instrumentation includes fiddles, banjo, guitar, bass cello, accordion, keyboard and percussion. The Merry McKentys have recordings for sale at the Festival. Visit their website at www.marrymckentys.com.
MIKE & NAKOS
Mike and Nakos Marker from Bellingham are mainstays of the festival and we’re delighted to have them back. Mike has performed at folk clubs in Britain and at folk festivals throughout Cascadia. He was a crew member on the sloop Clearwater in New York and an artist in residence in Oregon schools. He has been a teacher at Puget Sound Guitar Workshop. He plays banjo as well as six- and twelve-string guitars, singing songs from mostly rural North America. Nakos has played dobro for over ten years and has performed at festivals and clubs throughout the Pacific Northwest and North Carolina. Mike Marker has CDs for sale at the Festival.
As a teenager Nev Miller from Gloucester, Ontario, attended the local folk club every week. This was in the north of England and the experience has informed his musical pursuits ever since. He started performing in the early 1980s before moving to Ottawa in 1982. He regularly attended Ottawa’s song circle singing a capella -- mainly traditional English folk songs. He now has a repertoire of about 200 songs from the English-speaking world – sea songs, shanties, work songs, love songs and ballads. Nev currently hosts the monthly “Folk at the Oak” in Ottawa.
MY AMERICAN BOYFRIEND
My American Boyfriend consists of Ellen van der Hoeven from Vancouver and Tom Rawson from Orcas Island, Washington. Ellen and Tom are collectors of songs and folk singers who love to sing, especially when there are lots of other folks around who want to sing along with them. Join Ellen and Tom for some humorous stories, user-friendly songs and acoustic folk philosophy that’s guaranteed to leave you smiling. Armed with banjos, penny whistles, mandolins and other weapons of mass delight, Ellen and Tom will have you singing along in no time. Tune up your vocal chords, you’ll need ’em. Tom Rawson has CDs for sale at the Festival. Visit his website atwww.tomrawson.com
NORTH BY WEST
North by West consists of Bevan Bartlett, Jon Bartlett, Henk Piket, Rika Ruebsaat, Helen Shilladay and Simon Trevelyan. Three-fifths of the group has been singing together for many years and is well-regarded in the maritime music community. They have sung at festivals on both coasts. Some of them are Honorary Life Members of the Vancouver Folk Song Society and are among the founding members of the VFSS Shanty Crew. Sing along with them!
OneFourFive from Seattle is a nine-member mixed voice ensemble singing mostly a capella folk songs from the Republic of Georgia. The group was formed in 2010 after being accepted to sing at Seattle’s Folklife Festival singing exclusively Georgian folk songs. OneFourFive has continued since then with group members traveling to Georgia to learn songs, techniques, styles and, of course, Georgian language and culture. They have also studied with teachers in the US including visiting Georgians Malkhaz Erkvanidze, Shergil Pirtskhelani, Ketevan Mindorashvili and the Ensemble Zedashe. We welcome OneFourFive to their first appearance at the Festival. Visit their website at https://jenmorrismusic.com/onefourfive/
HARRY & JENNY O’NEILL
Harry and Jenny O’Neill from Sorrento perform traditional dance music (jigs, reels, hornpipes, etc.) and songs from Ireland and the British Isles. Harry played accordion in a ceili band for over thirty years. Now retired, they divide their time between Ireland, Spain and BC. They have played in festivals, concerts and sessions in Ireland, the UK, Spain, USA and Canada.
Pushkin is Castlegar’s Alex Atamanenko and Jonathan Kaye, and together they perform a mixture of Russian, Ukrainian and Canadian folk songs. Alex is our past MP for the Southern Interior and has played the Festival many times. Jonathan has “rocked the socks off” from the clubs in Vancouver to the Kootenays, His guitar playing is infused with the Roots Rhythms of Life. Alex and Jonathan performed last year at the Kootenay Festival of the Arts.
Rattlebone Band plays for English ceilidh, English country and contra dances. However, they also perform concerts with an eclectic selection of songs and tunes, usually with a strong British Isles influence but also some reflecting our Canadian heritage. Besides a regular concert, Rattlebone Band will also be playing and dance calling for the Festival’s Friday evening street dance. Visit their website at http://rattlebone.weebly.com/about.html.
Relative Miners are Bevan Bartlett, Morgan Bartlett and Stephen Ruebsaat. Coming from a family with a rich musical tradition, the three of them have been involved in music since childhood, with outputs ranging from hip hop to Balkan brass, to heavy metal. They will be performing mostly traditional songs with a focus on cowboy songs. Expect rich harmonies, sweet slide guitar and probably a pun or two.
Rideau Rounders from Ottawa consists of Maura Volante and Ranald Thurgood who sing traditional folk songs primarily from Canada. At this year’s Festival they will concentrate on songs from Ontario and Atlantic Canada. Ballads, work songs and light-hearted ditties collected by folklorists such as Edith Fowke, Helen Creighton and Sandy Ives are brought to life by the warm expressive, hearty voices of these two veteran folk singers. Visit Maura’s website at www.mauravolante.wordpress.com.
Self-described “singer and writer of old songs” and concertina player extraordinaire, Ian Robb started singing English folk songs during the 1960s British folk scare. He emigrated to Ontario in 1970, gravitated to Toronto’s Fidder’s Green coffeehouse and was an original member of The Friends of Fiddler’s Green singing group. He moved to Ottawa in 1973, co-founded the city’s Old Sod Folk Music Society and with the harmony trio Finest Kind toured extensively across North America and the UK. In 2005 he was the recipient of the first Canadian Folk Music Award for “Best Traditional Singer,” for his recording with the band Jiig. We welcome Ian to his first appearance at the Festival. Ian has CDs for sale at the Festival. Visit his website at www.ianrobb.com.
Olympia singer Chris Roe has been entertaining audiences in the Pacific Northwest since first participating in a sea shanty group in 1983. From there she has gone on to sing and play both solo and in various bands, from maritime to medieval. Chris has always had a strong interest in traditional music – from the US, Britain, France and French Canada and is particularly drawn to the power of songs to convey stories. Chris has CDs for sale at the Festival.
Harley Rothstein from Vancouver has been performing and teaching music for many years. His work has been grounded in his infectious love of the traditional music of many regions. His varied experience includes singing in a classical choir, directing liturgical services and leading rousing sing-alongs. A solo vocalist with guitar, Harley performs in a style that makes it easy and enjoyable to join in. Some of the songs will be familiar, others will be new, and all will move and delight you.
Initially attracted by the intoxicating combination of the music, the bonhomie and the beer, Helen Shilladay fell in with the Folk and Morris crowd in Derbyshire and began to sing. Her love of traditional English music grew – particularly in the dark, the desperate and the downright bawdy --- in other words – most of it! Emigrating 4,700 miles failed to cure her addiction and she found a new Folk family in BC. She organizes the Chilliwack Folk Circle, runs sporadic harmony workshops, and performs occasionally if anyone is kind enough (or foolhardy enough) to ask.
With jigs, reels and waltzes, Shoemaker’s Goat from Vancouver takes us on a musical journey through the musical traditions of Ireland, Quebec and beyond. Jenny White and Peter Kratoska, regulars in the Vancouver Irish session and ceili scene, strike up the harp, fiddle and concertina for some toe-tapping music-making.
Patrick Spearing began singing at the Bristol Troubadour Club in Britain in 1967. He came to Canada in 1969 and sang in Irish pubs around the US and Canada and ended up at the Vancouver Folk Song Circle. He performed with Jon Bartlett at the Medieval Inn in 1971, followed by a singing residency at the Blarney Stone in Gastown. Over the past number of years he has participated in folk and Celtic gatherings in Victoria before moving “off the grid” near Lumby.
Todd Gowryluk from Vancouver, calls himself “The Tailor.” With his banjo, guitar and vocal chords he plays a mix of musics such as old time Americana, Slavic numbers and music from the Middle East. A self-described “East Van Weirdo,” The Tailor will take you on a musical journey around the world.
VANCOUVER MORRIS MEN
The Vancouver Morris Men were formed in 1982. Their goal was to maintain English folk traditions, specifically Morris dancing. The group uses its performances to celebrate the changing of the seasons throughout the year. Spring and summer is when they perform South Midlands (Cotswold) Morris while Welsh Border Morris and Molly are performed during the autumn and winter. Watch for their waving handkerchiefs and hear their bells as they perform guerrilla dances in the street during the Festival.
WITHOUT A NET
Without a Net performs traditional Klezmer music with the occasional digression into Scots songs or original songs of a generally satiric nature. They love playing at the Princeton Festival because August is the best time to sit in the Tulameen River below the Brown Bridge. Mary Lowther sings and plays instruments that you blow into. David Lowther and Francis Talley play instruments you pick at. John plays his cohones.
Jen Morris, David Kessler, David Howell, David Baum, Dave Clelland, Greg Posick, Ellen Kissman, and Kate Modic. Italian music has regions, styles, and accents beyond the Neopolitan stereotypes we often think of. Seattle singer David Perasso has been researching these musical roots for several years and teaching his friends about their singing styles, like cante fermo, and regions, like Quattro Province, and Piedmont. Perasso can't join us, so those friends he's been teaching are bringing this glorious music to Princeton without him, and adding in some nearby regions - like Corsica and Sardinia - that an Italian could reach by boat.
ABOUT THE NAME: "figassa" is how you say focaccia if you're from the part of Italy that David Perasso's family is from.
Two of Vancouver’s fiddlers bring traditional tunes from the dance floor to the stage. Athena McKown and Annie Brown are the “Aodha Team” [pronounced “eh” Team] and draw on deep fiddle repertoires from traditional Irish, Scottish, French Canadian and American old-time - anything that gets your feet tapping! Annie is often performing as Vancouver’s leading Irish and English country dance fiddler, while Athena plays for contradances, ceilis, square dances and at festivals. In Vancouver, they play together regularly as part of the “Thursday Night Tiara ClubTrio” at the Irish Heather.
Vazzy performs traditional songs from Acadia and Quebec, original compositions and refreshing arrangements of seldom heard toe-tapping tunes, from the French-Canadian, Métis, and Canadian fiddle traditions. Suzanne Leclerc is originally from St. Quentin in the Restigouche highlands of New Brunswick, from the last of the large farming families (she has 15 brothers and sisters!) that used to be the norm in French Canada. With her vocals, harmonica and percussion, Suzanne brings a unique and original perspective to the music, songs and ballads of “la Francophonie”. Bryn Wilkin, originally from Ontario, is a confirmed “Francophile” who delights in learning from the source, from various musicians willing to share with him, and digging up old repertoire from archives (virtual and otherwise) to play on fiddle and a few other stringed things!
Brian is perhaps best known for writing well-crafted songs about his beloved west coast. He has two CDs for sale – “Saltchuck Serenade”, and his latest, “Times and Places”, which feature fine songs about love, travel, BC history and the blues. Apart from being a noted singer of rousing shanties, Celtic music is another passion, and he regularly appears as a guitarist and vocalist
for the Irish Wakers and other performers.
Visit Brian’s website at www.brianrobertson.ca.