Lena Anderssen

She’s been called “hauntingly honest, poetically pensive, and radiantly real”. For Lena Anderssen, writing and performing songs is not only what she wants to do, it is what she is all about. Her music comes straight from the core of her being, from personal stories of longing, regrets, dreams, heartache and hope, and her vocals “dance between…

Sam Baker

Way too often and improperly, artists are described by comparison to others – but in the case of Sam Baker, the likening of his songs to “Leonard Cohen’s, if Cohen had been a Baptist raised in West Texas”* rings startlingly true as a means of introduction. At the same time, you are unlikely to come across a more original…

Del Barber

Hailing from Winnipeg, this young guitar-playing songwriter has been called “one of Canada’s most promising young troubadours” by the Winnipeg Free Press. He started out as a wanderer of the North American landscape, working at jobs ranging from a waiter to a mountain guide to a fisherman, learning about life, trading stories and chords with other folkies…

Black Prairie

What began as an experimental bluegrass side-project by three members of The Decemberists, Jenny Conlee (vocals, accordion), Nate Query (bass, cello) and Chris Funk (vocals, bazouki, dobro, weissenborn), together with fellow Portland musicians Annalisa Tornfelt (vocals, fiddle) and Jon Neufeld (guitar, vocals) in 2007 has morphed, after two albums, into quite a phenomenon. The Black Prairie soundscape is unique…

Bon Débarras

Bon Débarras (in English: “good riddance” and also “good storage”) is a trio of brilliant young Montréal multi-instrumentalists who play music at full throttle. They bring together traditional French-Canadian music inspired, through immigration, by Irish, Scottish and English music with the influences of modern-day, multicultural Montreal. The result is an original roots music that just pulses with the infectious beat of podorythmie…

Dalannah Gail Bowen

African-Canadian/Cherokee singer Dalannah Gail Bowen has been making music for forty years on the Canadian blues, rock and soul scene. Her style has been described as “Billie Holiday meets Howlin” Wolf”, and she’s known for having “a truly spectacular set of pipes…Smoky. Earthy. Soulful. Powerful.” (Canadian Musician). She is also an activist and socially conscious powerhouse…

Briga

Briga, aka Brigitte Dajczer’s music reflects a fully-embraced, multi-faceted identity: her father is Polish and her mother is Québecois, she was raised in Western Canada and now lives in Montreal. Her repertoire is a hybrid of songs written in French and English, all accompanied by her fervent violin-playing and deeply rooted in the Easter European and Romani folk songs …

The Brothers Comatose

Actual brothers Alex (banjo, vocals) and Ben (guitar, vocals) Morrison hail from a household that was hangout for local San Francisco musicians and known for throwing great music parties. Everyone would bring an instrument and call out tunes. Together with fellow partier Gio Benedetti (bass), Philip Brezina (fiddle) and Ryan Avellone (mandolin) they’ve taken the generous, rowdy house party attitude…

Jeffery Broussard & the Creole Cowboys

The Mayor of Opelousas, Louisiana (the Zydeco Capital of the World) calls Jeffery Broussard “one of the greatest accordion players to ever grace our beautiful Creole culture and for that matter, the world.” Born in Lafayette, Louisiana, Broussard started his music career at the age of eight when he played drums in his father‘s band…

Brown Bird

Building their sound on the foundations of blues and American roots music, David Lamb and MorganEve Swan of Brown Bird utilize simple foot-percussion, violin, cello, and upright bass to create a sound full of warm layers, yet wide-ranging and bursting with high-spirited, foot-stomping energy. That’s not to say they’re constrained by musical boundaries or instrumentation…

Jason Burnstick

It has been said of Jason Burnstick that “his voice and guitar together will remind you that you have a soul”. Jason is a musician and composer who performs his own brand of blues and folk, often flavoured with Latin influences, on his arsenal of weissenborns and lap slide guitars. This 2010 APCA (Aboriginal People’s Choice Music Award) Winner, Juno nominee…

The Cat Empire

For over a decade now, The Cat Empire have carved themselves out a unique place in music – as a band with no guitars, with no easily definable style, and no corresponding haircut, but one that can step onto any stage, anywhere in the world and make the crowd dance . . .

Tim Chaisson

A humble and soft-spoken musician, Chaisson began performing publically during primary school in a family Celtic ensemble before embracing his inner songwriter as a teenager and self-releasing four albums. With 2009’s “Broken Hearted Beat”, an international audience’s ears became tuned to the sound of this golden-voiced young performer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist whose music borrowed from a wide range of influences…

Cold Specks

Cold Specks is the name of a band led by Al Spx, the pseudonym of a very talented gal from Ontario with a profound affinity for the Deep South. Her sound has been described as ‘Doom Soul’ – it’s music infused with the soulful, emotional sounds of Deep South gospel, but with a strong gothic streak. Her voice evokes the ‘spirit feel’ of Mahalia Jackson…

Debo Band

Boston-based Debo Band takes traditional and popular Ethiopian sounds to a astonishing new place – a party place where funk, soul and free jazz swirl together with the heady, sultry melodies and harmonies of Addis Ababa . . .

Delhi 2 Dublin

It all started as a live collaboration in 2006 at CelticFest Vancouver, when Dugg Simpson (our own esteemed former AD) put together a collaborative and cross-cultural band as a one-off performance piece called Delhi to Dublin. The sound, the energy, the mix was so well-received that requests for additional performances led to the official formation of the band Delhi 2 Dublin…

DeVotchKa

This four piece multi-instrumental and vocal ensemble has built an adoring audience for their musical fusion of Romani, Greek, Slavic and Bolero music with American punk and folk roots. Their name comes from the Russian word for “girl”, devochka (девочка), but their music is much more global, incorporating at various times cabaret, polka, mariachi, tango and flamenco into a very cool indie mix…

Joaquin Diaz

You will not be able to resist Joaquin Diaz. His light-fingered accordion playing and his infectious vocals drenched in Latin soul make this Caribbean maestro the best of the new generation of traditional folk merengue artists. His musical career began on the streets of San Pedro de Macorix at age nine…

The Raghu Dixit Project

The Raghu Dixit Project, led by former Bharatnatyam dancer Raghu Dixit, performs a potent mix of folk, blues, rock, Sufi, funk, reggae, Latin and bhangra. With songs inspired by the verse of classic Indian poets, Dixit’s unique sound reflects the diversity of contemporary India’s alternative music scene: ethnically and traditionally rooted, yet global in outlook…

Maria Dunn

Scotland-born Maria Dunn has been described as “an arrestingly powerful singer-songwriter who writes great historical and social commentary.” Her music blends Celtic folk with North American bluegrass and country influences, and she draws deeply on the folk tradition of storytelling through song. Known for her keen social awareness and unvarnished songs about the lives of working men and women…

Steve Earle & The Dukes

A protégé of legendary songwriters Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark, Steve Earle quickly became a renowned master storyteller in his own right. When his debut record, “Guitar Town”, shot to the top of the country charts in 1986, the term ‘new country’ was coined to reflect…

Kathleen Edwards

The daughter of a diplomat and a classically trained violinist, Kathleen Edwards grew up in countries like South Korea and Switzerland, listening to pop. But back in Canada, her brother’s musical taste shaped her own: Bob Dylan and Neil Young became a part of her musical world. It’s been about a decade …

Elephant Revival

Brought together by a unified sense of purpose – the spirit of the five souls of Elephant Revival, working in harmony, create sounds they could never produce alone. This Nederland, Colorado quintet have quite the collective sound – a groove that’s been labeled “progressive edge”, containing elements of gypsy, rock, Celtic, alt-country and folk. It’s as good a label as any to convey their mission…

Hannah Georgas

From a big family in Newmarket, Ontario, Hannah Georgas decided to move out to BC on her own at the age of twenty. She says she needed to “find my own place that felt like me”. Happily for us, she found that place in the supportive music scene of Vancouver…

Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion

Take Sarah Lee Guthrie & Johnny Irion, add a guitar c/o of Jeff Tweedy, add one cat pun and some sunshine. Shake well, pour it out and you have “Chairman Meow,” one of 11 tracks from the duo’s new album, Wassaic Way (out August 6).

Habadekuk

Traditional Danish dance melodies get a new lease on life when melded with a vibrant mix of salsa, jazz and folk in the hands of Denmark’s Habadekuk. Powerful horns, toe-tapping fiddle, accordion, strings, contagious rhythms and more catapults folk music well in to the 21sth Century. This young, lively, multi-instrumental 9-piece big band has something new and exciting to say – think a North Sea version…

Hanggai

Hanggai, from the steppes of Mongolia by way of Beijing, is a crossover band that blends traditional music and rock. The band’s members come from Inner Mongolia which covers a vast portion of China’s north, Xinjiang in China’s far northwest, Qinghai’s Haixi Mongolian Prefecture in northwest China and Beijing, China’s capital which lies far to the east.

Hayden

Since he first emerged from Toronto’s burgeoning alternative scene in 1995 with the now iconic, “Everything I Long For”, Hayden has intrigued, not only for his music but also for his highly introspective personality and his fierce musical independence. He usually performs most instruments on his records, and almost always engineers, mixes, and produces them. Hayden ended a four year performance hiatus last fall…

Hazmat Modine

One of New York’s most original bands, Hazmat Modine delivers a rustic and delirious blend of blues, reggae, klezmer, country and Gypsy-tinged music. Featuring the duelling harmonicas of front-man Wade Schuman and his sparring partner Bill Barrett, the funky tuba powerhouse Joseph Daley, guitarists Michael Gomez and Pete Smith, trumpeter Pam Fleming and drummer Rich Huntley, the band lays down a smouldering groove…

Hurray for the Riff Raff

Hurray for the Riff Raff is Alynda lee Segarra, a 25-year-old Puerto Rican from the Bronx. She left home at an early age to travel the country, eventually settling in New Orleans where she began performing and recording with a revolving cast of musicians. Then, along with her long time fiddling sidekick, Yosi Perlstein, Segarra teamed up with the honky-tonk band…

Reid Jamieson

“Gorgeous, sunstruck, acoustic soul”* – here’s Reid Jamieson. He was born and raised in Toronto, but now calls the west coast home. Reid is also a favourite and regular member of CBC’s Vinyl Café Orchestra and a grand prize winner for folk in the John Lennon Songwriting Contest for his song RAIL. Not only is he an inspired songwriter…

Anthony Joseph and the Spasm Band

Anthony Joseph and The Spasm Band is a group led by Trinidadian poet, novelist and lecturer Anthony Joseph. Joseph moved to the UK In 1989, forming the band in 2005 in London as an offshoot of his then novel-in-progress “The African Origins of UFOs” – for Joseph, poetry is music and must be chanted, sung and declaimed…

The Alan Kelly Gang

With powerful instrumentals and beautifully arranged songs, skillfully executed and soulfully delivered, The Alan Kelly Gang sits firmly at the cutting edge of both the Traditional and World music scenes. Fronted by Ireland’s piano accordion maestro, described by New York’s Irish Voice as “in league with the best piano accordionists in the world”…

Mo Kenney

Even considering her young age, at 22 Mo Kenney is far from being a novice songwriter. Her writing began in her early teens, and by the age of 14 she had already done some recording at a small studio in Bedford, Nova Scotia. Influenced early-on by bands such as Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd, Kenney had a turning point in her musical evolution…

Kaki King

Independent and unconventional, guitarist Kaki King has been hailed by Rolling Stone as “a genre unto herself.” She is a true iconoclast, a visionary musician and artist whose singular work rightly stands out amongst the more easily categorized work around her. Over her decade-long career thus far, this Brooklyn-based guitar-wizard and composer has recorded five extraordinarily diverse and distinctive LPs…

Aidan Knight

This multi-talented, 24 year-old Victoria, BC native not only has a thriving musical career in the spotlight, doing his own work, but has appeared on numerous CD jacket credits, playing everything from spacey electric mandolin to violent, pounding hardcore drums. Aidan Knight has recorded and performed with Hannah Georgas, David Vertesi, and The Zolas, and shared stages with Patrick Watson…

Kobo Town

Kobo Town takes the intricate wordplay of classic Caribbean music and runs it through a 21st Century filter. In the world of Kobo Town, calypso, roots reggae, and acoustic instrumentation meet innovative production techniques, social commentary and indie rock attitude. Named after the historic Port of Spain neighbourhood where calypso was born, Kobo Town was founded by Trinidadian-Canadian songwriter Drew Gonsalves…

The Latchikos

Credited as the originators of “Gyp-Hop” (Gaelic gypsy hip-hop), the Latchikos blend together a raw mix of virtuoso violin, spoken word and raw, driving Gaelic beats. Behind this innovation is Aindrias de Staic, a traditional Irish fiddler whose musical path got waylaid by hard-living. But while busking in Australia, he was introduced to new genres and approaches to music…

The Littlest Birds

If you think you can’t be blown away by a cello – banjo duo playing old time music, have another think, and plan to come see The Littlest Birds.Hailing from the small mountain town of Bishop in the Eastern Sierras of California, TLB are a touring cello and banjo duo that have established themselves on a national scale as folk and old time music artists. Both are classically trained: Dave Heubner plays the cello and Sharon Martinson plays the banjo as well as the French horn…

Natalie Maines

Fans have been waiting patiently for new music from the always provocative, multi-platinum, Grammy-Award winning, Natalie Maines. And now, after much anticipation, Natalie Maines of The Dixie Chicks has released her debut solo album, MOTHER, and we’re thrilled to report, will be performing at the Vancouver Folk…

Mamselle

Mamselle spent her childhood years singing in church choirs, following that by learning formal operatic techniques, two years of jazz training and master classes with Dean Bowman (from the Screaming Headless Torsos) and Bobby McFerrin. This combination of influences, plus a whack of natural talent, helped craft this multi-faceted Mexican singer-songwriter’s romantic, jazz and Latin-infused folk songs and folklore…

Maria in the Shower

Humourous and Apocalyptic, Human and Otherworldly. That’s about as good a description as any for the four lads, none of them named Maria, who perform for the world as Maria in the Shower. The band’s music is a part Vaudeville, part cabaret, part punk and part folk mix, featuring Tin Pan Alley ditties, Cuban shuffles, spirituals, roots, rockabilly and more…

Danny Michel with the Garifuna Collective

Who can forget the 2009 festival performances of the group Umalali, the women who brought us the mesmerizing music and dance of the Garifuna people of Belize? They were the talk of the weekend, and one of the most compelling groups from that memorable festival. Now, one of Canada’s very own brings us another chance to dive into the warm Belizean cultural waters…

Nomadic Massive

Rapping in English, French, Creole, Spanish and Arabic, Montreal’s best-kept Hip-hop secret, Nomadic Massive, makes itself heard across borders and among cultures. These messengers of universal understanding, and whistle-blowers against social injustice, this collective of independent hip-hop artists first recorded in 2006 with “Nomad’s Land”. Enthusiastic audiences and critics were all ears. Evolving from its early days of two turntables and a microphone…

Jerron “Blind Boy” Paxton

While Jerron “Blind Boy” Paxton may have grown up in Los Angeles, his deep southern Creole roots shape his music. Paxton was immersed in Cajun and country blues sounds at a young age through the songs his grandma used to sing, along with a raft of 78 records. He fell in love with early 1930s music, and made that music and era his own…

Phildel

Phildel is a compound name – made up of her two parents’ names: Philip and Della. Her father is Chinese and her mother, Irish. Despite being off to a good start, at the age of 8, Phildel’s life spiraled into what can only be described as a Dickensian-style story. Her mother married a harsh fundamentalist, and music became a forbidden evil…

Martha Redbone Roots Project

Martha Redbone’s music flows equally from her own unique, award-winning blend of Native American elements with funk, and her deep roots in Appalachian folk and Piedmont blues, and flavoured by the matriarchy that raised her in Virginia, Harlan County, Kentucky and on Brooklyn’s mean streets. Having established a solid reputation as a sought-after collaborator in London and New York…

Pharis and Jason Romero

Coming from a thousand miles and a border apart, Pharis and Jason Romero met in 2007 at an old-time fiddle jam. Both had been playing music for decades, and both were drawn to early country, old-time, blues and bluegrass. In 2010 they moved their home and the J. Romero Banjo Company north to the small BC town of Horsefly…

Justin Rutledge

He’s been described as poetic, literate and “spacious”. Toronto’s NOW Magazine says, “For anyone following the folk/roots scene in Toronto, the serene work of Justin Rutledge is no secret, but it’s easy to forget just how engaging and talented this gentle singer-songwriter is

Stefano Saletti and Piccola Banda Ikona

Stefano Saletti and Piccola Banda Ikona brings together some of the most important musicians of Italian world music to play the music of the Mediterranean. The band features original compositions sung in Sabir, a lingua franca which sailors and other sea-going folk on the Mediterranean used in the ports to communicate with each other until the early decades of the 20th Century…

The Shirleys

The Shirleys are six unique women with signature solo voices, who have come together to create a jewel-toned sextet. They will delight you with their humour, passion and enthusiasm, singing everything from Cuban Carnival music and tragic Russian love songs to sweet Mandarin flirtations and wrenching Appalachian protest songs. Their diverse repertoire includes original material and innovative arrangements of songs in seven different languages…

Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars

Formed in West African refugee camps, the Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars have risen like a phoenix out of the ashes of war and enflamed the passions of fans across the globe with their uplifting songs of hope, faith and joy . . .

moira smiley & VOCO

Moira Smiley & VOCO is a visionary blend of voices – redefining harmony singing with the power and physicality of folksong, the avant-garde fearlessness of Bela Bartok and the delicious, vaudevillian accompaniment of cello, banjo, accordion and body percussion. Smiley leads an ensemble of extraordinary musicians who share a passion for spreading powerful, emotional music with lush four-part vocal harmony…

Kinnie Starr

She’s been called “an enigma.” She can be unwavering, yet delicate; powerful, yielding, gentle and fierce. MC, singer, musician, poet, actress, artist, seeker Kinnie Starr is a trusted guide and a fearless explorer who’s name garners respect in almost any cultural or artistic conversation. Her extraordinary voice continues to provoke new thought and inspiration. She writes and performs songs in a range of genres…

Jayme Stone

Two-time Juno winning banjo-player Jayme Stone makes music inspired by folk traditions from around the world. His curiosity started early with the quirky physics of the banjo, 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 maestros like Tony Trischka and Bill Frisell…

Stringband

Stringband was the little Canadian folk band that could. Over forty years ago they pioneered do-it-yourself- recording and touring and wrote endearing and enduring songs about this country, its people, places and personalities. From the early seventies until the mid-eighties they were in the forefront of folk music. Since then they have gone on to varied pursuits in the creative arts…

Tinpan Orange

In 2012, critically acclaimed Australian folk-pop darlings, Tinpan Orange released Over the Sun, an album singer-songwriter Emily Lubitz refers to as “the greatest album of my life.” Months later, just to pay the bills, Lubitz sang the anonymous lead vocal on an Australian train safety commercial that became the viral internet sensation Dumb Ways To Die…

Vancouver Chinese Music Ensemble

Vancouver is home to some of the most accomplished exponents of Chinese music in the country, the Vancouver Chinese Music Ensemble undoubtedly among the most renowned. Each member of the group, which was founded in 1989, is a highly accomplished instrumentalist and interpreter of traditional and contemporary Chinese music. Performing on a variety of traditional instruments, including Chinese violin (ehru)…

Los Vega

For more than five generations, the Vega family, natives of Boca de San Miguel in the Municipality of Tlacotalpan, Mexico, have contributed to the traditional son jarocho of Veracruz. Son jarocho melds Mexican folk music with Cuban son and other influences in a dynamic and lyrical music special to the Veracruz region. It is music traditionally played on stringed instruments like the jarana…

Loudon Wainwright III

Before there was Martha, before Rufus hit the scene, Loudon Wainwright III was the guy in the spotlight at festivals, concerts, on television and radio for many years – and still is! This American songwriter, folk singer, humorist, and actor (and dad) has been a happening guy since the 1960s. He makes his first-ever appearance at the VFMF this year!

The Waterboys

Led by the legendary, literate Celtic troubadour Mike Scott, The Waterboys began marrying Celtic themes to rock ‘n’ roll 30 years ago, and in the process created a sound that influenced a generation of musicians. Scott has made a career turning poetry into what has been called “the big music,” . . .

Sara Watkins

After spending nearly two decades as singer and fiddle player for the Grammy Award-winning bluegrass-folk hybrid (and family) band Nickel Creek, Sara Watkins stepped away from that marquee name, alone. Watkins then spent two years on the road with her new band, making stops at events such as the Telluride Bluegrass Festival and the Newport Folk Festival…

Whitehorse

Here’s a life and style pairing that has pundits making comparisons to Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, and Johnny & June Cash. A classic tale of musical romance continues for Luke Doucet and Melissa McClelland, the husband and wife duo that is Whitehorse. Doucet and McClelland were both established and successful singer-songwriters in their own right, both before and after their marriage in 2006, but opted to put their solo careers on hold…

The Wooden Sky

This Toronto-based country-folk / indie-rock collective’s special brand of Americana-influenced sound and peerless on stage chemistry has earned them prominence as both studio creatures and road sojourners. It’s also won them a nomination for best Roots & Traditional Album of the Year at the 2013 JUNOs. Shifting from lilting, finger-picked folk ballads and rustic, sepia-toned country twang to skipping indie rock…

Fatma Zidan

She began her musical education as a classically-trained harpist at the young age of 8, but switched her focus to vocals later on. She worked with the Cairo Opera while attending music university, and has deep roots in Arabic traditional music. As a freelance and in-demand Cairo studio back-up singer for different Arabian pop stars, her soulful voice graced hundreds of recordings…

Laetitia Zonzambe

Laetitia Zonzambé-YAGNIMÉ uses her gifted and colourful voice to express universal human emotions. “There are no borders for those feelings,” she says. Born in Bangui, the capital and the largest city in the Central African Republic, Laetitia experienced deeply how the world can be at the same time very open, a place where a common humanity is shared, and also very closed…