Circle of Songs

Khari Wendell McClelland, Kathleen Nisbet, Marin Patenaude and Dawn Pemberton, all of whom have many music projects and play with various groups have joined together to raise their voices in a special circle of song for VFMF at home.

Filmed at Soundhouse Studio Adam PW Smith, video | Marc L’Esperance, sound

Khari Wendell McClelland

Khari Wendell McClelland is a diversely talented and ever-evolving artist. Originally from Detroit, Khari has become a darling on the Canadian music scene with reviewers lauding his performances as a clever mix of soul and gospel. Khari’s songwriting crosses genres and generations, joyfully invoking the spirit of his ancestors who straddled the US-Canadian border in efforts to escape slavery and discrimination.  His music draws from this rich history, integrating the rhythms and folklore of early African-Americans with contemporary sounds and stories of struggle.

Kathleen Nisbet

Lead singer of Vancouver bluegrass and old-time band Viper Central, Kathleen Nisbet is a fiddle player, singer, songwriter and composer. Classically trained early on, she has since returned to her Métis roots, pursuing more traditional fiddle music and working in a variety of genres. She is an active member of Vancouver's thriving bluegrass and folk scene, performing and touring across Canada and Internationally.  A regular collaborator with V'ni Dansi Métis traditional dance, and Acuhko Simowuk Collective, she has composed for dance and theatre and is known locally for her live music productions including the annual East Van Opry in Vancouver.

Kathleen is this year’s VFMF Emcee


Marin Patenaude

With favourably raucous and precious moments, Marin Patenaude deftly stitches together an urban edge with the waving grasses of country folk. Layered, living and inspired by wildness, Marin’s voice is strong. A purity in her lyrics pairs with the complexity of her composition, demonstrating poetic restraint and focus. Raised in rural Horsefly BC, Marin’s musical acumen is a family affair. She is the younger sister of Juno-award winning Pharis Romero (Pharis and Jason Romero), and was raised on harmony and sawdust in a family band of folk and country. She’s an accomplished piano player and plays an old guitar like a long lost lover and can find the harmony part in everything.  Influenced by Joni Mitchell, Bonnie Raitt and Tori Amos, Marin’s affinity with these artists alludes to the full, rich quality of her voice and her compositions.


Dawn Pemberton

Dawn is deservedly becoming known as the Queen of Canadian Soul.  Vibrant, genuine, and soulful, Dawn has deep musical roots that take her powerful voice from gospel and soul to jazz, funk, and world music. In addition to regularly collaborating on the projects of her peers and having an educated background in jazz voice and piano, Dawn is a talented and passionate songwriter in her own right. A staple of the West Coast music scene, Dawn can be found tearing it up as a vocalist, arranger, and go-to for live performances and studio sessions, and also recently hosting a soul radio show on CKUA. Her new release Say Somethin’ is a dynamic funk/soul dream. Her powerhouse vocals are backed by a tight and groovy band, so get ready to dance!