Performers 2016

We had performers from five countries and four provinces. We booked a handful of blues acts; Dave Harris, Gary Preston, Suzie Vinnick, Tim Williams, Michael Kaeshammer, and Cousin Harley. The Oysterband is bringing their rollicking folk-based British music over from the UK. Canadian folk icon Valdy and American folk icon Si Kahn will sing us some great songs along with country singer-songwriter Duane Steele. Bluegrass will be provided by John Reischman & the Jaybirds. Guitarists, Don Alder, Joel Fafard, and Graham Wardrop (New Zealand) will dazzle you with their magic fingers, and for the kids, Norman Foote. Also on the festival schedule are reggae roots rockers Jon & Roy, Jayme Stone's Lomax Project, Lauren Pelon with historical stringed instruments from around the world, and for dancing, the Nick la Riviere Band, and the Ezra Kwizera Band, and Karim Saada, and the Gabriel Palatchie Trio and there was way more…….


Bill has worked in the Canadian music industry most of his life. A master guitarist, musician, and vocalist, Bill has developed his own brand of laid-back, soul-thumping blues.  Whether on his own, or performing with his band, his unique style and beautiful tone reveal a rare passion for the blues. A Juno nomination in 2012, and four Maple Blues award nominations have earned him a place among the countries best blues artists. From a slow burn to a blast of blues energy, his show is not to be missed. Bill has traveled widely appearing throughout Canada , the US, and Europe. Joining Bill are Rick Erickson on bass, Ross Hall on drums, and Torben Holm-Pedersen on keyboards.


Bijoux Du Bayou (Jewels from the Bayou) began in 1997 with the mission of bringing the "Good Times/Bon Temps" music of Louisiana to Vancouver Island. Cajun and Zydeco music, initially derived from Acadians deported from Eastern Canada, is Bijoux's core genre but the band moves easily into New Orleans Second Line and stretches outward geographically into Tex-Mex, Caribbean/Latin, Swing, and Rock n' Roll. Upbeat and joyful barely describe this music, which can get the audience dancing in the first few bars of a song. It carries the listener to the front porches and dance halls of rural Louisiana, invoking that famous Mardi Gras Party atmosphere.


The Carolina Bluebirds enjoy sharing their love of cheerful and moving songs from the early to mid 1900's, as well as introducing audiences to rarely-heard gems that were popular in their time.  Caroline Covil (vocals) is joined by Graeme Card (guitar, vocals and occasional kazoo) and Ian Johnston (guitar, ukulele, banjo ukulele and vocals).  Ian and Graeme are long-time musicians in Victoria: Ian with bands such as Rig-A-Jig, The Slowpokes, and The Garden City Blue Blowers; and Graeme with The Jug Bandits, The Chattering Class, and Humphrey and the Dump Trucks.  Caroline’s clear and sweet soprano vocals and warm delivery suit the music perfectly and balance the ragtime guitar pickers.


Canada's rockabilly heroes Cousin Harley feature Paul Pigat on guitar, along with Keith Picot on doghouse bass and Jesse Cahill on drums. Called the ‘Motorhead of Rockabilly’ by a delirious fan after a particularly raucous show in Holland, there’s nothing tentative about Cousin Harley’s pedal to the metal approach to this stripped down form of rock and roll. As band leader Paul Pigat notes, “People think it’s easy to play rockabilly, but nothing could be farther from the truth. Everyone has to be on board from the first note or it just doesn’t work.” Their live show, pays homage to many of the great artists who have inspired them over the years. It's stripped down, primitive and bristling with the energy and attitude for which this trio is famous. Gritty baritones, twanging guitars, slapping bass and kicking drums abound!

After early piano lessons and poor attempts at classical violin, Dave Harris discovered the guitar, the harmonica and the blues at about the same time. While his music is blues based, it also incorporates folk, hillbilly, bluegrass and rock. Dave has developed his original one man band show to include various steel body guitars, fiddle, banjo, mandolin, fotdella (foot operated bass), and a suitcase bass drum. The veteran musician performs his original tunes as well as many of the lesser-known blues classics, and he is renown for his harmonica playing as well as his expertise on both acoustic and electric guitar. Dave has also written a book on one-man bands, "Head, Hands and Feet", which covers over 900 one-man bands, both past and present.




Don Alder plays acoustic fingerstyle guitar with a passion that has quickly earned him a reputation as Vancouver's "best kept little secret". Don is a world-class fingerstyle guitarist with a "wow factor" that has led to multiple endorsement deals with major manufacturers and a collaboration with Greenfield guitars to produce a signature acoustic guitar. His unique style of playing incorporates fingerpicking with simultaneous percussion on the soundboard to create a wall of sound. He is often referred to as sounding like a four piece band. Don's music is his own unique weave of deeply textured melody and story. Lyrical and compelling, his original songs are notes of exploration - some passionate and haunting, some hard-driven, others light and teasing. In quiet pieces or pushing right to the edge, Don's phenomenal fingerstyle playing and rich voice captivate. 


Duane Steele is among Canada’s top country recording artists and songwriters with a professional career dating back to 1984. Born and raised in the small Alberta Peace Country town of Hines Creek, music was a big part of Duane’s life growing up. In 1993 Duane landed a publishing contract with Warner Chapel in Nashville. This full time job as a staff songwriter allowed him the privilege of working with and learning from some of the most talented writers from the United States and Canada. He also took this opportunity to pursue his goals as a recording artist and songwriter, Duane’s pure voice and natural stage presence make his live shows a must see. Fans relate to his lyrics and song writing style. When he is not touring or working on his own projects he is often writing with other artists.

Duck Creak is a diverse five piece band from Salt Spring Island featuring three singer songwriters with stories to share. The band started out with two carpenters (also singer songwriters) who met while renovating the Tree House Cafe on Salt Spring Island. Later on after adding a third singer songwriter they called themselves the "Carpenters". Following the addition of a red hot rhythm section, they changed their name to "Duck Creak". They have entertained Salt Springers at many venues with their original, topical and social/political songwriting, and musical vignettes. This musical collaboration of Ken Lunn, Donn Tarris, Bruce Everett, Laurent Boucher, and Valdy are happy to journey from Salt Spring to the big island to entertain the musical souls who live only a short ferry ride away. 


Ezra Kwizera is an international artist, music producer and community leader. Ezra’s music style is richly multiā€cultural – a zesty yet soulful mix of Reggae, Soca, East African Bongo, and Pop. With linguistic agility, Ezra fluidly sings and raps in English, Kinyarwanda, Luganda, Zulu and Swahili. Growing up as a refugee in Uganda before moving back to his home country Rwanda after the 1994 genocide, Ezra has a powerful motivation to support Rwandans through his music to rebuild their country. His music conveys the spark of an overcomer and the passion of a community leader with a vision to inspire change in his generation.




Gabriel’s music is an original blend of different genres such as Latin Jazz, Tango, Funk, Klezmer, Gypsy, Reggae, Samba and Electronic, a representation of the many cultures which have influenced his music. For the past five years the Gabriel Palatchi Trio has toured throughout various parts of Argentina, Mexico and Canada, performing at important venues and international music festivals. Gabriel’s music is being played on radio stations all over the world from Alaska through to South America, Europe, and the Middle East, and even as far as Australia.  Currently, Gabriel splits his time between Canada (Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal), Mexico (Caribbean and Mexico City) and Argentina (Buenos Aires).




Graham has been acclaimed as New Zealand's finest fingerstyle guitarist. After thirty years in the professional arena, he is regularly called upon to give concert performances, to play on television and studio recording sessions, and to hold workshops in advanced fingerstyle techniques for steel string guitar. Graham has performed solo and alongside some of the world's finest musicians, dazzling audiences at countless festivals and concerts. He has worked with Tommy Emmanuel, Martin Taylor, Leo Kottke, the Manhattan Transfer, Gerry and the Pacemakers, and Valdy, just to name a few. Not only does Graham maintain a busy performance schedule, but he also handcrafts the instruments on which he performs. He is a musician of great versatility and his love of balance, harmony and precision culminates in his richness of sound and a unique style of performance.

Focusing on songs collected by folklorist and field recording pioneer Alan Lomax, this collaboratory brings together some of North America’s most distinctive and creative roots musicians to revive, recycle, and re-imagine traditional music. The repertoire includes Bahamian sea chanties, African-American a cappella singing from the Georgia Sea Islands, ancient Appalachian ballads, fiddle tunes, and work songs collected from both well-known musicians and everyday folk: sea captains, cowhands, fishermen, prisoners, farmers, and homemakers. Alan Lomax spent over six decades collecting thousands of songs and interviews to promote knowledge and appreciation of the world's folk music. Collaborators include Jayme Stone, Moira Smiley, Sumaia Jackson and Joe Philips.







After years of European and North American tours and five critically acclaimed albums the buzz around John Reischman and The Jaybirds continues to grow. Like the mandolinist at its helm, the group fashions a stylish, elegant take on bluegrass that is at once innovative and unadorned, sophisticated and stripped-down, happily old-fashioned, yet unselfconsciously new. Their genial blend of story-telling and side-show humour provides a backdrop to their studied performance of original songs, instrumentals, and newly arranged traditional material. This acoustic bluegrass band is noted for their stunning instrumentals and soaring harmonies. Together, their seamless ensemble work makes for one of the freshest, most tasteful band-sounds on the folk and bluegrass circuit today.

As he closes in on twenty years as a professional musician, Joel has traveled down several distinct paths: folk singer-songwriter, roots rocker, acoustic instrumentalist, and now interpreter of Southern roots and blues.  But regardless of which direction he goes in, his fans seem happy to follow. He is one of Canada’s most tasteful acoustic guitarists, and one of the funniest and most personable entertainers on the circuit today.  He is also an artist so brimming with authenticity that he’s not afraid to play exactly the style of music that feels most real to him in the moment. A gifted slide-fingerstyle player, Joel sings with the sexy, sandpapered-sounding vocal style of the new generation bluesman, and he tells hilarious between-song stories with the confidence of a late show host delivering his monologue.






JON and ROY -
Jon Middleton and Roy Vizer have built a reputation on the strength of their live show The symmetry was there from the start: Jon's gently wavering voice, powerful in spots but never enough to overshadow his expressive guitar playing; Roy's inventive, expressive percussion, delivered in a way that meshed perfectly with its elements. Jon who writes the band's lyrics, is constantly putting pen to paper. A constant stream of creativity, Jon listens to and is inspired by many different styles of music. Over a decade and four critically acclaimed roots albums later, the duo continues to roll. The have played hundreds of shows in clubs, theatres, and festivals throughout Canada, the US and overseas in the UK.  

Karim Saada was born into a family of musicians in Algiers and grew up immersed in Algerian chaâbi music. His father was a master of the genre, an offshoot of the music of Arab-Andalusian culture based on string instruments blended with percussion, ney (a sort of reed flute) and qanûn (a type of oriental zither). Karim played with friends who were fuelled by the same passion, and he was inspired to learn to play the banjo, the mandol, and the guitar. Later he also added his own vocals to his music.

Eventually Karim moved to Montreal, and made a name for himself. Inspired by his roots and by other cultures, Karim works with musicians and singers from a variety of horizons, keeping precious traditions alive. For Karim, playing and composition are an expression of life, and music is the flame of survival.


The KingmiXers deliver a delicious mix of Chicago blues, jump blues, boogie and more. This great lineup of seasoned players includes Gary Preston on harp, keys and vocals; Anita Bonkowski on bass and drums; David Schade on guitar and vocals; and Ron Lukawiski on bass. The KingmiXers perform with humour, energy, and a wide range of blues styles - from lonesome harmonica to rhythmic New Orleans grooves. This is Blues as it should be played, just straight and true, with powerful beats and sharp harmonica work. After hearing Gary Preston play harmonica at a club one time, the blues harmonica legend Junior Wells called him "Good…damn good". The KingmiXers regularly perform at clubs and festivals across Canada, the US and Europe. 


Lauren Pelon, noted for her rich alto voice and her accomplished performances on a variety of antique and modern instruments will present the Living Roots of Music. She traces the story of music and instruments throughout history, and performs music from the 1st to the 21st centuries on archlute, guitar, lute-guitar, lyre, recorders, gemshorns, cornamuse, krummhorn, schreierpfeife, shawm, rackett, penny whistles, concertina, ocarina, hurdy-gurdy, psaltery, eagle bone flute, Kiowa courting flute, electric wind instrument, pedalboard, and voice. Her compositions are featured, along with music from ancient Greece, medieval and renaissance Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and North and South America.







MATTHEW BARBER & JILL BARBER -  Brother and sister singer-songwriters Matthew Barber and Jill Barber always knew they’d make an album together. Growing up outside Toronto in the 1990s, they shared not only a left-handed guitar but also a passion for music that fuelled their respective artistic careers. Two different paths were carved, but never did they diverge so much that they might not meet up again. Eventually they did, and "The Family Album" was born. Produced by Matthew and Jill themselves, "The Family Album" is a folk record consisting of five new compositions (two by Matthew and three by Jill) and six covers that were chosen for their personal significance, their relevance to the album’s themes of family, loyalty, time and memories, or simply for how much fun they were to sing.


MICHAEL KAESHAMMER - Michael is a Canadian jazz and boogie woogie pianist, vocalist, composer, arranger and producer. After studying classical piano for seven years in Germany, the 13 year old discovered boogie woogie and stride piano as played by Albert Ammons, Meade Lux Lewis, and Pete Johnson. Within three years he was playing jazz and boogie woogie in clubs and at concerts and festivals all over Germany and Europe. He attracted attention almost immediately after the family moved to Canada, performing in jazz and blues festivals across the country during the summer of 1996. Since then Michael has released ten albums and won two JUNO awards. Michael is known for his flying hands, fine voice, and joyful performances. He is having so much fun drawing the audience in. Michael does not play at you. He plays with you.







The Mighty Squirrel Duo features Caridwen Irvine Spatz on vocals, fiddles and clawhammer banjo, and Greg Spatz on bouzouki and fiddle. They draw on musical traditions such as Appalachian old time, classic country, Yiddish, Celtic, French-Canadian, Ladino-Sephardic, and more - creating a unique world music string band sound. Greg might be best known as the fiddler for the bluegrass band John Reischman & the Jaybirds, while Caridwen's pure haunting voice is the showpiece of Mighty Squirrel. This duo presents a friendly, engaging high energy show that appeals to a wide range of music fans, introducing them to international musical traditions along the way. 







This five piece band achieves their sound and energy through the talents of its versatile musicians who go from playing a funky rock number straight to a dynamic ballad or a classic R & B style singalong. Composer, arranger, singer, trombonist, band leader, conch shell player, bass player: Nick La Riviere is known as one of BC's busiest musicians. He's performed with award winning artists such as Michael Kaeshammer, Nikki Yanofsky, The Temptations, Adonis Puentes, Locarno, and The Paperboys. A performer of many genres, Nick plays R & B, folk, funk, latin, klezmer, jazz, pop, and more. His musical travels have taken him all over world.

Norman Foote, an award winning children's entertainer has received international acclaim for his songwriting, outrageous props, and off beat sense of humour. His stage show is unique and innovative both musically and visually. With finely crafted routines and songs this celebrated performer has created a special niche in the music world and amassed a cross generational following. Norman has written and recorded songs for Disney Records, Shari Lewis, CBC, the Max and Ruby musical, and many others. Norman puts his theatrical and comedic talents to use as he weaves stories and paints musical imagery that both challenges and engages his audience.






Oysterband occupies an unusual position in the world of music, combining folk sensibility and acoustic instruments with rock dynamics and sharp, engaged songwriting. The passion and energy of their live performances has become legendary. Starting as an amateur ceilidh band, their career has grown exponentially to include festivals and tours in thirty five countries across Europe, Asia and North America; 14 studio albums; and a collaborative project called "The Big Session", which is also the name of the festival they host each year in the UK. Oysterband make a modern, folk-based British music, acoustic at heart, sometimes intense, sometimes rocking.



Si Kahn is a folk and roots music legend, who ironically has never attempted to earn a living as a musician. For over fifty years he has worked professionally as a civil rights, labour and community organizer. He sometimes describes his music as a hobby that got out of hand. His songs of family, community, love, work, and freedom have been recorded and performed by hundreds of artists in Europe and North America. Si has toured with Pete Seeger, Andy Irvine, and John McClutcheon, just to name a few, and his musical body of work includes sixteen albums of original songs. Si has also written six musicals and half a dozen books. Si will also be featured July 25th, Monday evening at a special concert in The Chapel, a fundraiser for the Cowichan Folk Guild and Providence Farm.







These three long time musical cohorts present a menu of music steeped in rootsy rhythms, panfried in traditional country, then stewed in a gumbo of blues, jazz, and western swing. Sue Malcolm on vocals and guitar has performed bluegrass, country, old time, jazz, and western swing for years, and is a founding member of Vancouver's Pacific Bluegrass and Heritage Society. Don Fraser on vocals and guitars plays country and bluegrass and gypsy jazz. He has won numerous awards and is a regular instructor at the Georgia Strait Guitar Workshop. Stu McDonald on vocals, upright bass and razor-sharp wit, revives the role of bassist-comedian made popular with early bluegrass bands.




Suzie is the owner of a gorgeous, powerful voice, and she performs with a sweet mixture of engaging candidness and unparalleled musicianship. She has been featured nationally on CBC radio on Stuart McLean's Vinyl Cafe, and has performed across Canada and the US, as well as for Canadian Peacekeepers in Bosnia and the Persian Gulf. She performs powerfully as a solo act or with her tasteful side players, as a duo and band with Rick Fines, and is also a member of the Marigolds, with Gwen Swick and Caitlin Hanford of Quartette. Suzie was the winner of the 2012 CBC Saturday Night Blues Great Canadian Blues Award.


Tim's career began in the coffee houses of Southern California in the mid 1960s. He has played festivals, folk clubs, concert halls and road houses from Rabat, Morocco to Melbourne, Australia and from Dawson City, Yukon Territory to Zihuatanejo, Mexico. His guitar skills are frequently compared to Ry Cooder and David Lindley, and his songwriting has won praise from the likes of Tom Russel and Willie Nelson. Tim's blend of passionate, soulful vocals and awe-inspiring chops on a variety of stringed instruments, along with his wry sense of humour and deep knowledge of blues and roots music continue to win him fans everywhere he plays. 


Valdy has been a part of the fabric of Canadian pop and folk music for almost forty years. A man with a thousand friends, from Newfoundland to Vancouver Island to Texas to New Zealand, he is a singer, guitarist, and songwriter who catches the small but telling moments that make up life. Valdy has sold almost half a million copies of his thirteen albums, and has two JUNO awards; Folk Singer of the Year, and Entertainer of the Year. One of Canada's most influential songwriters, Valdy has been an often-invited performer at the prestigious Kerrville Festival in Texas. Valdy remains one of this country's most credible storytellers.





Youth Performers 2016

Alexis is a seventeen year old singer-songwriter who has a passion for music. She began singing at the age of two, and since that time has continued to write and create music. She regularly performs, and aspires to have a career in the music industry. Alexis sings pop and R & B music, and often accompanies herself on her piano.


DANIEL TUCKER – no website
Daniel is a young singer-songwriter who brings a fresh sound to Canadian folk music. His combination of traditional sentiment and modern grooves give him a refreshing unique voice. Daniel is influenced by old cowboy ballads and foot stomping ceilidhs, and he loves to get folks clapping their hands and singing along.


Elliana is a fifteen year old singer-songwriter from Victoria. She gets her musical inspiration from her surroundings, as she loves nature and the west coast. For as long as she can remember Elliana has always enjoyed singing and writing poetry, so she decided to put the two together, and started creating her own music.


NAOMI DAVIES – no website
Naomi is fourteen years old, and attends Cowichan Secondary School. She sings and plays the ukulele and guitar. Her music is upbeat with strong melodies, and her voice is bright and lighthearted. She writes about her life and dreams for the future. Naomi can often be seen busking on the streets of Duncan.


SEAN BAKER!/artists/Sean-Baker
Sean grew up in Shawnigan Lake and writes folk music which is heavily influenced by the American folk tradition. His five song EP “Fall and the Rain” was written over seven months in a lakeside cabin, and is the product of a young man reconnecting with the landscapes of his life in an attempt to make sense of lost love.