Princeton Traditional Music Festival
Friday 18 to Sunday 20 August ~ 2017
Read the biographies of
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 will be some favourites coming back. We do however make sure that
there are new performers every year.
This page will be updated when all performers
have registered. Stay tuned!
(2016 schedules here)
ALEX, NICK and WENDY
It is with pleasure that we once again welcome Alex Atamanenko to his seventh
appearance at the Festival. Alex has been singing for many years both as a solo
performer and with a group called the Balladeers. He performs regularly in
seniors’ homes in the Castlegar area. Alex will be singing songs in Russian, a
language he learned at home, as well as Canadian folk songs and songs of the
1960’s folk revival. Alex will be performing with Nick Plotnikoff and Wendy
Mary Armitage’s journey into folk music began in London in the 1960s and then
brought her to the Vancouver Folk Song Society almost nine years ago. A regular
face at the Princeton Traditional Music Festival, she returns this year with a
variety of her favourite traditional songs, accompanying herself on guitar and
with the help of special guests. Audience participation, please! Her CD “Second
Chances” is on sale at the Festival. Visit her website at
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
THE BEAUTIFUL MARYS AND HANDSOME GEORGE
This trio from Seattle consists of Mary Garvey, Mary Wilson and George Austin.
They have been singing together for many years and sing a variety of
traditional music, especially maritime songs. They have sung on several CDs of
Northwest music, all of which will be for sale at the Festival. George
supplements the Northwest orientation of the two Marys with songs from his
native New England. All three have participated in Seattle’s Northwest Folklife
Festival as well as at other festivals in the Pacific Northwest.
BLACKIE and PETE
Blackie and Pete from Vancouver consists of Rick Blacklaws on shuttle pipes and
Peter Huron on guitar. Peter has performed and recorded Celtic music for over
40 years. He has released many recordings on the Plant a Tree label. His
arrangements and compositions have been featured on Radio Canada and the NFB.
Rick Blacklaws has played pipes since the age of ten. Shuttle Pipes are a type
of bagpipe which derive their name from the drones that use a sliding “shuttle”
to change pitch. Blackie and Pete have CDs for sale at the Festival
Heather Burles from Chilliwack is a former member of the Balkan singing group,
Zeelia. She now sings in English, a language, she says, she understands.
Heather performs a capella traditional songs from Britain and Ireland as well
as playing Irish airs on an O’Brien pennywhistle.
Linda Chobouck from Burnaby writes: “I grew up in a singing family, resenting
being sent to bed when my parents held a hootenany. But this left me with an
extensive introduction to folk music in both American and British traditions.
In that milieu everyone I respected as a musician was also a songwriter, so
from an early age I wrote music. I am perhaps best know 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. I am currently a librarian with
Burnaby Public Library, but I promise not to sing the date-due stamping
Claddach from Kelowna sings traditional and contemporary songs that illuminate
social and/or political aspects of the human condition. They do it for fun!
Claddach consists of Rob Corbett, Lorraine Helgerson and Ross McRae. Claddach
has CDs for sale at the Festival.
Barry Cole from Bellingham 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 rich chorus songs from pubs, sailing ships and many trades. He also
plays for dances – Morris, contra, squares and international. During his
performance Barry will play some tunes, sing some songs and tell their history.
COMING and GOING
Coming and Going is a duo of stalwarts from Vancouver’s Jericho Folk Club
Tuesday night jams, featuring Michael Burnyeat on fiddle accompanied by Don
Davidson on mandolin, Coming and Going cruises through an eclectic mix of
traditional and original fiddle tunes. Feet will shuffle, toes will tap and
dancing may break out.
THE DIGITARY DO’S
The Digitary Do’s are 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 group’s name might sound suspiciously like “digeridoos,”
but that’s only because the group contains a wayward Australian. The tunes and
songs they perform date from the Medieval period, the 1600s, the Jacobean
uprising and all the way to the present day, helping to keep English Country
Dancing alive in the 21st century.
THE DRUNKEN MAIDENS
The Drunken Maidens from Seattle is an all-woman quintet that specializes in
tight vocal harmonies, inspired by performers such as Sweet Honey in the Rock,
Great Big Sea and the Wailin’ Jennys. The group incorporates guitar, fiddle,
mandolin, whistles, dulcimer and percussion into their performances. Threads
from traditional ballads, sea shanties, old-time and early music are woven
together to produce a colourful and varied blend of old and new British and
American music. The Drunken Maidens have CDs for sale at the Festival. Visit
their website at
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 capella and some with guitar
accompaniment, with the help of her husband, David Gregory. Rosaleen has
participated in festivals and workshops in Britain and Canada. She had a
regular column entitled “Singing the Child Ballads” in the magazine of the
Canadian Society for Traditional Music. She wants to share and introduce others
to the music, poetry, stories, moods and mystery of the British tradition.
Rosaleen has CDs for sale at the Festival. Visit her website at
Jason Hall from Vancouver plays the Hungarian tárogató, a distant relative of
the clarinet. Born of the intersection between Middle Eastern tonality and
Middle European melody, Hungarian music is quixotic and changeable. The
tárogató bridges these worlds because it is a classical concert instrument for
the gentry and as a folk instrument for everyone else. As one of only two
British Columbia tárogató players, Jason explores traditional music you can
still hear in the mountains of Carpathia or on the plains of Pannonia and at
the same time bringing a uniquely West Coast sensibility to this haunting
Tim Hall from Seattle is a singer of songs from varied traditions – 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
Hard Row from Armstrong consists of Kim and Kaila Sinclair, father and
daughter, who come together to enjoy the richness of traditional music. They
often play on their own but perform together as often as they can, telling
stories in songs that have survived through generations. They like to change
rhythm and morph lyrics to make songs speak to today’s issues. This will be
their fourth appearance at the Princeton Traditional Music Festival. Visit
their Facebook page at
Stewart Hendrickson from Seattle plays fiddle and guitar and sings traditional
songs from Britain and America. He participates in Irish sessions as well as
performing throughout the Pacific Northwest. Stewart studied classical violin
but gave it up for guitar and singing and later for fiddling. He studied voice
at college while majoring in chemistry and taught chemistry for 28 years before
retiring to become a full-time folk musician. Visit his website at
THE IRISH WAKERS
The Irish Wakers from Vancouver perform lively traditional Irish tunes (reels,
jigs, polkas, hornpipes) on uilleann pipes, guitar, fiddle and bodhran and
harmonize on traditional shanties and other songs. The group plays at
festivals, pubs, and fundraisers. They are thrilled to be back performing at
Princeton. Visit their website at
JIM AND MADELEINE
Jim and Madeleine are a duo from the Lower Mainland consisting of Jim Edmondson
and Madeleine Delittle. They have performed nine times over three days at the
Fort Langley Brigade Days. Madeleine was a singing washerwoman at the Fort. Jim
was a traveling bard who trapped and searched for gold. The songs they sing are
about those lives and that time.
Just Tyme from Kelowna consists of Eddie and Elizabeth Plotnikoff, who play a
variety of fiddle, old-time, country and Irish music and songs. Eddie recently
celebrated the release of his new CD of original Celtic/blues fiddle tunes
called “Ides of Tides” with its Cape Breton and Irish influences. Just Tyme has
CDs for sale at the Festival.
The songs David Kessler sings are surrounded by the odd stories of how he
learned them… and where …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 and 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
John Kidder from Ashcroft had the great fortune to have been a working cowboy
in his youth. He performs stories, songs and poetry about the tragedies and
cowboy humour of the range, braided with a personal history. This is not about
the Hollywood/Tin Pan Alley cowboy, but about the vaqueros and master horsemen
in early California, the poor Irish and black boys who drove wild cattle
thousands of miles in hostile territory. It is also about their successors who
“keep the old skills that came up the trail from Mexico.” And at last you too
will learn to throw the houlihan.
Liberty from Sorrento consists of Harry and Jenny O’Neill, Nils Chase and Bob
Cameron. Harry and Jenny have played traditional music (jigs, reels, hornpipes,
etc.) and songs from Ireland and the British Isles for many years. Harry played
button accordion in a ceili band in England for over 30 years. Harry and Jenny
now divide their time between Ireland, Spain and BC. They have played in
sessions, concerts and festivals in Spain, Ireland, the US and Canada. When in
BC they play with Nils (fiddle) and Bob (guitar, mandolin) and have added
American old-time songs and tunes to their repertoire. “Liberty” is the name of
a popular old-time fiddle tune.
LITTLE MOUNTAIN STEP ‘N CLOG
Little Mountain Step ‘n Clog from Vancouver formed 20 years ago and is one of
only about 5 English clog dancing groups in North America. English clogs, with
wooden soles and leather uppers, were once the industrial footwear worn in the
Lancashire mills. The shoes make a lot of noise, so workers developed dances to
take advantage of that. English clog dancing is one of the sources of tap
dancing. Little Mountain’s dances come from England, the Isle of Man,
Connecticut and Canada.
David Lowe from Victoria has been singing traditional songs of the British
Isles for many years, both as a soloist and with the group In the Creel.
Recently while living and working in Thailand, Mauritania and China, his eyes
were opened anew to the “poetry of the human condition,” which he began to
chronicle in his own words. The songs that emerged are distinguished by vivid
images and a strong sense of place. With his clear tenor voice and evocative
guitar playing, David entertains with songs old and new.
LYN and STONEY
Lyn Pinkerton grew up in the American south, where some think of themselves as
a conquered nation and still feel the wounds. Others think of themselves as
having been deceived by a falsely promised liberation. Stoney Bird grew up
during the Cold War with its witch hunts and propagandizing. His early family
life had a markedly different feel as he became aware of what the CIA – his
father’s employer – was actually doing in the world. Lyn and Stoney’s performance
will reflect upon the lies that governments virtually always tell when
persuading all of us that another war is necessary.
Martingale from Vancouver consists of Peter Huron on voice and guitar and John
Walsh on Uilleann pipes. Peter and John have performed and recorded together
for 30 years from the seminal west coast group Martingale to the inventive
critically acclaimed Celtic Works Orchestra. Come and see history in action!
Peter and John have CDs for sale at the Festival.
THE McKENTY BROTHERS
Immanuel and Francis McKenty from Manson’s Landing are a tap dancing,
violin-playing duo of multi-instrumentalist brothers. Raised on the west coast,
the McKenty Brothers have a repertoire of songs and of traditional and old-time
Canadian and Irish fiddle tunes. Their robust harmonies and sweet lyrics are
accompanied by fiddles, cello and percussion. The McKenty Brothers have CDs for
sale at the Festival. Please visit their website at
THE MERRY MCKENTYS
The Merry McKentys are a six-piece family band made up of four brothers, one
sister, a dad, three fiddles, a guitar, a mandolin and an accordion with
frequent guest appearances by other instruments and family members. Mixing
sweet three-part fiddle harmonies with foot-stomping traditional dance tunes,
the Merry McKentys have delivered their high-spirited, smile-producing music
from street corners to concert halls on several continents. The Merry McKentys
have CDs for sale at the Festival. Visit their website at
MIKE and NAKOS
Mike and Nakos Marker from Bellingham are a father and son duo who have been
performing together for over 8 years. Mike performed at folk clubs in Britain,
was a crew member on the sloop Clearwater in New York state and an artist in
residence in Oregon schools. He was an instructor at the Puget Sound Guitar
Workshop and has played at many festivals throughout the Cascadia region and
beyond. Nakos is an accomplished dobro player who plays a wide repertoire and
has performed with bands that include bluegrass, blues and country music. He
currently performs with the Bellingham-based bluegrass duo Marcel and Nakos.
MURPHY, MIDDAUGH and RIDEOUT
Orville Murphy, Jerry Middaugh and Joanne Rideout play old-time and traditional
songs about the “good old days” of the civil war, prohibition, the Depression
and World War II. Orville is originally from Kentucky where he learned to tell
stories from Uncle Jim. He learned to play Gospel, hymns and blues on the
harmonica from his grandmother and his aunt. Jerry Middaugh is originally from
Ohio and has deep roots in Appalachian music. He sings and plays guitar, banjo
and mandolin. Joanne Rideout has been singing and playing guitar since she was
a child, harmonizing at family gatherings and potlucks. Murphy and Middaugh
have CDs for sale at the Festival. Visit their website at
ORKESTAR ŠLIVOVICA BRASS BAND
Orkestar Šlivovica is Vancouver’s own Balkan Brass band, playing wedding and
festive music from Serbia and Macedonia, where no such occasion is complete
without it. Drawing heavily on the Romani (”gypsy”) traditions, the music is
played from the heart and soul. The 8-12 piece ensemble plays and sings a
diverse repertoire, from insanely fast dance tunes to heart wrenching songs,
often in crooked rhythms and exotic scales. Orkestar Šlivovica will be leading
the dance on Friday evening. The band also has CDs for sale at the Festival.
Visit their website at
Oxygen Orkestar is a good party band that likes to make you dance in your
pants. Playing a variety of eastern European inspired songs, the group adds a
touch of humour to their “much fun” performance! Hailing from Nelson BC, Oxygen
Orkestar likes to think of itself as being from the Balkans of BC, nestled in
the Eastern Mountains, facing hardships, coming up singing!
Michael Pratt is a singer, concertina player and fiddler from Vancouver.
Michael draws on his Irish roots and on the British folk revival in which he
was involved in the early ‘70s before coming to Canada. Michael has performed
at the Vancouver Folk Music Festival four times with Tête à Tête, Celtic
Traditions and other bands playing traditional songs and tunes. Now he also
performs many of his own songs reflecting life on the West Coast.
The Rabbleberries first came together for Victoria’s Tall Ships Festival in
2005. They liked each others’ company so much that they thought up a band name
and kept rehearsing. Sharon Hazelwood is a long time singing activist. She and
songwriter Karen Gilmore are also members of the vocal quartet Virgo Rising.
Ron Gilmore likes to play his five-string bass while Alan O’Dean plays guitar
in open tuning, tinkers with autoharps and writes songs as though he were
somebody famous. The Rabbleberries has CDs for sale at the Festival. Visit
their website at
Rattlebone Band is part of the Morris dance scene in Vancouver. The band
members are also members of the Vancouver Morris Men and they are as swift on
their feet as they are with their fingers. Rattlebone plays rollicking
English jigs, reels and hornpipes as well as throwing in the odd song. The band
often puts on ceilidh dances.
RAKKAB WITH AVIVA and NINA D.
Rakkab from Vancouver plays traditional Turkish, Arabic, Hebrew and Greek
music. The group consists of Dan (Shareef) Mason on baglama saz (Turkish
long-necked lute), Larissa Payne on vocals, Bill MacLachlan on bouzouki and
flute, and Mike O’Connor on darbukka (goblet drum). They have been playing
together since 2003. Rakkab is very excited to feature the sparkle and grace of
premier oriental belly dancers Aviva and Nina D who are known for their
engaging stage presence and classical style.
Tom Rawson is a folksinger and storyteller from Orcas Island in Washington,
strongly influenced by Pete Seeger’s passionate commitment to honest music. He
travels all over the Northwest playing at festivals and coffeehouses as well as
leading community singing at conferences and retreats. Tom involves his
audience throughout his set with gospel, old-time and contemporary
easy-to-sing-with songs. Tune up your vocal cords – you’ll need them. Tom has
CDs for sale at the Festival. Visit his website at
THE RELATIVE MINERS
The 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. Coming together for their first performance as a group,
they will be performing mostly traditional songs with a focus on North American
songs. Expect rich harmonies, sweet slide guitar and probably a pun or two.
Brad Reynolds from Seattle performs traditionally-based original songs and
tunes about tree huggers, Viet Nam, stolen elections, the Chukanut Hills and
bad dogs. Born and raised in Kansas, Brad abandoned dreams of being a classical
pianist and moved west where he has played Irish, bluegrass, contra, gospel,
Balkan, Scandihoovian and Québecois music. He can also tune your piano. Brad
has CDs and cassettes for sale at the Festival.
Brian Robertson from Vancouver is perhaps best known for his finely crafted
songs about the west coast based on a lifetime of living and working there. His
work life has been varied – commercial fisherman, cabbie, engineer, economist
and historian – and from that springs the variety and depth of his subject
matter. He is a purveyor of some fine songs about work, love, travel, local
history and the blues as well as being a singer of rousing shanties. When he’s
not singing solo, Brian is a passionate Celtic musician with the Irish Wakers.
Brian has CDs for sale at the Festival.
Chris Roe has been a lover of traditional music since her teenage years in the
mid ‘60s. She has spent time as a Morris dancer, a harp player, a student of
early music and an active member of the maritime music community in the Puget
Sound area. Her main passion is a capella singing and she welcomes audience
participation. Chris has CDs for sale at the Festival.
Harley Rothstein from Vancouver will perform a set entitled “Songs of Love and
Humanity” comprised of folk songs from North America and Britain.
As a solo performer with guitar, Harley loves it when people sing along. Almost
all his songs have choruses so bring your vocal cords!
Norbert Ruebsaat from New Denver will sing the first songs he learned when he
arrived in Canada at age six. He learned English by singing it without, at
first, knowing what he was singing about. Later in life Norbert wrote stories
about learning these songs and about learning English. He will read some of
these stories during his performance.
Helen Shilladay is an a capella singer who sings British folk songs. Her
background is the folk scene in the UK, specifically Derbyshire where the old
traditions of morris dancing, folklore and singing in alehouses is still very
strong. She began singing several years ago, performing at festivals and
sessions. She also sang with Lester Simpson and Bob Fox and with her duo, Fair
Game. Helen’s repertoire ranges from jolly to melancholy to downright bawdy.
She loves songs that tell of joys and woes and that are still as valid today as
they were hundreds of years ago.
Songtree is Barbara Jackson and Earle Peach from Vancouver who have been
sharing their lives and their music for more than 30 years. They are involved
in many musical and community projects, both together and individually. They
perform a fine collection of mostly traditional songs from the 14th to the 21st
century. The arrangements are original, the harmonies are beautiful, the
story-telling is moving and the variety is remarkable. At the Festival they
will focus on French songs. Songtree has CDs for sale at the Festival.
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.
Phillip Tidd from Salmon Arm began singing folk music in the early ‘60s in his
native East Anglia. In the ‘70s in Vancouver he was an active member of the
Vancouver Folk Song Society where he co-hosted “Folk Circle” on Co-op Radio.
His current interest is in songs that tell stories, particularly broadsides and
other ballads that have a strong narrative. These are what he will be focusing
on at the Festival.
Simon Trevelyan from Langley is a mainstay of this Festival and we welcome him
back. Simon says of his performance at this year’s Festival: “Come and learn a
few African American field hollers, the earliest surviving slave songs and
precursors of spirituals. Sing and clap to the rhythms of Africa. Learn about
the important history of these songs and their influence on the development of
music in America.”
Triskele from West Kelowna consists of Myranda O’Byrne and Michael Price
together with the fine fiddling of Heather Fenwick and Tracy Beckett. With the
addition of Appalachian dulcimer, guitar and bodhran, Triskele performs
traditional Celtic songs and ballads as well as jigs,reels, polkas, waltzes and
strathspeys. Myranda is a member of Teachers Without Borders and for several
years the group worked as musical ambassadors/facilitators in Mexico and has
donated its earnings to help children in the village where they work. Visit
their website at
VANCOUVER MORRIS MEN
Morris dancing is a very old type of dance from England, traditionally danced
only by men. The Vancouver Morris Men have been dancing together for over
thirty years. Go to any street festival in the Lower Mainland and you’ll
probably see them dancing with bells ringing and handkerchiefs waving. They
have also been known to dance on dark, rainy parking lots on Guy Fawkes Night.
Enjoy their “guerrilla” street dancing this weekend and visit their website at
THE VAN LIDTH DE JEUDE FAMILY
The Van Lidth de Jeude Family from Bowen Island consists of three generations
with a tradition of singing together that was fostered by the Vancouver Folk
Song Society. They hope to delight audiences with a careful blend of harmonies
woven together within traditional songs from the Appalachians and Canada.
Craig Williams from Burnaby is one half of Juke Joint Jokers. Performing solo
this year, Craig will continue his love of rural blues from the 20s through to
the ‘40s. Playing everything from harmonica and guitar (including bottleneck)
to cigar box guitar, his performance is sure to be interesting, varied and also
WITHOUT A NET
David and Mary Lowther from Mesachie Lake on Vancouver Island are Without a
Net. David sings and plays things with strings while Mary sings and plays
things you blow into. They perform a mixture of traditional klezmer music and
original songs with a frankly cynical inclination. After twenty years of
marriage to a clarinet player, David has learned to tune his banjo to an open
B-flat. Only recently did he discover that other banjo players consider him
eccentric. Mary wonders what took them so long. Without a Net has CDs for sale
at the Festival.
Zlatna Mountain is a vocal harmony quartet from Vancouver that sings in various
Balkan languages – mostly Macedonian but sometimes Bulgarian and Serbian. The
four women sing songs that tell stories of everyday life in the Balkans, with
messages for all listeners.