Topic: 2011 Performers Biographies

2011 Festival Performers

Updated June 14

We welcome Eric and Betty Armstrong to their third year at the Festival.  Eric and Betty are originally from the northeast of England. They met in a folk club in England over thirty years ago and have been singing together ever since. They were a very vital part of the British folk club scene before they came to Canada and continued to organize folk music and morris dance activities after they immigrated. At the Festival they will be singing songs from Britain and the US.

It is with great pleasure that we once again feature Princeton’s Member of Parliament, Alex Atamanenko.  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.  He sings songs in Russian, a language he learned at home.  He also sings songs from the folk revival of the ’sixties together with songs from BC and other parts of Canada. Alex is joined in his performance by Lawrence Halisheff.

We welcome Sue Averill to her third appearance at the Festival. Sue believes music is a universal form of communication. Sue has long family roots in the province, so many of her songs have historical content. Sue brings to her performance over forty-five years as a singer, performer and music teacher and she invites people to join in on the choruses. Sue has CDs of Virgo Rising, a group she used to perform with, for sale at the Festival.

We welcome Mike Ballantyne to his third year at the Festival.  Mike plays good-time hokum blues, ragtime and jugband songs of the 1920s and 1930s.  His performances are fun and informative with the songs given historical place, time and context.  He has been entertaining audiences for over forty-five years. Mike has CDs for sale at the Festival. Visit his website at www.mikeballantyne.ca

Jon Bartlett and Rika Ruebsaat are the founders of this festival and have been singing together for over thirty-five years.  Their repertoire ranges from sea shanties and traditional ballads to logging and mining songs.  Their particular love is the songs of BC.  Lately they have been collecting songs in Princeton newspapers dating as far back as 1900.  The result of this research is their CD, “Now It’s Called Princeton: Songs and Poems from the Upper Similkameen” which contains 27 Similkameen songs and poems, and a new book, Dead Horse on the Tulameen: Settler Verse from BC’s Similkameen Valley, that contains over 150 of these songs and poems as well as historical background and photographs.  The book, the Similkameen CD and their other CDs will be for sale at the Festival.  Visit their website at http://jonandrika.org

We welcome Marian Buechert to her third appearance at the Festival.  She has been singing traditional music for almost thirty years. Marian is particularly fond of songs about women who use disguise to go where they were not allowed to go and do what they were not supposed to do.  Her songs of “Damsels in Disguise” range from the humorous to the tragic. Marian has a CD for sale at the Festival.  Visit her website at http://www3.telus.net/softfocus

Chris Corrigan is a maker of songs about home. Deeply attached to his Island and inspired by Jon and Rika to recover BC’s folk song tradition, he has created several songs about life on Bowen Island as well as bringing songs from other traditions to describing the place where he lives.  During his performance you will hear new songs about the Island, as well as some old songs from other places the describe life on Bowen.  Visit Chris’ website at www.chriscorrigan.com.

Claddach is Rob Corbett, Lorraine Helgerson, and Ross McRae. Together they perform traditional and contemporary songs that illuminate social and/or political aspects of the human condition.  Many of the songs have choruses and they love it when audiences sing along. Claddach also plays Celtic dance tunes and would be delighted if people got up and danced. Claddach has CDs for sale at the Festival.

Dark Willow pairs the sound of the Irish whistle, alternatively lively and cheerful or sweet and haunting, with the strong voice of traditional and contemporary songs.  The result of this unusual combination is a quietly powerful exploration of the beauty and meaning of each song.  David Donaldson is a wonderful composer of traditional-sounding whistle tunes and beautiful waltzes. Ellen Vander Hoeven has brought her lovely voice to the Festival several times and accompanies songs and tunes with guitar and mandolin. Together David and Ellen play Scottish, Irish and English songs tunes as well as some original compositions.  Visit David’s website at http://web.me.com/whistler4/DavidsMusic/ and look for Ellen on Myspace.

Flip Breskin and Zeke Hoskin have performed at the Festival since its beginning. Zeke writes humorous songs that are sung by many performers.  He is the composer of “Now It’s Called Princeton”, a four-verse history of Princeton in song.  Flip is a fingerstyle guitar player and a wonderful songfinder.  Together they play vocal ping-pong with all kinds of songs. Flip and Zeke have CDs for sale at the Festival and you can visit their websites at flip.Breskin.com and zekehoskin.com.

We welcome Fraser Union to their second appearance at the Festival. They have been performing together since 1987 and sing songs of ordinary people’s working lives.  Their song selection has always emphasized social history and ongoing social causes. Fraser Union has performed at festivals, coffeehouses and benefits throughout BC. The group has four CDs for sale at the Festival that cover music from blues to traditional British and Canadian folk as well as a number of original songs. Visit their website at www.fraserunion.com

John Gothard has performed at the Festival since its beginning. Born in Liverpool, John sings what he calls his “own brand” of traditional music all his life.  During his performances with voice, guitar and English concertina you might hear anything from sea songs and traditional ballads to songs of Irish immigration to North America.  John particularly enjoys the friends and company that come with the music.  Besides performing, John is once again organizing the Friday evening Irish Ceili dance at this year’s Festival as he did last year and the year before.

Rosaleen Gregory was born in England with Irish, Welsh and Scottish ancestry. She first discovered traditional ballads as literature and then discovered that they had tunes.  She now has a repertoire of over three hundred songs – ballads, folk songs and popular songs of the ‘sixties. She has participated in many ballad workshops in Britain and Canada. She is co-editor of Canadian Folk Music, the magazine of the Canadian Society for Traditional Music.

We welcome Stewart Hendrickson for his second appearance at the Festival.  Stewart plays fiddle and guitar and sings traditional songs from the British Isles and America.  He plays in Irish sessions and other venues including the Northwest Folklife Festival.  He studied voice in college while majoring in chemistry.  He taught college level chemistry before retiring to become a full-time folk musician.  He studied classical violin but gave it up in high school for guitar and singing.  Stewart has CDs for sale at the Festival.  Visit his website at http://stewarthendrickson.com

We welcome Dick and Carol Holdstock to their first appearance at the festival.  The Holdstocks sing a mix of traditional and contemporary songs accompanied by guitar, autoharp and mandolin.  Both have been performing for many years and are particularly interested in the historical background to the songs they sing.  Expect to hear anything from sea shanties and songs from the California gold rush to more contemporary songs of social significance.  Most importantly, join in on their rousing choruses. The Holdstocks have CDs for sale at the Festival. Visit their website at www.holdstocks.com/

We are pleased to have The Irish Wakers back for their fourth year at the Festival. They play traditional Irish music with passion and heartfelt wonder.  They play toe-tapping jigs, reels, hornpipes and waltzes as well as singing sea shanties and other traditional songs. They have a CD for sale at the Festival. Visit their website at www.irishwakers.com.

We welcome Jasmine Fiona, an a capella singer, to her first appearance at the Festival. Traditional music has always been a part of Jasmine’s life.  Haunted by the melodies of many traditions and enchanted by the Roma, her eclectic collection of songs spans many times and places.  At the Festival she intends to focus on Irish, Scottish, English and Appalachian ballads, laments and lullabies.

Jill King loves to sing and loves it even more when others sing with her.  She will dazzle you with her enthusiasm and infect you with the desire to sing so -- come sing with Jill King!

Jim Edmondson and Lyn Pinkerton have been doing music together for twelve years.  Lyn is a multi-instrumentalist with a wealth of songs who sings with integrity and warmth. Jim is a chameleon accompanist who wants to move to South Africa where forty percent of every meeting involves singing.

Larry Saidman came to the Second Annual Princeton Traditional Music Festival from Langley and liked it so much that he and his partner, Elaine Rutherford, decided to move to Princeton. They performed as a duo last year.  Larry is also involved with two local bands – Backdoor Blues and Allenby Road.  At this year’s Festival Larry will be playing with multi-instrumentalist and old-timey singer, Robin Cottle.  Both were members of the legendary old-timey and blues group Yowzuh in Edmonton in the 1970s.  This year who knows what they will be doing?  But there will, no doubt, be some unexpected surprises.

Loose Change is composed of Simon Trevelyan, Mary Armitage and Steve Quattrocchi, all of whom have performed in previous years at the Festival.  The trio performs everything from English traditional songs to Appalachian ballads with several stops along the way.  Some songs are a capella and others are accompanied on guitar, banjo or concertina.  Last year Simon and Mary performed as “King’s Shilling” and their CD under that name is for sale at the festival.

This is Mike and Nakos Marker’s third Festival appearance.  This father-and-son duo describe their music as being “rooted in the spaces between Appalachian, country blues and jazz influences; where the city travels to the country and the country music finds new evolutions and revolutions”.  Both are superlative instrumentalists, Mike on guitar and banjo and Nakos on dobro and dulcimer.  Mike and Nakos have CDs for sale at the Festival.

Princeton’s own cowgirl poet, Lyn Melnechenko, has been a horsewoman for fifty years and has worked with every aspect of horses and ranching. She has many humorous stories to tell about it all. You may have read some of her stories in “Ranching Ain’t Easy”, her regular column in the Similkameen News Leader. She has also had stories and poems published in such magazines as Reader’s Digest, Western Horseman and America’s Horse.  Lyn is a three-time winner at the Kamloops Cowboy Poetry Festival. Her books of poetry and drawings called Cowgirls Cuss Too and Truth, Lies and a Whole Bunch of Bullshit are on sale at the Festival. Lyn has performed at the Festival since it began.

Born and reared in Newfoundland, Janet Michael grew up drenched in musical culture – popular, traditional and classical.  Her roots go back to the English West Country of the 1700s.  Her anglo-celtic musical heritage primed her for the traditional music renaissance of the 1970s when she was enthralled with groups such as Planxty and Steeleye Span.  She was a founding member of the Celtic band Paddy Wick and the Celtic duo Gaelin’. She has been an actor on stage and in film for thirty years but now hopes to see music take centre stage in her life.  She plays for love and money.

We welcome Bob Morgan and Lynn Graves to their third appearance at the Festival.  They will perform songs and fiddle tunes that were played on the Oregon Trail, based on research by folklorists and musicians Phil and Vivian Williams. Morgan and Graves have CDs for sale at the Festival.

Philip Morgan has been making music for many years. He is a multi-instrumentalist – guitar, banjo, whistle, accordion and bagpipes – with a strong singing voice. One of his specialties is songs of the sea.  Philip is a mainstay of the nautical music scene in the Pacific Northwest and has organized the Songs of the Sea extravaganza at Seattle’s Folklife Festival for many years. Philip has CDs for sale at the festival under the name, “The Cutters”, one of the many groups he has performed with over the years.

David and Doug Reid are well known in Princeton having worked here as physicians for many years.  They have performed at hospital Christmas shows, charity concerts and Burns Nights in Princeton and the Okanagan.  Doug also performed at the last two Festivals. Ken Freshwater is another physician, visiting from Scotland.  Ken and Doug performed together as students at St. Andrews University.  Yvonne Harper, who now lives in Poulsbo, Washington, sang in pubs and clubs in her native Cornwall as a student.  Yvonne ads some Cornish cream to Pasties ’n’ Porridge.  Together the group performs Scottish and Cornish traditional songs.

We welcome Felix Possak to his first appearance at the Festival.  Felix, who calls himself “Canada’s banjo virtuoso and multi instrumentalist”, performs a one-man musical variety show.  His music is from all corners of the earth and ranges from folk songs and ballads to blues and ragtime.  Felix studied piano and classical guitar in his youth and has been performing all his life. He is currently the resident entertainer on the Kettle Valley Railway in Summerland, BC. Felix has CDs for sale at the Festival.  Visit his website at www.banjo.ca

Back to play for the Friday night Irish Country Dance is the Psycho Acoustic Ceili Band.  With the band's toe-tapping music and Kari-Ann Thor calling the dances, everybody will be up and dancing.  No experience is necessary – all dances will be taught on the spot – and you don’t even need to bring a partner. Welcome back!

The Rabbleberries sing about work and play and the wisdom, follies and struggles of people everywhere.  They sing about the planet, peace and justice. They sing original and traditional songs full of tasty harmonies and flavourful guitar licks spiced with autoharp, flute, banjo, mandola, thumb piano, harmonica, percussion and washtub bass.  The Rabbleberries are Sharon Hazelwood, Karen Gillmore, Alan O’Dean and Ken Orchard and this is their third appearance at the Festival.  They have CDs for sale at the Festival and you can visit their website at www.rabbleberries.ca

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 English jigs, reels and hornpipes and often puts on ceilidh dances.

Brian Robertson is originally from Powell River and lived there when more people had boats than cars. He’s worn many hats in his pretty long life – fisherman, engineer, economist, cab driver and historical researcher. He has traveled many countries but always felt BC was his home. He writes and sings songs about local history, work, the environment, plus a little blues and a little satire, mostly drawn from personal experiences. Brian has CDs for sale at the Festival.

Chris Roe has performed at the Festival since it began.  She has been singing songs and playing traditional music in the Pacific Northwest for about thirty years. She has been a Morris dancer, a student of early music, a harp player as well as an active member of the maritime musical community.  She was the founder of and spent a good number of years singing with an all-woman shanty band. Chris has CDs for sale at the Festival.

Karen Smart is a long-time Princeton resident who performed with her group, Celtic Spirit, at the first Festival in 2008.  She and Chris Bishopp play traditional Celtic music featuring fiddle accompanied by keyboard.  They welcome anyone who would like to jam along.

Under the direction of Earl Peach, Solidarity Notes Labour Choir sings world-changing music with beauty and conviction.  They have been performing together for over ten years, have recorded two albums and have performed in Cuba, San Francisco and other places as well as at the Vancouver Folk Festival.  The choir has up to seventy members, all of them non-professional but all infused with a love of music and a desire to make the world a better place.  The Choir has CDs for sale at the festival.  Visit their website at www.solidaritynotes.ca

Barbara Jackson and Earle Peach of Songtree perform an eclectic collection of stories told in song with two voices and a guitar.  Their music represents folk traditions from the 14th to the 21st centuries with some jazz and samba thrown in.   The arrangements are original and you will hear various languages and tonalities.  Barbara and Earle have been singing together for over twenty years and have performed at coffeehouses, house concerts, community festivals and fundraisers.  Songtree has CDs for sale at the Festival.  Visit their website at www.myspace.com/songtreeduo

Stab the Cat is Simon Trevelyan on vocals, guitar and concertina, Nathan Hayward on small pipes and Veronica Maynard on musical saw and drum.  They will be performing traditional and contemporary songs from the British Isles.

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 25 years.  Go to any street festival in the lower mainland and you'll probably see them with bells jingling and hankies waving.  They have even been known to dance on dark, rainy parking lots on Guy Fawkes Night. Visit their website at www.vancouvermorrismen.org

Vazzy is Suzanne Leclerc and Bryn Wilkin, who offer a warm, dynamic and engaging performance of traditional French-Canadian songs and music peppered with dance tunes from the Celtic and Canadian repertoire.  Fiddle, foot percussion, banjo, spoons, mandolin, bodhran, oud, doumbeck, harmonica, accordion and jaws harp are on the menu for this lively and humorous toe-tapping cultural voyage. Vazzy has entertained audiences from Vancouver Island to Newfoundland and the US.  People often comment on how so much music and energy can pour out of only two musicians. Vazzy has CDs for sale at the Festival.  Visit their website at www.vazzy.ca

Randy Vic is a multi-instrumentalist who has been active in the Irish music scene for many years.  He has played for dances, given concerts, taught music and hosted jam sessions.  Randy has developed a fine lyrical style and his playing goes straight to the heart of Irish traditional music.  Becky Deryckx is a recent arrival on the Irish music scene.  She plays primarily at traditional pub sessions. She also makes regular trips to the east coast and to Ireland to learn more about the music she loves and the culture from which it comes.  Randy and Becky have known each other for several years but this is the first time they have performed as a duo.  With Randy on fiddle and Becky on whistle and flute you are in for a feast of traditional Irish music.

Bob Webb is an internationally acclaimed presenter of Appalachian banjo tunes and ballads, songs of the Pacific Northwest and music of the 19th century sailors.  His music ranges from mountain banjo breakdowns to unaccompanied ballads; from fingerstyle guitar to the country blues to sea songs with big choruses. During 40 years of performance Bob has shared the stage with Doc Watson, Elizabeth Cotton, Mike Seeger, Gordon Bok, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee and Mamadou Diabaté.  He learned some of his guitar technique from and occasionally accompanied the legendary Mississippi bluesman Sam Chatmon (1897-1983).  Much of his maritime artistry came directly from the “last shantyman”, Stan Hugill (1906-92), one of the final sailors from the age of sail. Bob will have CDs for sale at the Festival.  Visit his website at www.richmondwebb.com

Klezmer music is traditional dance music from eastern European Jewish communities, and we’re happy to welcome back to their second appearance at the Festival two fine exponents of it. Without A Net is a duo composed of David Lowther (who sings and plays things you strum) and his wife Mary (who sings and plays things you blow into).  They perform a mixture of traditional klezmer music and original songs with a frequent political bias.