Home Feature For Pride: 7 amazing queer artists from across the folk/roots/world music spectrum

For Pride: 7 amazing queer artists from across the folk/roots/world music spectrum


Queer culture over the past few decades has been defined by two musical genres: working class, lesbian feminist folk music, sometimes labeled “women’s music,” and disco anthems by acts such as Abba, Gloria Gaynor, the Weather Girls and Jimmy Sommerville.

Many of the artists who provided the soundtrack to our coming out weren’t even queer.

But there are so many great queer artists in all genres that we don’t have to go looking for community only in clubs or coffee houses. We might also find it at a Celidh, a jazz festival or even a classical music concert.

Here are a few of our favourite queer artists of the moment.


Mind-blowing musicians, awe-inspiring composers, Juno award-winning recording artists, riveting performers AND lesbians? Could Elizabeth Rodriguez and Magdelys Savigne possibly be any cooler?

Sierra Noble

Many of us thought we were watching Winnipeg singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Sierra Noble grow up before our as as they released music throughout their teen years. In reality, we trapped them in our gaze and they had to escape to solitude to connect with who they really are. Now they’re back on the scene, out of the closet, and making music that speaks to that experience.

Annabelle Chvostek

Annabelle rose from a popular fixture on the grassroots Montreal arts scene to join the internationally acclaimed outit the Wailin’ Jennys, then relaunched her solo career with a pair of albums that showcased her songwriting skills, her progressive politics and her suble use of electronic enhancement in her arrangments. Annabelle’s latest project is a collaboration with Fernando Rosa in her partner’s home country of Uruguay.

Allison Russell

Not only did Allison write and record the greatest album of 2021, but she’s also pretty “out” as a result of the single “Persephone,” which describes her seeking refuge from her abusive home in the bed and arms of a friend.

Jeremy Dutcher

What can we say? All the cool artists are queer these days. Jeremy Dutcher released what was, hands down, the hottest album of 2018 when he put out his debut album, Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa, a collection of traditional songs reworked for piano and operatic tenor voice. It was like nothing anyone had released before, and it earned him the Polaris Prize. So it’s exciting to see that Jeremy has a new record coming out on Oct. 6.

Ashley MacIsaac

The bad boy of the East Coast Celtic Music scene is also a queer, who was once dropped from the MacLean’s honour roll for openly discussing his fondness for watersports. Here at Roots Music Canada, we enthusiastically endorse all sexual expression that is legal and consensual and involves people over the age of consent. Thus, Ashley’s still on our list.

Kinnie Starr

Kinnie burst onto the scene in Vancouver in the early 1990s – the same era when Ani DiFranco was making her rise – performing a mixture of song and spoken word with a bit of hip hop flavour. She was also a truly one-of-a-kind performer, and she built a unique career that included a stint with Cirque du Soleil. In recent years, she’s struggled with the effects of a traumatic brain injury sustained in a motor vehicle accident while she was a passenger in a taxi. However, she is still making incredible music, including her 2021 album Win or Lose.





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