Home Feature 4 artists to see at Summerfolk who aren’t already famous

4 artists to see at Summerfolk who aren’t already famous

Emilee Ann Pitawanakwat.

When Summerfolk kicks off this weekend in Owen Sound, there will be so many A-list folk and roots artists on site it’ll be hard not to trip over them. From global stars like Loreena McKennitt and Serena Ryder to top Canadian talents like Matt Andersen, Julien Taylor, Digging Roots, Small Glories, Gunning & Cormier and Morgan Toney, some of the very best acts in the country will be at Kelso Beach.

In fact, there aren’t a ton of names on this year’s bill that you’ll be unfamiliar with if you’ve been paying attention to the scene. But if you’d care to spare a moment to make some new discoveries, there are many to made. Here are but four.

Emilee Ann Pitawanakwat

This spectacular 11-year-old hoop dancer from Crystal Shawanda’s home island of Manitoulin has already starred in the video for Andrea Ramolo and Kinnie Starr’s song “Free.” That’s a beautiful video, and really, I have yet to see a hoop dance performance that wasn’t mesmerizing, so I would definitely put Emilee Ann on my must-see list.

Kamden Gillespie

It’s becoming cliché to say, “How is this person not already well-known?” But let’s face it. We know why. Because there is so much music – so much good music even – and so little curation these days. So let me be perhaps the first to say that Kamden is worthy of your attention. This 21-year-old university student is off to an auspicious start as a songwriter, and her calling card is a pure, powerful and slightly mournful voice that deftly wraps itself around even her most complex melodies.

Shane Pendergast

Shane isn’t a complete unknown. He’s won a PEI Music Award and been nominated for an ECMA, but he’s still pretty new to the rest of the country. Shane comes from a musical family on PEI, and his own music has a timeless quality about it, containing plenty of nods to classic southern roots artists, dustbowl era singer-songwriters, and Celtic folk and pop acts.

Jocelyn Pettit and Ellen Gira

Jocelyn is by no means an unknown in this country. The Scottish-trained singer-songwriter and fiddler has been nominated for a Canadian Folk Music Award and has appeared on TV a few times. But this partnership with American cellist Ellen might help her get more attenion because I have to say, it is really quite lovely sounding. Despite Jocelyn’s Scottish training, it is not an effort to follow in the footsteps of Alasair Fraser and Natalie Haas in returning the cello to Scottish folk music. The repertoire is actually a mix of originals and traditional numbers from Scotland, Ireland, North America, and Scandinavia.




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