2019 LineupNorthern Lights

T’Monde

Three remarkably accomplished young musicians come together in T’Monde, the Acadian phenomenon that Offbeat Magazine has called “a creative fusion of classic country and out-of-the-way Cajun.” With a combined 10 GRAMMY nominations between members Drew Simon, Megan Brown, and Kelli Jones, T’Monde brings influences ranging from early Country music to ancient French and Creole ballads to present day Cajun music.  Born out of friendship and a shared love for the music, T’Monde has developed a unique sound that is unmatched in Cajun music today.  With their latest album, “ Yesterday’s Gone”, the band showcases their influences and musicanship which makes their sound so special.

The Rutta Beggars

The Ruta Beggars formed at Berklee College of Music in the American Roots Program. Passionate about the music they play, their high-energy and hot tasty bluegrass licks draw in audiences from down in the valley and over yonder! Yeehaw!

Viper Central

Viper Central displays virtuosic chops on fiddle, mandolin, guitar, banjo and dobro, ripping through classic and original bluegrass pieces at barn-burning tempos. But perhaps the thing that makes this band the most unique and exciting is how far they’re able to wander from their home as a bluegrass band, turning the genre on its ear, while remaining true to their roots as such.

As a group of young friends who joined forces in their 20s to shake up the BC bluegrass scene, Viper Central gained a reputation as an excellent bluegrass band at festivals throughout western Canada. They quickly took to the road, touring the west coast of the United States, the UK, and continental Europe half a dozen times. In 2008, they released their debut album “The Devil Sure Is Hard To Please” which received excellent reviews, including “Top-notch bluegrass!” by No Depression .

Their second album “Thump and Howl” released in 2012 saw the beginnings of a departure from their roots as a bluegrass band; while banjo and fiddle remained central, pedal steel can be heard on several tracks and many of the melodies on the album draw upon a wide spectrum of influences ranging from Metis Fiddle to Klezmer to western swing.

A decade later, the group has found a maturity and confidence in their sound. “The Spirit of God and Madness”, released in March 2017, is the band’s boldest endeavour to date. As the band’s lead songwriter, Kathleen Nisbet has refined her skill as a storyteller to a new level of mastery, in the title track taking on the persona of her ancestor, Louis Riel, in another, that of a Saskatchewan Farmer-turned-musician, in still another, that of Catherine O’Hare–a woman who crossed the Rockies on foot in the 19th century.

The spirit that emerges from this album is as strong, unusual, original, and self-assured as the figures it celebrates in its songs. This spirit is reflected as much in the brilliant performances by band members, guests (John Reischman, Miles Black, John Raham), instrumentation, arrangements, and vocal harmonies, as it is in the songwriting itself.

Nomad Jones

Drawing on an extensive repertoire from traditional bluegrass and travelling across the acoustic music spectrum, Nomad Jones will entertain you with their blood harmonies, amusing anecdotes and intriguing instrumentals. Over the past three years, Nomad Jones has become a fan­favourite at festivals throughout Western Canada.

A combination of youth and beauty, veterans and virtuosos, Nomad Jones is:
Nico Laroche­Humby (Edmonton, AB) ­ bass and vocal
Miles Zurawell (Victoria, BC) ­ banjo, resonator guitar and vocals
Byron Myhre (Edmonton, AB) ­ fiddle
Bill Humby (Nanaimo, BC) ­ vocals and guitar
Their first album entitled “Pickin’ Up & Puttin’ Down” was released in August 2018.

The Creeland Dancers

The Creeland Dancers are an Indigenous dance troupe originating from the Beardy’s & Okemasis Cree Nation. They are known throughout North America for their entertaining  style of dance, their professionalism, and their competitive spirit. Creeland provides high-energy entertainment with a fusion of Metis jigging and square dancing. The group was founded nearly 40 years ago by Therese Seesequasis and her late husband Ken, as a way to promote a healthy lifestyle through creativity, cultural awareness, and the performing arts (dance). The group was founded as a way to promote a healthy lifestyle, as well as promote culture, tradition and the arts.

The current group consists of 12 full-time and 3 part-time dancers all off Indigenous descent from various First Nations & Metis communities across Saskatchewan. The group tours with 4-8 dancers depending on the event/venue and is currently managed and operated by the granddaughter of Therese.

The group has performed at numerous local events over the years, and has also performed at both national and international venues including: National Aboriginal Achievement Awards, Regina, SK; East Coast Fiddlers Competition, Atlantic Provinces; Creefest, Moosonee, ON; Prince George Cultural Days, Prince George, BC; Saskatoon FolkFest, Saskatoon, SK; World Track and Field Games, Edmonton, AB.

The Creeland Dancers have competed in numerous Square Dance competitions throughout Western Canada and in the nearly 40 years of dancing, are proud to boast consistent top 3 finishes. In September of 2010 at the Prince Albert Metis Fall Festival, and after a 6 year hiatus, the Creeland Dancers were proud to finish in first place!

The Creeland Dancers pride themselves on providing an entertaining, first-class performance and demonstrating why they are “Western Canada’s Finest Square Dancers”.

 

Dean Bernier and Lucas Welsh

 

Dean Bernier has been playing the violin since he was twelve years old.  He specialized in old tyme fiddle, but holds a Bachelor of Music in Music Education degree from the University of Saskatchewan where he played classical violin and viola.  He officially started Bernier Music in 1990 in Prince Albert and has taught students of various ages, from every western Canadian province including the USA.  Dean is a multi-award winning musician, former Saskatchewan Fiddle Champion, and SCMA 2003 Humanitarian of the Year recipient. After writing the orchestra curriculum in 2003, Dean continues to teach school at Rivier Academy. He is also the founder and director/conductor of the Prince Albert String Orchestra (PASO), which has played for a variety of events in Prince Albert and the surrounding area.  PASO welcomes string players of all ages, practicing once a week at the Rivier Academy auditorium.  Working in several weekend bands, Dean is always willing to do studio work or freelance, whenever called upon.


Lucas has not only made a name for himself across the province, but across Canada as a multi-instrumentalist.  Whether singing, playing fiddle, guitar, mandolin, banjo, bass, or dobro his talents have inspired many and continue to inspire through the many students he has taught at various camps, workshops, and in private lessons.  Much in demand as a studio musician and engineer Lucas has all the tools at his disposal to help you create your vision of what music means to you

Born and raised on a small farm close to Blaine Lake, SK, Lucas began his musical journey as a classical violin student with a local teacher.  As his talent grew so did his desire to learn different styles of music as well as different instruments.  With help from many sources and friends he began exploring traditional fiddle and bluegrass styles of music, all the while carrying on his classical training. It was at this time that Lucas began attending fiddle contests throughout the province as well as the various fiddle camps that were available.  At a young age he began performing at local shows and dances, but it wasn’t until he turned 14 that Lucas got his first chance to perform with a full band at the Prince Albert Exhibition under the tutelage of his then teacher, Dean Bernier.  Soon after he started performing regularly with various bands travelling across the province playing dances and events.  Upon graduating high school Lucas’s musical career was already taking him across western Canada and Lucas began his career as a professional musician.  By this time he was already an accomplished fiddle, mandolin and guitar player and his versatility landed him work as not only a performer, but as an instructor and recording session player.  Lucas has enjoyed much success over the years having recorded on more than 25 albums, performing at various events with such artists as The Get Down Boys, Ben Crane, The Rawling Brothers, Calvin Vollrath, Gordan Stobbe, and JJ Guy to name a few.  He has been awarded the silver medallion from the royal conservatory of music  for violin, has won numerous fiddle contests and represented Saskatchewan at the Canadian Grand Masters fiddle contest, and has been nominated for guitar player and instrumentalist of the year at the Saskatchewan country music awards.  Now married with three children, living in Meadow Lake SK, Lucas finds himself in the teachers chair teaching a variety of instruments and performing at select shows.

Zachary Lucky and Ivan Rosenberg

Zachary Lucky is unapologetically old-school, armed with a husky baritone voice. He and sings of Canadian places and people as knowingly as he might Townes Van Zandt or the Rio Grande. Hailed as a master storyteller by outlets ranging from No Depression to The Globe and Mail, and joined by dobro master Ivan Rosenberg,  expect to hear songs from both Zachary and Ivan’s solo releases and a handful of traditional bluegrass and old time songs. Acoustic music at its finest.

Ivan Rosenberg has released 7 solo albums of mostly-original bluegrass and old time music. His songs have  appeared in over 450 television programs and films including The Daily ShowOprah, and the Hollywood blockbuster Kangaroo Jack. Ivan earned an IBMA Award for co-writing the 2009 Song of the Year; played on the Jerry Doulgas-produced Dobro CD Southern Filibuster: A Tribute to Tut Taylor; and performed with Chris Coole, The Foggy Hogtown Boys, Chris Jones & The Night Drivers, the April Verch Bigger Band, John Reischman and The Jaybirds, and Lizzy Hoyt among others. Ivan also played Dobro on recent Juno-nominated albums by David Francey and Raffi.

The Strawflowers

Playing and spreading the good news of Appalachian old-time and other acoustic roots music is what The Strawflowers do best. They perform an array of music from traditional tunes to Hazel Dickens and John Hartford. They are happiest when the harmonies soar, the banjo and fiddle are in lockstep, people are tapping their toes or jumping up to dance.

Hannah Goa highlights the melody on fiddle with Bruce Ziff adding melodic and harmonic colour on clawhammer banjo. Pamela Johnson’s guitar drives the rhythm while Toby Tellier keeps them all honest with her rock-solid bass playing. They sing harmonies together in various constellations, performing sometimes lonesome and beautiful, sometimes spirited or even rowdy renditions of traditional and contemporary repertoire. Their exuberant energy and compelling stage presence welcome the listener into the colorful, textured world of the Strawflowers.

“Refreshing as a glass of cold water on a hot summer’s day or a shot of whiskey on a… well just about any time I guess.”

 – Steve, Calgary Contra Dance Caller

Jess and Jer 

Jess Reimer and Jeremy Hamm met years ago when Jess left a note on his front stoop asking him to come play some bluegrass. Jer pulled up in his butter yellow 1980 Chev deluxe. There began a decade long bluegrass outfit which included Jess’ father, a great tenor bluegrass singer, and Tim Osmond, one of MB’s best banjo players. There also began a marriage, a family and a guitar building school. Jess and Jer allow the intimacy of married life: the loving and unloving, the affection and distractions to seep into their duo performances. Jer plays mandolin and guitar with soul and an old fashioned sound. Jess’ powerful singing is straight country/bluegrass.  Together, they play original bluegrass numbers that sound antique and have toured Canada from Halifax to Vancouver and the US from New York to Seattle.

Eliza Mary Doyle

Sweet as honey and raw as hide

Over the past 16 years, Eliza Mary Doyle has recorded and released 10 full length albums, and toured Canada, the US, Europe and the UK extensively. This feisty international and award winning Saskatchewan artist has a unique way of captivating audiences around the world with her charismatic performances, stylistic clawhammer banjo playing and sophisticated songwriting. Since playing with The Dead South for the previous 2 years (garnishing her a Juno in 2018), her musicianship has skyrocketed. She is a versatile player, a seasoned performer, teacher, and session musician who brings an authenticity and energy to her music through her unstoppable and ferocious spirit. Joining her on stage blending beautiful 3 part harmonies will be Paula McGuigan on upright bass and Liza Holder on guitar. Be it large concert halls, a small coffee house gathering or a garage jam, her love for music, family and friends is always present. Listen to her music, enjoy her energy and share with your friends, the experience is most definitely worth your time.

“Bright, feisty, and fierce and a troubadour of exceptional talent and vision.”

Gopher Broke

In a time when the prairies were being settled by people from many different parts of the world the simple act of gathering to dance brought people of all ages and cultures together. Through the sharing of their respective dance traditions they were able to forget their hardships for awhile and have some fun.

Northern Lights and Gopher Broke both value this tradition and work together to renew the spirit of the old time dance.

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Ken Olson and Friends

Sunday Morning Gospel

Ken Olson may be best known as a part of the successful bluegrass and gospel group, The Baler Strings.  When the group disbanded after 12 years together, Ken formed his own band, Ken Olson & Friends. Ken is Vice-President of the Saskatoon Chapter of CGMA (Country Gospel Music Assoc) as well as the Canadian Representative for the CGMA (based in Branson, Missouri).

Ken has been involved in the Northern Lights Bluegrass & Old Tyme Music Festival since its inception, and has also participated in many of the Music Camps as an instructor and one of the Slow-Pitch Jam co-ordinators.  Each year, he has assisted his lifelong friend, Irvin Amundson, with the Sunday Morning Gospel portion of the festival. This year, Ken will head up the Sunday Morning Gospel segment, with help from a few friends.

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