By Stevie Connor.
I write a lot of articles about Canadian artists, and also about artists from many countries around the world for The Sound Café . Mainly these artists are established and have large followings in their home country and also internationally. With The Sound Café HQ being based in Ontario, Canada, I get sent many e-mails from performers that I am not that familiar with from across this vast country, in an array of genres, and I wanted space to shine a light on some of these very talented artists.
To define 'emerging' can be a little tricky, some singer-songwriters, bands, musicians can spend a few years playing locally before they are recognized regionally, and may take a number of years of hard work and touring to be acknowledged nationally, so, to clarify this column, I am going to feature artists who I think are beginning to 'emerge', or already have 'emerged ' from their local or regional scenes.
I decided to create a column exclusively for The Sound Café called 'Rising from The Great White North', where I'll showcase 'emerging' talent from across Canada. I hope you enjoy the features and come back and visit again.
Fronted by partners Alex Millaire and Kaitlin Milroy, Ottawa-based Moonfruits are makers of art-folk bilingue. In a forest of banjo, guitar, kalimba and glockenspiel, their voices burrow and soar. Here is a reverie, tender and powerful, beckoning listeners to elevate the stuff of everyday life.
Stingray Rising Star Award, SOCAN Award and Trille Or winners, Moonfruits have toured Canada coast to coast and are making their first forays into the US and EU, moving audiences with a live show that mixes French and English organically, playfully, intentionally. Their début full-length Ste-Quequepart (2017) - saint-kehk-pahr or Saint Somewhere- is an elaborate small town fiction that explores the faces of gentrification, isolation and community. A folk concept album that plays like a short-film soundtrack, it tells the story of a village making a hopeful go of a hard here and now. Writing in French and pulling as much from their imaginations as from their encounters on the road, intimate moments give way to cinematic arrangements as characters emerge and speak through song.
Their latest album, Salt, contains twelve songs that weave stories of family, responsibility and loss in this era of climate change and deepening inequality, Salt is rooted and astral, tender and powerful, foreboding and hopeful, cradling all the convictions and contradictions of its songwriters. Transformation – personal, spiritual and political – is Salt’s guiding light.
What grows in the forest of Moonfruits’ imagination is a song-craft that is elastic and never fails to transport. Moonfruits have toured extensively as a duo and performed accompanied by double bass, drums, keys and chamber instruments. Whether as a larger ensemble or with naught but their log and lamp, changes of scenery inspire Moonfruits, for they are as at home in your living room as they are in a concert hall.
Notable past performances include the Philadelphia Folk Festival, Ottawa Bluesfest, Folk Fest sur le canal, NAC Fourth Stage, Place des Arts, CityFolk, Festival of Small Halls Ontario, La Nuit sur l’Étang, Blue Skies Music Festival, FrancoFEST de Hamilton (with members of the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra), Festival du Voyageur, Quality Block Party, Victoria Bicycle Music Festival and the first simultaneous bilingual CBC/Radio-Canada broadcast.
Stevie Connor is originally from Scotland, for the last 16 years he has been based just outside of Toronto in the GTA.
He is a recorded artist having contributed to more than twenty albums in the past, ranging from rock to folk and Celtic music. He is a top class piper and plays guitar and whistles, his original compositions have been recorded and played by other artists.
He is the founder and editor of The Sound Cafe Magazine and co-founder of Blues and Roots Radio, he has written in the past for Blues and Roots Radio (Canada), Great Dark Wonder (USA), Fatea Magazine (UK) and Music World Media (Australia). Stevie has contributed his many years of experience as a respected juror for the JUNO Awards, The Canadian Folk Music Awards, and the Maple Blues Awards in Canada.
Find out more about Stevie Connor...