Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Sainte-Marie to play Summerfolk

Article originally published at
Canadian music legend Buffy Sainte-Marie will headline this year's Summerfolk.

Artistic director James Keelaghan has been rolling out the lineup of more than 40 acts throughout the month of March, capped by the announcement Tuesday that Sainte-Marie would be headlining the 39th annual Summerfolk Music and Crafts Festival which runs August 15 to 17 at Kelso Beach Park.

"When you think of Buffy's career there are the hits she had herself and then the hits she has written for other people," said Keelaghan. "She is just an incredibly focused and generous performer."

Sainte-Marie is best known for her 1970s hits such as I'm Gonna Be a Country Girl Again, Mister Can't You See and He's An Indian Cowboy in the Rodeo. She is well-known for her regular appearances on Sesame Street in the 1970s and early 1980s. Sainte-Marie is also an accomplished songwriter. The song Up Where We Belong, which Saint-Marie co-wrote, won an Academy Award and Golden Globe Award.

"I think having somebody with the stature of Buffy Sainte-Marie as the anchor of this, I think for the performers backstage, you know you are some place solid when there is a 73-year-old living legend on that stage and you are going to be on that stage at some point yourself," said Keelaghan.

Sainte-Marie was born on the Piapot Cree First Nation in Saskatchewan and raised in Massachusetts by adoptive parents. Much of her music, both as a songwriter and musician, has focused on the First Nations peoples of North America. She has also taken on the subjects of peace, war and religion in her music and has been involved in social activism throughout her career.

Keelaghan said he had tried to bring Sainte-Marie to Summerfolk last year, but was unable to get her booked for the festival.

"Everything sort of lined up this year that she was going to be in the area and was quite happy to do it," said Keelaghan.

In 2009, Sainte-Marie released her 18th album, Running for the Drum, which earned her her third Juno Award. Today, Sainte-Marie plays with a three-member band, including Jesse Green on guitar, Michel Bruyere on drums and Leroy Constant on bass.

"She has an amazing touring schedule and is just finishing a new album," said Keelaghan. "She is working with this trio of aboriginal musicians out of Winnipeg. They are the most rock solid band you have ever seen in your life."

Among the other popular acts at Summerfolk this year will be Toronto singer-songwriter Danny Michel, Yves Lambert, who for 25 years was the front-runner for Quebec band La Bottine Souriante, local favourites and Maple Blues Award nominees, the 24th Street Wailers and popular pop and folk musician Valdy.

"This is what our audience likes. Our audience likes a wide mix of people," said Keelaghan. "They like to have a few familiar faces to make sure everything is fine, but other than that they like to be surprised. There are some groups here that are just going to surprise the hell out of people."

One of those surprises is Laura Cortese and The Dance Cards out of the Boston area.

"It is really rare to see a singer-songwriter whose instrument is the voilin," said Keelaghan. "It is this beautiful string trio with violin, viola and cello and brilliant songwriting that goes over top of it."

Also on the tap this year are Oh Susanna, The Walkervilles, Alysha Brilla, Bruce Molsky, Comas, Jez Lowe, Quique Escamilla, Rachelle Van Zanten and The Fugitives.

Now in his third year as artistic director, Keelaghan said there is fair amount of juggling to bring all the acts together for the event, with some surprising twists and turns along the way.

"The whole thing starts in October and we have like 400 submissions for the festival," said Keelaghan. "There is so much great music out there I just wish we had 365 days to program it."

All of the acts taking part in this year's event are being added to with about a dozen more to be included on the site this week.

The lineup will be finalized with the addition of four or five acts from the finals of the Youth Discovery event to be held at the Harmony Centre in Owen Sound on Sunday at 1 p.m.

"Basically the Youth Discovery completes the roster," said Keelaghan. "If people want to know what the entire roster is going to look like they are going to have to be there for the Youth Discovery on Sunday."

March 31 marks the end of the early bird weekend pass price of $92. From April 1 to June 30 a weekend pass will cost $102. After June 30, regular prices kick in, which are $112 for an adult, $99 for seniors and students, $72 for youths age 13 to 18, $14 for children age 5-12 and free for children four and under. Individual day passes are also available with prices at Source)

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