Festival Artists 2023
Jocelyne Baribeau’s sound is a true reflection of herself that includes both the sweet and the salty, bold yet vulnerable. Her songs are slices of life, moments of joy and excess, reflections on sadness and misfortune depicting a musical universe that is both profound and off-beat. With the purest of vocals, Jocelyne carries us away with sparkling ditties and tender ballads in a subtle blend of folk and pop-country. Her onstage presence is genuine and dynamic, and her lyrics are shared with a sense of honesty and maturity – often followed by a saucy wink.
Firmly rooted in the soil of their native land, the energetic and original traditional Québécois music power trio that is Genticorum also incorporates the dynamism of today’s North American and European folk cultures in their music. They weave precise and intricate fiddle, flute and accordion, gorgeous harmonies, energetic foot percussion and guitar accompaniment into a big and jubilant musical feast. Their distinctive sound, sense of humour and stage presence makes them a supreme crowd pleaser. Roots Music Canada says, “it’s feel-good music that transcends any lyric, and the chance to see these merry wizards deliver the goods live is about as good as music gets.”
The three members of Genticorum are: Pascal Gemme (fiddle, vocals), Yann Falquet (guitar, vocals) and Nicholas Williams (flute, accordion, vocals).
JUNO and FELIX Award-winning master percussionist, singer-songwriter and performer, Elage Diouf is already a star in his homeland of Senegal, and well on his way to winning over folks here in his adopted home. Diouf’s music – a blend of folk, pop, world, blues and asiko - thrives at an artistic crossroads well travelled by renowned artists like Carlinhos Brown and Peter Gabriel. Diouf’s numerous collaborations include performing in a featured role in the world tour of Cirque du Soleil's Delirium. The musicality of his mother tongue, Wolof, invites listeners to follow him to a universe of irresistible dance rhythms – he never has to ask you twice to jump to your feet.
Élage Diouf (vocals, percussion) performs with Nadia Baldé (keyboard, vocals), Émile Farley (bass), Jean-Sébastien Nicol (drums), Sylvain Quesnel (guitar)
Forró do Cana
While formed as an ensemble that focuses on the traditional Brazilian dance music called forró, Vancouver’s premier Brazilian forró band, Forró do Cana, has a repertoire that extends to other music styles of that country as well. You’ll also hear the north-eastern Carnaval music known as frevo, which consists of very fast, joyful and almost frenetic ska-like rhythms and melodies, naturally accompanied by equally joyful and frenetic dancing. And, to stimulate the more complex melodic and rhythmic listener’s ears, the band plays a healthy dose of beautiful Brazilian melodic chorinho.
The music of Forró do Cana blends the sounds of the violin (and sometimes the Brazilian fiddle known as the rabeca) and accordion played by Serena Eades and Steve Charles respectively, with the Brazilian roots of Mario Silva’s 7-string acoustic guitar, and Sara Magal’s percussion and all Portuguese vocals.
Les Grands Hurleurs
The “great howlers” have been winning the hearts of Québec and international audiences with their traditionally-anchored music infused with criss-crossing influences since they first joined forces in 2009. Nicolas Pellerin (vocals, violin, feet, cajon), Simon Lepage (double bass), Olivier Rondeau (guitar) and Tommy Gauthier (violin, mandolin) play original, open-minded music that flirts with folk, classical, bluegrass and more. All the while, their Québécois roots remain the driving force behind their electrifying on-stage presence and superb musicianship. Best experienced live, come fall under the spell of this award-winning ensemble that’s passionate about tradition, yet virtually explodes with fresh ideas.
Les Échos Du Pacifique
Les Échos Du Pacifique have been Greater Vancouver's Francophone choir since 1973 – so in 2023 they are celebrating 50 years of song! Based in historic Maillardville, the choristers come from all over the Lower Mainland to celebrate French culture through music – singing in French, English and other languages. Their repertoire includes everything from traditional folk songs to classical, jazz and contemporary compositions. Over their long history, they have performed at a multitude of events, including EXPO86, the 2010 Winter Olympics, and for the community at seniors’ centres and many other local gatherings. For the past ten years, they have been under the direction of Artistic Director, Marla Mayson.
The Sybaritic String Band w/ caller Sherry Nevins
The Sybaritic String Band is Vancouver’s premier contradance band. They’ve been kicking off the festival with a Friday night dance in fine style for the past few years and whenever they hit the stage, the dancers know it’s time to get a partner and kick up their heels!
The Sybs, as they're affectionately called, have been making music together for more years than any of them care to remember! They play a mix of traditional Quebecois, Celtic, Appalachian, Klezmer and modern music, including tunes composed by the band members. Their music ranges from high-energy reels and breakdowns to flowing jigs and beautiful waltzes.
Contradancing is a fun and friendly social dance done to a mix of folk music from many traditions. In the hands of The Sybs, everyone wants to join in and have fun. So come hear them at the opening dance on Friday night and don't forget to bring your dancing shoes!
The Sybs are: Rich Sobel (fiddle and peds), Claire McCague (recorder, saxophones), Leith Davis (piano) and Rob MacGregor (mandolin). Sherry Nevins is a promoter of contradancing and a popular and in-demand contradance caller from Seattle.
Métis jigging originated in the Red River area in Manitoba, but BC has its own tradition. It is a unique and exciting combination of First Nations dancing and Scottish and French-Canadian step-dancing, along with reel, jig, quadrille and original tunes and steps. At Festival du Bois, dancers Fergus Dalton and Olivia Lamirande will perform with local fiddlers Kathleen Nisbet and Matthew Cook Contois, and other musicians.
Devon et Louis Léger
Born of a time when family and friends would gather in the warmth of the kitchens of Québec and New Brunswick to play and dance time-honoured tunes together, la famille Léger keeps that rich tradition vitally alive. The Légers play the dancing music of French Canada – the music handed down through generations in the New World, the music of back porches and kitchen parties. Patriarch Louis Léger leads the band on the one-row melodeon (a type of button accordion) and his son Devon plays fiddle. This proudly "old school" family duo will have your own family dancing and joining in on the fun.
With a talented multi-national membership, Podorythmie plays good-time Québécois and Cape Breton fiddle, accordion, and dance music with lots of hard shoe step dancing, lightning fast foot percussion and boundless energy. Watch for their cranky workshop at Mackin House on Sunday!
With her costumes, accessories, puppets and music, the eccentric and charismatic Madame Diva (also known as Jocelyne Baribeau) offers shows that always deliver the wow! A fan of traditional French-Canadian music, Madame Diva shares her love for toe-tapping melodies re-worked into a magical medley for children to discover. Together with her original songs, often composed with children as her assistants, her show is chock-full of engaging music for the young and young-at-heart alike.
A recipient of the prestigious Parents’ Choice Award in the US, she has brought her fun and fabulous show across Canada, to comedy, folk and francophone festivals and gatherings.
Will et Seeka
Will (of "Will’s Jams") and Seeka (of “Seeka Sings") are both nationally recognized and popular musicians and educators who share a passion for music and languages - and for childhood education. Their common understanding of the power of music in teaching languages brought these two remarkable songwriters and parents together during the pandemic to create fun, unique and relevant musical resources to support French language learning. Born into families of educators and musicians, music has been instrumental in helping both artists become fluent in French as their second language. They’re excited to share their upbeat and educational bilingual music for kids with families around the world. Will et Seeka will be premiering their bilingual live show at Festival du Bois!
Edmonton’s Jessica “Seeka” Holtby is a Jamaican-Canadian singer/songwriter, university lecturer of French, and mother of two little boys. Seeka has been involved in the western Canadian music scene for over 15 years, performing in English and French.She has a strong interest in early literacy, learning development and in French as a second language. Seeka’schildren's musical persona, “Seeka Sings,” offers a lively and engaging performance, promoting diversity and early education through a blend of styles, including folk, jazz, Afro-Caribbean, and other genres. In 2021, she was nominated for Children’s Artist of the Year for her debut children’s album, Seriously Singable, at the Western Canadian Music Awards.
Conte d’Afrique avec Mulungie
Actor, singer and storyteller, Véronique exudes enthusiasm and energy. Her eyes sparkle as she recounts her life as a dancer and performer back in Congo – her stories are interlaced with beautiful folk songs. Véronique moved to Canada several years ago. She speaks French, English, Swahili and Lingala fluently. Come see this empowered African woman as she takes you on an engrossing journey to other lands and times.
Over the past decade and a half, JUNO-nominated percussionist Robin Layne has steeped himself in rhythmic traditions around the world. Join him for his interactive musical show designed for young audiences where the students get to join the band and learn how to keep a beat by making music on marimbas and percussion. Robin Layne is a world-renowned performing artist and educator and brings his passion for rhythm and young folks to bear in this high-energy show. The performance features the marimba, the big cousin to the xylophone, and takes kids on a journey around the globe, as it follows Robin on his travels to Cuba, West Africa, Mexico and Colombia.