Raleigh and Jessica Moss
with nêhiyawak, FOONYAP, Begonia, Amythyst Kiah and Ndidi O
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From the Promoter
Percolate vocal harmonies, deft instrumentals, and subtle time signature changes are what filter into the superb arrangements of the hallmark Calgary trio Raleigh. With intricate refrains woven by cello, piano, and guitar, Raleigh are as much ear candy as head candy - thoughtful and emotive, restrained, but utterly engaging. Unafraid of both straight-up pop hooks, folk traditions and complex song structure, this is a band uniquely shaping their own space in new music. Raleigh's lush composition draws on the finer elements of earthy folk, chamber pop and art-damaged indie rock, with delicate melodies that hold the whole thing together, resulting in a sound that has been described as "a more thoughtful, elegant indie", and "dynamic, quirky folk." Having cut their teeth in diverse acts including Woodpigeon and the Dudes, this trio stems from a lofty lineage. Both boisterous and rock solid, Raleigh will relentlessly capture your affections with their boundless grace.
Since the conception of theband in 2010, Raleigh has toured Canada a handful of times with highlight performances including the Calgary Folk Fest, Salmon Arm Roots& Blues Festival, NXNE, Sled Island, and Breakout West, as well as opening slots for Dan Mangan, the Books, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Cold Specks, Snowblink, and AroarA.
Moss is an essential Japanese gardening component long symbolizing tranquility, tradition and history. More recently, Western science has proven one particular strain of it has the capacity to repair DNA (repeat: repair DNA!). How apropos that violinist Moss shares her name with this fascinating life form. She creates intriguing, sonic meditations with her violin and an arsenal of well-chosen effects, unprogrammed samples, spare vocalization and a couple of tube amps. The result: stunning. Her compositions evoke impressions: ancient underground rivers, glimpses of collective consciousness, pools of light reflecting a world vacillating between desolation and hope. She was a contributor to the big sounds of influential artists Arcade Fire and Broken Social Scene but Moss has no problems being the sole emissary of her unique sonic vision. Moss is a quiet gardener who has thoughtfully curated every secret space, leaving just enough room to allow magic to materialize.
Sweeping, like the wind blowing across the northern prairies; grand, like a solemn ceremony — the emotional indie-rock of nêhiyawak is perfectly situated in the place of its origin. It’s modern while retaining roots in music far older than rock ‘n’ roll, and it’s 100 percent home-grown.
Drummer Marek Tyler and guitarist-songwriter Kris Harper are cousins from the Onion Lake Cree Nation on the Alberta-Saskatchewan border north of Lloydminster. Along with bassist Matthew Cardinal, they are veterans of the Edmonton and national indie rock scene; the three have played in Diamond Mind, Meatdraw, Pale Moon Lights, and Kathryn Calder’s band, among others. Now, with nêhiyawak, these young indigenous musicians have created a special alchemy.
nêhiyawak , pronounced neh-HEE-o-wuk, is the Crees’ eponym. Naming your band after your nation is a big, bold move, but nêhiyawak is up to the challenge. By taking a traditional approach to their process — requesting permission to play in other cities or going to a sweat lodge to inform their creative decisions — they’re infusing their modern, urban aesthetic with the deep cultural memories and traditions of their forebearers. As a result, resonating synth tones and edgy guitar riffs sound completely at home with the pulsing, organic sounds of cedar wood noisemakers and hand drums. Tyler sums up their bridgemaking perfectly when he says “This is nêhiyawak — where culture meets chord, melody and rhythm.”
FOONYAP is a mesmer. A one-woman weaver of hypnotic loops and dynamic vocals that magnetically draw bug-eyed listeners into a sticky, wondrous web of sound. A Calgary native, the coloured pins on her musical map mark violin lessons at age four, Mount Royal Conservatory of Music training at eleven, collaborations with Woodpigeon and other highly regarded musical entities as an adult, and forks in roads where her Chinese heritage and classical music training branch out into unfamiliar electronic territories that beg further exploration. For all her insatiable curiosity, FOONYAP has only more pointed questions and an ever-larger collection of specimens to scrutinize. Hers is a lifelong expedition to find the centre of her multi-faceted, musical soul.
Out of 1,800+ varieties, there’s only one Begonia native to Winnipeg that unabashedly blooms in any environment and can outsing songbirds. Born Alexis Dirks, her rich, mellifluous voice can be heard clearly amongst those textured, ambitious vocals that defined her former band Chic Gamine’s catchy, Juno Award-winning sound. Begonia’s music is a synthesis of the Motown, soul and gospel that’s woven into her musical DNA, with an intuitive ear for melody. She’ll draw you in with catchy hooks and impressive vocals, but prepare yourself to fall hard for Begonia’s intimate moments, underscored by stripped down instrumentation with a quiet confidence that’s a velvety, veritable quicksand.
Amythyst Kiah is a rare gem: an old soul in the body of a young Southern Appalachian gothic, banjo-wielding, guitar-slinging, genre-crossing upstart. She is past and present: Elizabeth Cotten, Loretta Lynn and Mahalia Jackson propping open the stage door long enough to usher in Tracy Chapman, Yola Carter and Janelle Monae. Western, blues, old-time, alt-country, singer/songwriter: Kiah is spiritually tethered to these artforms. Out of Kiah’s conduit of influences flows music that is an innovation; an updated reinterpretation that refuses to be a facsimile. Her delivery is raw but not unpolished. She is not afraid to wield her voice like a weapon. Hers is the voice of a new, fearless generation of song miner, staking out her claim with fiery lyrics and hair-raising foot stompers.