Circus Kalabanté bring a dazzling display of skill and physical agility to the 28th Annual Roots and Blues Festival, August 13-16. (Contributed)

Chilliwack on the map for Salmon Arm Roots and Blues

Canadian music legends confirmed for 28th annual music festival

Barb Brouwer

Contributor

If the winter weather is getting you down, dream instead of blue skies, warm temperatures and music that sizzles.

Artistic director Peter North has announced five more acts that in just over 200 days will perform in the 28th Annual Roots and Blues Festival: Chilliwack, Lula Wiles, John York, Kevin Dempsey and Circus Kalabanté.

Rising out of the ashes of psychedelia in 1969, Canada’s legendary Chilliwack released 12 albums over a 15-year period, producing numerous hits that garnered 15 gold and platinum certifications, a host of awards and successful concerts and TV appearances.

“Chilliwack is celebrating their 50th year as led by Bill Henderson,” said North.

“They’ll play some of their hits but also focus on some of their more roots-oriented music from their days as The Collectors and early Chilliwack.”

Like Chilliwack, Kalabanté will make a Main Stage appearance on Saturday night.

Circus Kalabanté Productions’ Afrique En Cirque show features daring acrobats performing authentic and original choreography and acrobatics, accompanied by the pulsating rhythm of the djembes of Guinea.

“I saw Kalabanté at a children’s festival last year and the dancers make all these human sculptures accompanied by percussion and the kora,” said North, noting the group will perform after dark when the lighting will enhance their impressive and inspiring act. “They are the most magnificent human beings you’ve ever seen – stunningly beautiful!”

Also added to the lineup is John York, a singer, composer, guitarist, and former member of The Byrds, who has played with the Sir Douglas Quintet (with Dr. John,) The Mamas and The Papas, Johnny Rivers and Lightning Hopkins.

“John York was a member of The Byrds on their Ballad of Easy Rider and Live at the Fillmore recordings,” North said, noting the talented musician is known for great 12-string guitar play and is a strong songwriter. “His vocals play somewhere between Roger McGuinn of the Byrds and Bob Dylan, and he’ll play the Barn with a band from Alberta that he worked with last year.”

Next up is Lula Wiles, an all-female trio that includes Isa Burke, Eleanor Buckland and Mali Obomsawin.

Their sophomore album What Will We Do? was intended to reflect on what people are worried about, confiding in their friends about and losing sleep about.

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“They’re cheeky, funny and political and they sort of pull together an old-time bluegrass thing that’s really engaging,” said North with enthusiasm.

“They’re on Smithsonian Folkways Records and making a name for themselves pretty quickly, so I wanted to get them before they start getting even busier.”

Last, but by no means least in North’s latest festival artist release, is a man with music in his soul.

Kevin Dempsey’s multi-faceted career is testament to his talent as a guitarist, singer, songwriter and record producer.

“He has a very strong resume having played with Fairport Convention and Steel Eye Span,” raved North.

“He’s one of those guys who’s great at workshops and will fit right in with other Celtic acts.”

These notable artists join previously announced Corb Lund, Celtic instrumental band Lunasa, Gypsy blues duo Blue Moon Marquee, Nashville’s Sam Lewis and the BC World collective.

Salmon Arm Roots and Blues is currently offering holiday pricing for the festival – a discount of between $10 and $20 on earlybird pricing – until Jan. 31. For tickets, go too www.rootsandblues.ca or call 250-833-4096.

If you are interested in the Salmon Arm Folk Music Society which hosts the festival, attend the society’s annual general meeting Wednesday, Jan. 29, 7 p.m., at the Comfort Inn.

Society members and the public are invited to attend, but only members may vote in the elections to be held during the meeting. Memberships are $10 and available on the website or by calling the society office.

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Canadian music legends Chilliwack will be playing the Main Stage at the 28th Annual Roots and Blues Festival, August 13-16. (Contributed)

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