“Rachelle van Zanten is our voice, the muse of the North. She writes songs to inspire the wind, give voice to thunder, and fire the hearts of all those fighting to protect the land she loves so dearly,” wrote acclaimed author Wade Davis, in National Geographic Magazine.
After 11 years working in assorted bands, Canadian slide guitarist Rachelle van Zanten released her first solo album, “Back to Francois”, in 2006. It was packed with funky blues riffs and stellar slide performances, but van Zanten juxtaposed her gutsy guitar playing with very personal and introspective lyrics. She attributes this stylistic trait to her diverse influences, including her bluegrass upbringing in the foothills of northern British Columbia. The latest album title, Oh Mother, cleverly combines a few concepts. “Mother” refers first to Mother Earth, the natural landscapes that have repeatedly moved the guitarist to speak out against destructive resource extraction.
It also describes van Zanten herself. She recently became a new mother. And finally, the songstress sadly lost her biggest and most faithful fan, her own mother. “I am the mother now and I need you,” she sings on the title track. “Oh mother, that I laid to rest.” The album is an intense mix of van Zanten’s deep connection to the landscapes of northern BC and her own personal stories of loss, grief, and joy.
A unique and eclectic singer-songwriter, much in the style of Lucinda Williams, Rachelle has performed with Feist, Blue Rodeo, Clarence Gatemouth Brown and Sue Foley. She has supported Indigo Girls, Eagle Eye Cherry and Dar Williams. Rachelle’s recent tour schedule took her through Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, Holland, Belgium, France, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, India and Nepal. We are very pleased to welcome her back to the Bella Coola Music Festival’s stage for an unprecedented third time.
When not touring as musicians, current frontmen and songwriters Brendan McLeod and Adrian Glynn of The Fugitives are active in other artistic pursuits. McLeod is an award winning novelist and former Canadian SLAM poetry champion, while Glynn is a working actor who received rave reviews for his role in Chelsea Hotel, a play based on the songs and poems of Leonard Cohen.
“Despite their all-acoustic lineup, the Fugitives bring enough energy to the stage to light up a small city… The East Van quartet conjures up a sound that’s like the missing link between Leonard Cohen, the Pogues, and the immortal Shorty Shitstain.” (Georgia Staight)
“The Fugitives are capable of achieving dizzying, Arcade Fire-ish crescendos, replete with parallel melodies, complex harmonies and brimming torrents of emotion.” (Uptown Magazine) After eight years of touring Canada and Europe, Vancouver-based indie folk collective, The Fugitives, was just hoping to stay home. So they surprised themselves by trucking three thousand kilometres to Toronto, to record Bigger than Luck, their new EP and precursor to a full-length album out this fall.
The band is eclectic, boasting prominent former members like Mark Berube and CR Avery, and other multi-instrumentalists whose styles range from bluegrass to jazz. Their first full-length album received a Canadian Folk Music Award nomination for “Pushing the Boundaries” of contemporary roots music, and their follow-up was praised for being “eclectic and exciting” “poignant” and “infectious.”
They’ve gone on to sell out shows at venues as diverse as the Vienna Literary Festival, the Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival, and the Vancouver Jazz Festival, while maintaining a frequent spot on the Canadian folk festival circuit. As McLeod puts it, “We’re like Broken Social Scene. But acoustic, and way less famous.”