Emm Gryner

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Emm Gryner talks Torrential

The Ontario singer/songwriter on her new album, Commander Chris Hadfield and David Bowie. By Shawn Conner.

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Vancouver Folk Music Festival 2009

Mavis Staples at the Vancouver Folk Music Festival 2009 photo

Mavis Staples at the Vancouver Folk Music Festival 2009. Jessica Bardosh photo

Review and photos – Mavis Staples and more at the 2009 Vancouver Folk Music Festival

- by Shawn Conner/photos by Jessica Bardosh

Saturday, July 18: After a lifetime of being dry, like some Mennonite town in the midwest, the Vancouver Folk Music Festival has joined the rest of the 21st century by adding – wait for it – a beer garden. Hey folk festival, don’t embrace the Industrial Revolution too soon. Not only that, but the beer – Big Rock – is actually decent, and the price, $5 per, not too wallet-damaging.

It’s also located a breeze away from the water on one side and viewing distance of the main stage from the south. After watching a lovely hour-long set of pop-folk by autoharp enthusiast Basia Bulat and her band, we made a bee-line for this latest addition, where we were within earshot of a solo set by former Barenaked Lady Steven Page.

Somewhere around this time, Jessica Bardosh started taking pictures.

Sunday July 19: We arrived in time for the beginning of the set by the Bop Ensemble. Because of the name, I was hoping for something high-energy and exotic. Instead, it was a guy who used to be my neighbour and covers of Bob Dylan songs.

Actually, the trio – two grizzled vets, Wyckham Porteous and Bill Bourne, along with a young lean female bass player named Jas, from Alberta – sounded fine, if typically folky, and the Dylan cover, “Buckets of Rain”, was beautifully done.

Still, I wanted something more. Instead we found ourselves at a workshop called, “A Wise Woman Once Told Me.”

Now, if you’ve been to folk festivals, you know the workshops can be pretty hit-or-miss. Once in awhile, a disparate or like-minded group of musicians who might otherwise never play together hit on magic. Most times, though, it’s a grab-bag of half-decent and self-indulgent.

The idea behind A Wise Woman was to take a bunch of female singer/songwriters and have them do a song along the lines of wisdom gleaned from other chicks. No, not Carrie Bradshaw, but grandmothers, sisters, dental hygienists.

Vancouver Folk Music Festival 2009 audience photo

Vancouver Folk Music Festival 2009. Jessica Bardosh photo

Anyway, no surprise here, everyone just basically did their own thing and tried to tie it in with the theme. Actually, there were some wise words in Cheryl Wheeler‘s tune about empathy, but another song by one of the other singers just went on and on to the point where I thought the arms were going to fall off the person doing the sign language (yes, it was that kind of workshop).

But the 20 minutes or so we were there was well spent, because I discovered dub poet D’bi Young. Now, I can’t vouch for the originality of her sentiments contained in her social-issue discourses, or point to any particular insight that can’t be gleaned from the op-ed page or a decent documentary, but this woman can put words together and is an outrageously dynamic performer. I literally could not take my eyes off her long enough to refill my cup of vodka lemonade.

After a little more time in the beer garden, I zoned out for a bit to the chill Pacifika sound system. The Vancouver trio basically sounds like it could easily fit on one of those Cafe del Mar compilations, which by this time of the day was high praise indeed.

Pacificka at the Vancouver Folk Music Festival 2009 photo

Pacificka at the Vancouver Folk Music Festival 2009. Shawn Conner photo

More 2009 Vancouver Folk Music Festival photos:

Vancouver Folk Music Festival 2009 audience photo 2

Vancouver Folk Music Festival 2009. Jessica Bardosh photo

Vancouver Folk Music Festival 2009 photo

Vancouver Folk Music Festival 2009. Jessica Bardosh photo

Mimes at the Vancouver Folk Music Festival 2009 photo

Mimes at the Vancouver Folk Music Festival 2009. Jessica Bardosh photo

Mimes at the Vancouver Folk Music Festival 2009 photo

Jessica Bardosh photo

Vancouver Folk Music Festival 2009 photo

Vancouver Folk Music Festival 2009. Jessica Bardosh photo

Vancouver Folk Music Festival 2009 photo

Vancouver Folk Music Festival 2009. Jessica Bardosh photo

Losa Bajo at the Vancouver Folk Music Festival photo

Losa Bajo at the Vancouver Folk Music Festival 2009. Jessica Bardosh photo

Losa Bajo photo Vancouver Folk Festival 2009

Losa Bajo at the Vancouver Folk Festival 2009. Jessica Bardosh photo

Mavis Staples at the Vancouver Folk Music Festival 2009 photo

Mavis Staples at the Vancouver Folk Music Festival 2009. Jessica Bardosh photo

Mavis Staples at the Vancouver Folk Music Festival 2009 photo

One response to “Vancouver Folk Music Festival 2009

  1. 5 years ago  

    I like your laid back approach to guttersnipe!
    Thought I would send you a link back to my blog with photos from the festival and other cool cultural events in Vancouver.

    Kind Regards,

    http://www.dbphotoandfilm.com/blog/

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