Five Major Western Canadian Folk Festivals Announce Live Canadian Songbook Project

Five Major Western Canadian Folk Festivals Announce Live Canadian Songbook Project

We have teamed up with Vancouver, Calgary, Canmore, and Regina folk festivals this summer to curate an inspiring live touring collaborative project called Canada Far & Wide: Grands Esprits, celebrating a Canadian songbook.

"The songs chosen celebrate diverse genres, cultures, regions, traditions and generations. Plus, we included key compositions by Canadian trailblazers like Joni Mitchell, Hank Snow, Buffy Sainte-Marie and Leonard Cohen. But, we really wanted to mess with genres and perspectives with these songs, and bring them into new forms while celebrating their narratives and history," explains Artistic Director Kerry Clarke from the Calgary Folk Music Festival on behalf of the festivals involved.

Anchored by Cree cellist Cris Derksen Trio, former A Tribe Called Red member and electric pow-wow artist DJ Shub and Quebec's Mélisande (électrotrad), most of this main touring group will be performing along with guest artists each weekend from July 5 - August 13, 2017. 

Our workshop here in Winnipeg will be rounded off with additional interpretations of the Canadian songbook by Canadian artists: Old Man LuedeckeDiyetCécile Doo-Kingué and Charlotte Cardin on Bur Oak stage Saturday, July 8 at 2:15 PM. The denouement of our show is a beautiful shared moment - an audience sing-along of well-loved songs - lead by Choir! Choir! Choir!

Some of the songs you’ll hear in this workshop include:

  • DJ Shub performing Buffy Sainte-Marie’s “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee”
  • Feist’s “1,2,3,4” performed by Charlotte Cardin
  • Mélisande [électrotrad] performing Madame Bolduc’s “Les Américains”
  • Cris Derksen Trio performing Joni Mitchell’s “Wish I Had a River”
  • “Closing Time” by Leonard Cohen performed by Old Man Luedecke and many more.

"We're going to present some of these new curations using the traditional Canadian folk festival workshop format - something that our festival-goers love as it often creates vibrant and unforgettable musical moments for the crowd to enjoy," explains Artistic Director Chris Frayer of Winnipeg Folk Festival.

Canada Far & Wide: Grands Esprits is curated with a focus on a diversity of voices and artistry while putting the focus on all of Canada's history, both positive and challenging. Indigenous songwriters have contributed key songs to the songbook and Indigenous artists are integral to the live performance of the project. Through the power of the songs and the magic of music festivals this project invites us all to come together in a more positive way to create a better, more inclusive, Canada.

The five western festivals behind this project are part of a unique Canadian festival model that has been celebrated since 1961. These outdoor, not-for-profit, community-based events with great artist hospitality and a unique programming format have earned a glowing reputation for programming that supports diverse music. They form an integral part of the Canadian summer music tradition in Canada's western provinces. 


This is one of the 200 exceptional projects funded through the Canada Council for the Arts' New Chapter initiative. With this $35M initiative, the Council supports the creation and sharing of the arts in communities across Canada.


#cdnsongbook, canada council for the arts, cécile doo-kingué, charlotte cardin, cris derksen trio, diyet, dj shub, mélisande, new chapter, old man luedecke

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Schedules for the 2017 Winnipeg Folk Fest are out NOW!

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The 2018 Winnipeg Folk Fest takes place at Birds Hill Provincial Park, July 5-8.