2006 Festival Artists



Ontario – Acoustic, Folk, Roots

This JUNO winner (Best Roots and Traditional Album) has been an audience favorite, gracing the Mariposa stage every few years with an offering of wonderful new material. The New York Times and Billboard have both sung her praises, and she is renowned for her fine fingerstyle guitar. Lynn’s music is subtle, lyrical and tender, often with more than a trace of melancholy. For a while, she served as a voice teacher at the Ottawa Folklore Center, teaching many students including a then fourteen year old Alanis Morrisette.



At the heart of Feist’s “Let It Die” is that voice. A voice that soars and swoops to breathtaking emotional heights. With a career that spans stints in Esthero and Broken Social Scene, she brings a unique jazzy sensibility to her indie lounge pop solo debut. Featuring both original tunes as well as some reimagined, glossy covers, this charming engenue hits all the right notes. Her latest release, “Open Season” has just come out this year and features remixes and collaberations that have not been previously available.

coin James


Colin James is back in the spotlight. With the release of his tenth album, Limelight – a stunning blend of soul, rhythm and roots – Colin is striking a chord with fans old…and new. Recognized as a guitar virtuoso and a musician of the highest integrity, and with more than a million records sold and six Juno awards, Colin James just keeps getting better and better. With a new album, a new tour and a new sense of artistic discovery, Colin James is ready to step into the limelight again, to build on his reputation as a dazzling performer and musician whose talent continues to shine.



Ron Sexsmith maps the human heart with surgical skill and great compassion. He offers hard-earned pieces of wisdom, all set to strong yet gentle melodies and sung unaffectedly, with emotional eloquence and genuine soul. These are his creative signatures, and they have earned the Toronto-based singer/songwriter immense respect from his peers, critics, and a devoted international audience. Time Being, the tenth release in his formidable catalogue,is another sparkling collection of songs that range in tone from sad to surreal, melancholy to magical.



Natalie MacMaster first picked up a fiddle at the age of nine and has not looked back. The niece of famed Cape Breton fiddler Buddy MacMaster, she quickly became a major talent in her own right. On her latest release Blueprint, Natalie is once again pushing the boundaries of traditional music, fusing her brilliant fiddling with the cream of America’s roots instrumentalist community. Natalie’s live performances are a testament to her incandescent musicianship and boundless energy featuring foot-tapping rave-ups, heart rendering ballads and world-class step dancing.



Three quarters of a quarter of a century ago, something magnificent happened in Kingston, Ontario. Out of a desperate need for musical comedy, The Arrogant Worms was formed. They began by making fun of a big dumb world, and the world is still dumb so they have plenty to sing about. Their show is fast and furious, the satire is biting and the musicianship is second to none. Their appeal has earned fans from kids to parents to grandparents to Princess Leia. Their songs are in school lesson plans, textbooks, and were even played on the Space Shuttle. On earth or in space, everyone digs these Worms.



Some musicians have such an easy grace onstage that it makes their music seem almost effortless–such an artist is Stephen Fearing. This Guelph-based musician with his poetic lyrics, stunning guitar work and smooth baritone voice presents a truly engaging performance. Celebrated as solo artist with four Juno nominations, Stephen is also a founding member of the Juno award-winning Canadian roots band Blackie and the Rodeo Kings. With the release of his eighth masterpiece “Yellowjacket”, it is not difficult to see why Stephen has emerged as one of Canada’s most important singer/songwriters.



With a career spanning three decades, Tom Wilson has put together a body of work that is impressive in both quantity and quality. Well-known from his work with Hamilton rockers Junkhouse, the power-roots of Blackie and the Rodeo Kings and the soulful expressiveness of his own solo work, Tom Wilson has a voice as big as Steeltown itself. The release of his newest album “Dog Years” truly highlights Tom’s talent as a true storyteller and lyricist and emphasizes his unique blend of country, folk, rock and blues.



This celebrated songwriter from Newfoundland is frequently called the man of a thousand songs. His body of work, which includes the folk classic, Sonny’s Dream, has been covered by dozens of artists worldwide including Emmylou Harris, Christy Moore, Mary Black, Denny Doherty, Murray McLauchlan, Valdy, John McDermott, Terry Kelly, Prairie Oyster, The Good Brothers, Shaye, The Cottars and most recently, classical soprano Hayley Westenra. Ron’s moonlight career as an actor has resulted in numerous stage, television and film roles. In 2010, a feature film about Ron’s life, The Man of a Thousand Songs, debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival to sold-out audiences and critical praise.



A widely respected songwriter and performer with nine albums under his belt (two in French), Lennie Gallant’s songs have been recorded by over 30 artists internationally, including Jimmy Buffett. His music is literally out of this world – astronaut Julie Payette shared it with the crew on board the Space Shuttle Endeavour. With hard hitting songs, he chronicles the lives of people dealing with tremendous adversity and serious issues, and at the same time celebrates the beauty of lifestyle and landscape – songs that have appeared in feature films, television series and in numerous theatrical productions. With his intense delivery, Gallant reaches down to the very soul. We think you will be moved and inspired by this truly authentic songsmith.



Often described as alt-country pop, South Australia’s The Audreys feature the smoky vocals of chanteuse Taasha Coates and a line-up of dapper suited boys on banjo and guitars, violin, double bass and drums. Beautiful musicianship and an unbridled enthusiasm for live performance make their shows unforgettable, and their debut album “Between Last Night And Us” was released in February 2006 to outstanding reviews.

spriral beach


Having grown up in the exuberant chaos of the Canadian folk music community, the members of Spiral Beach have spent their formative years hanging around backstage jams at festivals across the country. As a group, these young performers create edgy and inventive pop music that draws inspiration from the Beatles, Talking Heads and Radiohead. Their distinctive sound combines a strong groove with clever harmonies. With two previous EPs to their name, Spiral Beach has just released their new self-titled CD this year.

Joe Grass


Hailing originally from Moncton, Joe began playing the guitar at age 8 and by the time he was 14 could be found performing in venues throughout the province. Possessing a musical breadth steeped in blues, gospel, jazz, bluegrass, traditional East Coast music, and a sound that is beyond his young age, Joe’s music is a blend of evocative song-writing, contemporary finger-style and lap-slide guitar. He has not only shared the stage with the lines of Harry Manx, Jackie Washington and Ken Whiteley, but has also opened for artists such as Kelly Joe Phelps. Recently Joe performed on a 16-date tour of Atlantic Canada with Stuart McLean and the Vinyl Cafe.

wendell furgison


Wendell Ferguson is a self-described buffoon, a fool, a charlatan and a general nuisance, but he can play the guitar (almost like a professional). He’s garnered a suitcase of awards including 9 CCMA Awards and two JUNO nominations. Despite all this he still remains the same unapproachable snob he’s always been. Ferguson now makes his living splitting his time between performing his own hilarious act and being a sideman/session player for everyone and their aunt. He has just released his third cd, “Wendell Ferguson: The $#!T Hits the Fans”.



Cape Breton, Nova Scotia born and raised, Michael Brennan moved from the salt air to Toronto’s smog, settled down, and formed The Wayward Angels. He is the voice of REAL country music in Toronto. “Country” with edge, true stories, and full of honest characters who’ve loved and lost more often than they’ve won. There’s sentiment here, but not much sentimentality. He’s seen too much; this is the sort of guy who’s been there and done that – and survived.

Jane Hawley


A singer/songwriter/musician now living in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, Jane Hawley was born into a musical family in Toronto. After finishing university she headed west, traveling through the Prairies and the Northwest Territories playing honky-tonks, folk festivals, songwriter workshops and rodeo dances. Settling in Edmonton, Jane recorded her first CD “As We Walk on Thin Ice” followed a few years later by “Letters to Myself”. She entered the live-theatre world in 2004, appearing in Theatre Calgary’s musical production of “Fire” and Stage West’s “Covergirl”. Currently she is working on songs and preparing to record her third album.



Andy White is a poet and powerbook-toting troubadour. He grew up in Belfast, surrounded by Irish beauty and terrorist violence. “boy 40” is Andy White’s 12th international release. The album begins with Andy ‘going solo’ with his guitar and ends with him and an orchestra, trying to see God. It is an album about war and peace, about looking for a new home in the sun and searching for spiritual enlightenment. Andy White is a coherent voice in the midst of all the generation txt confusion and “boy 40” touches the heart of our time for those of us facing middle youth, in a world where it is hard to feel fully grown.

Al Simmons


Vaudeville’s half-century run of popularity may have died back in the 1940’s, but don’t try to tell that to Al Simmons, a gifted performer dedicated to combining comedy with song, dance, magic, sight gags and zany one-liners. Reviving the joyful tradition of great comedy kings like Danny Kaye, Spike Jones and Jimmy Durante, Al’s creative genius, quick costume changes, out-of-this-world theatrical gadgets, and peculiar musical instruments, make him a one-man cast of thousands. This modern day comedy chameleon can provoke delighted shrieks from a zombie or roaring belly laughs from an ogre, so tears of laughter from regular folk is a cinch. Guffaw, chuckle, giggle, teehee, sniggle, snort!



Performer and producer, Danny Michel, slips into any genre with ease, spontaneity and disarming sincerity. A true innovator, he is proof that creativity in the digital age can still build a rich, successful and intimate relationship with fans. For his 2011 album, Sunset Sea, Danny challenged fans from around the world to submit their own tracks, and a few of his own parts were replaced by what he considered “better ones”. One of the tracks features a global chorus of fans. In 2008, he made his single, Feather, Fur & Fin, available for his fans to remix, and posted their versions on his website.



The Marigolds consist of three well-established female Canadian artists. Gwen Swick has not only been a member of the folk group Tamarack but also performs in vocal group Quartette with fellow Marigold, Caitlin Hanford. Susie Vinnick is a member of the Toronto songwriter’s collective Betty & the Bobs and the pop trio, Vinnick Sheppard Harte as well as being an established blues artist. Each one of these women has loads of charisma, talent and versatility – together they present a very powerful performance. With angelic harmonies and talent galore, these three ladies are truly captivating.



autorickshaw is a world music ensemble that embodies the essence of new forms of expression that are emerging in Canadian music. Formed in 2003, autorickshaw has swiftly risen to become one of the most intriguing acts on the world music and jazz landscapes. A perfect collision of styles, as contemporary jazz and funk easily rub shoulders with the classical music of India, it thrives on the diverse musical backgrounds and virtuosity of its members



Fresh, unique and inspired…three words you can apply to crossover artist Roxanne Potvin. The 23-year-old singer, guitarist and songwriter from Gatineau, Quebec has released her second album “The Way It Feels,” this year. Produced by Grammy-winning Colin Linden, it is a varied and powerful collection of songs – mostly originals – that range from hard-driving horn-laced R&B like “A Love That’s Simple” to the intimate folk duet with Daniel Lanois “La Merveille”. This vibrant new cd marks the emergence of a bright new artist on the Canadian scene.



Laura likes to describe herself as a singer of “old songs.” That perfectly sums up the eclectic repertoire of standards, blues and western swing that she delivers with such passion and style. Well-known as a co-founder and lead vocalist of the Leslie Spit Treeo, the indie-rock outfit that went from busking on Toronto’s Queen Street to an international record deal, a Juno award and national tours, Laura found her vocal chops ready for a fresh challenge. Backed by Peter Hill’s solid, swinging piano and rich horn arrangements, Laura is revelling in the opportunity to reinterpret classics by some of the singers she most admires, from the classic blues of Bessie Smith to the full-throated ballads of Dinah Washington. These “old songs” have never sounded better.



Lori has been a vibrant presence on Toronto’s singer-songwriter scene for over 10 years. She’s released four albums to date including “Garden Path”, a collection of self-penned, folk-oriented songs and “So Much”, a selection of jazz-based covers with the Ron Davis Trio. Her newest release, “Calling For Rain” is a brilliant recording of both originals and cover tunes by artists such as Gordon Lightfoot, Randy Newman and Bruce Cockburn. With her beautiful voice and her seemingly endless knack for a catchy melody and a subtle but telling lyric, Lori has been steadily building a rapt audience of music-loving fans. Her new album might be ‘calling for rain’ but her path definitely looks bright.

Anne Feeney


Not many women have chosen to walk the path of Woody Guthrie, but Anne Feeney has made a career of it for the past 35 years. A self described “activist, organizer, songwriter, folksinger, troublemaker and hellraiser” from Pittsburgh, her bottomless songbag draws on Irish, bluegrass, traditional, labor, pop, folk and contemporary material. She’s as likely to sing a traditional song or an obscure gem by one of her many friends in the singer/songwriter circuit as she is one of her own award-winning songs.



With the recent resurrection of yesterday’s rock, one of the most interesting arrivals on the scene is songstress Lucie Idlout. Her music is powerful, raw and to the point, drawing on fantasy and primal energy coupled with infectious grooves to make undeniable rock n’ roll. Though she may come from the newest territory, Nunavut, in Canada’s Arctic, she has managed to bust out of the typical stereotypes associated musically with Aboriginal people. She has transcended the barriers of culture and geography to prove that she has more to say on a universal level.



Michael began his musical journey in Arnprior, in the heart of the Ottawa Valley, at an early age by pulling a radio cabinet over on himself while grooving around to Mac Beattie and the Ottawa Valley Melodiers when he was three. His music has been compared to artists like Guy Clark and Townes Van Zandt. “The River I Know” was recorded live off the floor and includes 10 self-penned songs that are direct and understated.

Susan werner


George Gershwin. Cole Porter. Richard Rodgers. The Golden Age of Popular Song. No one can write tunes like that anymore. Or has Susan Werner added a new chapter to the Great American Songbook? “I Can’t Be New”, is Werner’s fourth recording, and while chartering somewhat new territory in style, it offers the same caliber writing that her fans have come to expect. Werner performs 12 original compositions in the songbook style. And in this nod to the composers of standards, she’s breathed brilliant new life into the popular song tradition, one that many thought was a closed book. Susan is not only classically trained with a Masters degree in voice but has a reputation as one of the most compelling live performers on the touring circuit.



Brock Zeman’s third cd, “Brock Zeman and the Dirty Hands” is a stirring collection of material from an emerging Canadian powerhouse. With his gritty story-telling and the energetic musical back-up of his band, Brock’s music has a compelling alt-country sound that makes you want to go tearing down an old dirt road. One listen invites comparison to such giants as John Prine and Steve Earle. He is gifted artist who possesses a rare talent for lyrics, and an engaging voice to deliver them.



Cassava is a group of Latin musicians based in Toronto who perform musical styles and rhythms from many areas of Latin America. The music reflects the colour and flavor of Latin styles such as Salsa, Bolero and Cha-cha-cha from Cuba, Bossa Nova and Samba from Brazil, Cumbia from Colombia and contemporary Latin-Jazz.

Gregg hobbs


Hamilton-born Greg Hobbs has established himself in the folk/roots music scene with honest and entertaining lyrics that bring out the beauty of blue moods and the humour of seemingly dark situations. For the past year, he has been performing as a trio with stellar musicians Darcy Yates (upright bass) and Christine Bougie (guitar and lap steel). On his new CD, Thunder & Dust, Hobbs and his musical collaborators have developed a fresh sound fusing folk and country with even a little hint of jazz. He currently lives in Toronto, where he was named one of the “local must-sees” by the Toronto Star.



The music of Châkidor has a very particular style. It is a blend of folk, country and bluegrass harmonized by a touch of Celtic…a musical universe that is as varied as it is entertaining. They offer you an incredible musical journey that will take you from Irish fiddles to bluegrass, classical to country and Cajun to medieval. It is a high-energy performance coloured with witty humour. There is a francophone folk saying “Oserez-vous réveiller le chat qui dort? – Do you dare waking up a sleeping cat?”. Châkidor has been awakened with performances throughout Quebec, Canada as well as France, Germany, Asia and the United States and has left no one indifferent to their music. With the release of their third album “Exil” followed by a Christmas cd entitled, “Le Coeur Au Fete”, this sleeping cat has yet to sleep.



Sheila Carabine and Amanda Walther formed Dala during the summer of 2002, making use of their talents on guitar and piano. Raised in musical families the girls come by their talents honestly and combined, their vocal range spans from the darkest depths of the scale to undiscovered and frightening heights. “Angels & Thieves” is their newest release and features 5 original tracks including the reflective “20 Something” and 5 cover tunes. Recording songs originally performed by Neil Young, Donovan, The Cure, Blur and Louis Armstrong reflects their highly diverse musical influences.

fig for a kiss


Fig for a Kiss is an exciting new trio with a fresh approach to Celtic music. Their first full-length CD, “Fallen Leaf”, has been getting rave reviews. Their songs and up-beat fiddle tunes (whether original or ancient) have succeeded in fusing folk, classical, pop music and storytelling, with reverence, playfulness and infectious energy. A growing legion of highly diverse fans across Ontario have discovered Fig’s dynamic performances at festivals, concert halls, dance events and schools. They create a captivating listening experience, rich with expression, joyfulness and soul.

stone fox


Stonefox is a band of young enthusiastic writers and musicians. Barbara Johnston and Suzy Wilde have been writing and performing together since childhood and on their travels, picked up Anika Johnson and lead guitarist Mike O’Hara. Occasionally joined by bassist Liam Morin and drummer Andrew Kekewich, Stonefox performs original material, as well as creative arrangements of popular tunes. The group produces a truly unique sound, combining thought provoking lyrics with intricate melody and harmony; drawing influences from folk, country, rock n’ roll and musical theatre.



Nancy Dutra was born and raised in Toronto as the youngest of four children to Portuguese immigrant parents who exposed her to fado, a type of stripped-down bluesy folk music that originated in their homeland. She experimented with playing the organ, recorder and clarinet, and sang in church choirs, but it wasn’t until she was 14 that she found her true musical calling. She has since become an integral member of the Toronto roots and traditional country music community. Dutra’s beautiful voice perfectly complements her soulful songs and gives them a timeless quality. Her songs express spirituality, vulnerability, optimism, romanticism, confusion, confidence and perhaps most notably, the importance of family.



Ten years ago when the Mariposa Folk Festival returned to Orillia after its long journey through Ontario, the first performer to grace our stage was Rama’s own Ron Douglas and his magnificent blues band. Ronnie Douglas, who grew up on the Rama First Nation reserve on Lake Couchiching, not far from the site of Mariposa Folk Festival, has been compared to blues legends like Robert Johnson. He has released two CD`s, the self-titled “The Ronnie Douglas Blues Band” and “Big Brother”, which features blues classics as well as self-penned originals.



Chief Jeff aka Jeff Monague, is an Ojibwe singer/songwriter who is originally from Christian Island but currently resides in Orillia. His album “Reservation Line”, can only be described as Canadian music. Featuring songs about tragedy, loss, and hope from a First Nations perspective, it has been receiving plenty of airplay both regionally and internationally. With thought provoking lyrics, a rich voice, backed by a mournful harmonica Chief Jeff is ready to take the stage.



A dynamic group of accomplished Celtic musicians, the Kempencelts performance on Mariposa’s dance stage is not to be missed. Fiddle players are Cheryl Wilson and Carol Kline. On guitar and bodhran are Chuck MacLeod and Brian Gogarty, and on stand up bass is Peter Cox. Dancing, toe tapping and foot stomping are strongly encouraged, so kick off your shoes and dance up a storm!



Frayed is a band with its musical sensibilities equally rooted in the rock n’ roll of the 1960s & 1970s and the best of modern rock. Combine the raw, high-energy stage performances characteristic of The Faces or The Rolling Stones in their heyday with extended instrumental soloing typical of The Grateful Dead. Throw in the lyrical complexity of some of the 1970s’ finest singer-songwriters with a splash of psychedelia and you’ve got something unique in music today. Frayed manages to fuse these influences, while maintaining a truly original and contemporary sound.

Rita Cox


Rita Cox is an award-winning, master storyteller who has performed across North America, in Europe, Brazil and the Caribbean, on stage, radio and television. She teaches courses, leads workshops and seminars, and performs for adults and children. She has been on the Board of the Storytellers School of Toronto and has served as chairperson. Her stories have appeared in many anthologies and school readers. She tells stories from the Caribbean, Africa and around the world. Rita was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada in 1997 and is a recipient of honourary degrees from York and Wilfred Laurier Universities and of the 1995 Black Achievement Award.



For the past ten years, the francophone singer/songwriter/performer, Jojo, has been creating wonderful children’s entertainment. Earning three awards from “Le gala des prix Trille Or” for best children’s album and best children’s entertainer, she has released 3 recordings and a DVD. Currently, she is touring three shows to delighted audiences. In the show she will perform at Mariposa, Le Camion Rouge, Jojo crisscrosses the paths of fire safety, with Ordi, Mr. Firefighter and Sparky the dog. It’s a musical show, both funny and educational, that will arouse your curiosity. Let’s sing and learn together to save a life.

sunparlour players


The SunParlour Players were formed in late 2004 while recording their first EP, “Mersea” which is based on the township in Southern Ontario where both Andrew Penner and Mark Schachowskoy grew up. They have been close friends since the age of five and are currently recording thier first full length album to be released in 2006. Andrew sings, plays guitar, banjo, bass, an organ pedal, and percussion. Mark sings, plays bass, drums, glockenspiel, accordion, thumb piano, and banjo. Picture a rabid tractor screaming towards a tent revival. Holy plow – look out!



Formed in the summer of 1990, Toronto’s Royal Crowns have been blending rockabilly, jazz, rock and roll, country and surf into a musical genre all their own. Their latest CD “After Dark” is a remarkable example of the Royal Crowns’ rootsy sound. A welcome follow up to their critically acclaimed “32 Miles from Memphis”, it landed them in the Disney channel movie “Mom’s Got a Date with a Vampire” where they performed 3 songs. They’ve been joined on stage by the likes of Angus and Malcom Young of AC-DC, Ron Sexsmith, Russell Decarle & Keith Grass of Prairie Oyster, Greg Keelor and James Gray of Blue Rodeo – just to name a few.



Medieval mystery plays, Punch and Judy shows, African myths, Indonesian shadow puppetry, Native Canadian masks – all these and more have been influencing Clay and Paper Theatre Company since its birth in 1994. This is theatre on the ground, for the groundlings, in the park and on the street. This is theatre of exaggeration, of giant puppetry, of satire and wit gone awry. This is a little theatre company asking big questions with humour and irreverence. This is Clay and Paper Theatre.

lance Anderson


Lance is world renowned as a composer, producer, arranger and band leader. His passion, he admits, is for his Hammond B3 organ. Joining Lance for the salute to Ray Charles’ music is Michael Sloski, Canada’s pre-eminent roots drummer, a Maple Blues Award nominee and someone who has played with artists such as Bruce Cockburn and Mary Margaret O’Hara. John Mays, Shakura S’Aida, Jesse O’Brien and Al Lerman complete the band for our Friday tribute show. John is the lead singer of the Juno award winning band Fathead and has established himself as a premier soul and blues singer. Shakura is a powerhouse vocalist with a spectacular range. Al, who plays sax and harmonica with Fathead, joins this ensemble for an incredible show that features such songs as I’ve Got a Woman, Georgia, What’d I Say, Hit the Road Jack and many others.