Bringing together musical genres from around the world, Folk on the Rocks announced their first wave of artists set to join the summer festival this year.

The annual folk festival released the names of 11 musicians Friday, including Juno-award winners Wintersleep.

With six albums already released, a Yellowknife audience may hear some fresh new tunes from their latest CD, In the Land of, set to be released March 29.

“A lot of the songs touch on this idea of being a stranger or feeling foreign in all the different landscapes in which the songs took place lyrically,” said vocalist Paul Murphy in a press release.

The album is a reflection of geography and how individual’s identities can be attached to it. In the Land of is already expected to be one of the most anticipated albums of 2019, according to Exclaim! and CBC Music.

Colombian-Canadian singer, Lido Pimienta, is also a big name set to grace the Folk stage this summer.

“She’s quite a highlight for us,” said Carly McFadden, Folk on the Rocks executive producer. “She’s outspoken and all about women’s rights. She’s a fantastic musician and will have everyone up and dancing.”

Originally hailing from Barranquilla, Pimienta performs a mix of electro-pop and Columbian rhythms.

She rose to prominence in 2017, after winning a Polaris Music Prize for her album La Papessa.

While McFadden said there will be significantly more world music at this year’s festival, 100 per cent of the musicians are Canadian, as it has been for the last three years.

She also noted the equal mix of genders presented at the festival.

“Last year we were 77 per cent female fronted when it came to performers,” she said. “But now … the goal is we’re moving toward equal representation.”

Another band McFadden is particularly excited to showcase this year is Whitehorse’s Soda Pony.

“Those guys are pretty incredible,” noted McFadden.

The duo impressively switch between instruments and vocals; while Patrick Hamilton plays both the drums and bass synthesizer (playing one with each hand), Aiden Tentrees plays the organ and electric guitar.

The two wind humour into each track that do anything but romanticize the North and often pokes fun of small town life.

In their song Motel 6, on Soda Pony’s second album, Sophomore, they sing about hanging out at Walmart. “I see you shopping there all the time. I see your kids had some kids, I wonder what happened to mine,” they sing.

Differing from Soda Pony’s alternative rock is duo Snotty Nose Rez Kids – an Indigenous hip hop group, hailing from B.C.

With just two albums released, both in 2017, the musicians are already doing well for themselves.

Their album, The Average Savage, was shortlisted for the 2018 Polaris Music Prize.

Further still, the duo were nominated in 2019 for Best Hip Hop Album at the Indigenous Music Awards, as well as for Indigenous Artist of the Year at the Western Canadian Music Awards.

Folk on the Rocks will announce more of its lineup within the next couple of weeks – although the exact dates are to be kept a surprise until then, said McFadden.

This year’s folk festival is set to take place July 12 to 14.


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