Since its successful debut concert by roots reggae veteran Clinton Fearon on March 30, the Yukon Reggae Council has been hard at work to bring more reggae and world music artists to the territory. We are pleased to present Vancouver Island-based Shane Philip, an award-winning multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter and didgeridoo extraordinaire, on May 17 in Whitehorse and an all-ages show on May 18 in Haines Junction.

The influence of reggae is present in Philip’s music and energy. He established his link to the genre over the years by gracing the lineup of Victoria SkaFest and opening for the likes of reggae legends The Wailers and Toots and the Maytals.

“I’ve listened to reggae all my life,” Philip says. “It’s really easy for me to connect to. Most of my songs are inspired by human nature and mother earth, it’s actually challenging sometimes to not fall into a reggae groove. I seem to have a reggae version of every song I do these days and that has been coming out more and more during live performances.”

Since 2005 he has been tirelessly touring songs that cross genres from folk, blues and reggae to tribal rhythms and dance music. But he has never made it up to Yukon, so it was an easy decision.

“I see Yukon as full of people who love life, a bit eccentric in a good way,” he says. “The place really appeals to me so I jumped at the opportunity. I think people there will be able to relate well to the nature element of my music.”

He is just one person, but his sound is like that of a full band. Philip, however, does not usually describe himself as a one-man band.

“The one-man band thing sounds like a kind of novelty act, when I see myself as a more of a conventional singer-songwriter,” he says. “I just happen to use every limb.”

This talent was developed by growing up in rural Ontario where other musicians were just too far away.

“When I wanted to create a certain sound with more instruments I did it myself,” Philip says.

Philip recently won Best Live Act at the Vancouver Island Music Awards. He has released four studio albums and is currently working on a fifth. He consistently charts on community radio stations across Canada and his songs are featured regularly on CBC radio.

Philip’s shows will be complimented by DJ music keep the dance floor hopping before, between and after his sets. That job falls on me, as Rebel Selector. Philip and I go back several years collaborating on shows together, and as Rebel Selector I like to play a mix of reggae, dancehall, and Latin American music.

Shane Philip performs Friday, May 17 at the Jarvis Street Saloon in Whitehorse. Doors open at 9 p.m. and the show starts at 10 p.m.

He performs on May 18th at the St. Elias Convention Centre in Haines Junction. Tickets are for sale at the door, but it’s free for kids 12 and under. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the show starts at 7 p.m.

More information can be found on the Yukon Reggae Council’s Facebook page.

Simon Schachner, a.k.a. Rebel Selector, is co-founder of Yukon Reggae Council.