Andrea Burgoyne has only been in Whitehorse since August, but she’s already made her mark here.
She’s worked as the theatre programming intern at the Yukon Arts Centre, produced the last Longest Night concert and thrilled the crowd at Flipper’s Pub with her performances at Whitewater Wednesday Jam Night, with her wild guitar strumming and a voice like Ani DiFranco.
Originally from Penticton, BC, Burgoyne learned to play guitar when a friend taught her some power chords.
Later, she played saxophone in her high school jazz band. At the same time, she played sax in a ska band, Odd One Out.
“We had T-shirts, a lo-fi CD and everything,” she says, reminiscing on her early successes. “I’ve been asked to play sax in ska band here, but I haven’t played saxophone in years.”
Later, she joined an indie rock trio.”We were called ‘All Your Base’, after the “All your base are belong to us” Internet phenomenon.
“We did a few mini-tours around the Vancouver area,” she says, then recalling with a smile, “My guitar has a lot of scratches on the back from studded belts I wore at shows, but it’s held its own.”
Burgoyne’s dedication to music at the time shows in her lifestyle. While at university, she was straight edge.
“It’s probably the opposite of most people’s university experience,” she explains with a laugh.
“We’d go to bars to watch the bands, not to drink. It gave me a clarity of mind and I’d found euphoria through other ways. It was amazing the way music did that for me. I didn’t feel I needed anything else.”
After the band broke up, Burgoyne hasn’t had the opportunity to play as much, although coming North seems to have changed that.
“Since then, I’ve done a little bit of open mike stuff. I probably play more now than in the last two years. I’ve even written something new.
“I’m stoked on the Yukon. I’ve never really worked on the business side of music or theatre before. My internship runs out in April, but I hope I can find some way to stay.”
Burgoyne is amazed by how accepting the Yukon has been to musicians like herself: “People do stuff here, support stuff here. Not lost in small town. People can be creative and make new stuff. There’s even a place for my own self-destructive stuff.
“Who cares if you suck, like my playing probably, people still appreciate it.”
Although she’s become a hit at Whitewater Wednesday, Burgoyne is still modest about her own talents.
“I found I couldn’t perform on my own, it was hard in Penticton. It wasn’t as supportive a place as this is. I’d be a good rhythm guitarist, lots of singers are.
“It would be fun to sing in a band. I’m just glad I play well enough to sing.
Five things you should know about Andrea Burgoyne:
She used to have red and white dreads.
She’s been to five continents.
She used to play acoustic guitar with distortion pedal through a keyboard amp, playing metal licks that her bass player would double.
She doesn’t drink coffee or eat meat. “Except maybe free range turkey on holidays – I’m an ethical vegetarian.”
She likes emo, indie rock music like Jets to Brazil, Alkaline Trio, Dashboard Confessional.