Basia Bulat is returning to the Yukon. Bulat is a multi-instrumentalist – she plays guitar,
autoharp, banjo, ukulele, charango, hammered dulcimer, saxophone and flute – and has a powerful voice.
She comes by her musical interests naturally, having a mother who was a music teacher who taught both piano and guitar. She has said the family radio was permanently tuned to an “oldies” station, so much so that she didn’t realize there were other stations until she was in her early teens.
She was originally known in particular for performing in a folk style with an autoharp, but her more recent preferences, based on viewing the live concerts and studio performances on the CBC radio show Q (all available on YouTube) show her more likely to be playing guitars, ukuleles, or keyboards and backed by a full rhythm and lead section.
She has a commanding voice and her stage presence is obvious in the videos.
She began performing while getting a degree in English at the University of Western Ontario, where she was encouraged to take to the stage. She released her first EP in 2005 when she was 21. She was on stage at the Dawson City Music Festival following the release of her first full album, Oh, My Darling, in 2007.
Her third album was nominated for a Juno Award and was shortlisted for the Polaris Music Prize. In February she released her fourth album, called Good Advice, which was also nominated for a Polaris Prize.
The Montreal based singer-songwriter hit the festival circuit with her band last summer and has been touring steadily in support of Good Advice.
Her musical style seems to cross a lot of genres, and her recent tour schedules have seen her featured at every type of festival from folk to jazz.
She last visited the territory for the Dawson City Music Festival in 2008, a trip she subsequently credited with having a tremendous influence on the writing of her second album, Heart of My Own, including the addition of a song called “Gold Rush.”
“You saw the light of gold and rushed
“You said you couldn’t fight it off
“This is the story of the one you lost…”
Her busy schedule will see her in Dawson City, in the KIAC (Odd Fellows Hall) Ballroom for a solo performance on Oct. 15, and in Whitehorse at The Old Fire Hall, on Oct. 17. These are the last stops on a western tour before she heads for more dates on the east coast and central Canada.
This tour, which began on Sept. 24 in Ontario and will end in Quebec on Dec. 2, will see her in nine provinces and the Yukon before she’s done.