New venues, new jammers.
Since Whitewater Wednesday moved to the Gold Pan Saloon in the Gold Rush Inn, we’ve been impressed by both the veteran jammers who’ve followed the show to its new stage, and with the new ones just finding it.
Among the most impressive newcomers is Angi Fraser, both in the strength of her voice and her Rendezvous Queen candidate dresses.
“When I take my gloves off, I apologize for showing my skin,” she explains as we sit in Baked Café, while she’s wearing her finery. “It’s very unlady like.
“Wearing a Rendezvous dress actually made it easier up on stage, because I’m kind of a persona. I’m a Rendezvous queen.”
Fraser grew up in Sheet Harbour, Nova Scotia, and Mount Uniacke, near Halifax, where she says, “I used to sing to the seagulls down on the beach and to the little fishies.”
This musical inclination didn’t come from her family. “Except my father who I’ve never heard play,” she explains. “I didn’t meet him until I was nine and didn’t know that he played until last year. I was just this little child who could play and sing all the time.”
In school she took up various instruments – recorder, saxophone, trumpet and trombone – before finally settling on guitar at 14. “I was in choir, too. When I was in Grade 11 and 12, I took a vocal class. But other than that, it’s been a lot of self teaching.”
Then, about three years ago, she decided to move away from Nova Scotia, “to start my own life,” she says. “I literally took out a map and I went, Nova Scotia: the furthest place away from Nova Scotia in Canada is …Whitehorse.”
After leaving the boyfriend she intended to move with, she made her way across the country to the Yukon.
Since settling into the territory, Fraser has made an impression on the music scene. She’s frequented karaoke and jam nights, all in pursuit of an opportunity to sing, in any style.
“Blues, I’m absolutely in love with. Like, I got to play with The Twisters once, like when they had an open jam here about a year or so ago. I hung out with them for a week basically, they taught me a lot about the blues and stuff.”
At the jams, Fraser has been singing a wide range of music, from Johnny Cash to TLC, and, on one occasion, I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing (In Perfect Harmony).
“I was taught that song by a 12-year-old,” she says. “I run a playgroup, and she came over after school. She’s an older kid, and she came over and she wanted to learn how to play guitar. She just picked it up and I learned how to play it. Today, I just had a one and a half year old strumming at my guitar while I was playing, just dancing there with me.”
Angi Fraser was crowned Rendezvous Queen at this year’s festivities. Those of us at Whitewater Wednesday, captured by her charm, her grace and her powerful voice, already knew we were in the presence of royalty.