Music Yukon

Goodbye, Smith House

Music Yukon has been forced to seriously rethink its future and make plans to stay afloat in a changing industry and economy. One of those changes includes moving out of the Smith House, the little blue house in Lepage Park that Music Yukon has called home for nearly a decade.

BreakOut West (BOW)

Break on through

Major Funk and the Employment will bring their funky dance music that Yukoners know to BreakOut West this October   With the emergence of streaming services, social media and new technology redefining challenges in the musical industry, how does an emerging musician advance their career past the local scene and into touring stardom? That’s the …

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48-Hour Music Video Challenge

48 hours of music and film

From Friday, August 24 until Sunday, August 26, musicians and filmmakers are invited and encouraged to take part in the creation of a music video that will be completed in only two days.

Battle of the Bands

The sounds of the next generation

The annual BYTE Battle of the Bands, which will feature up to 10 groups, has been taking place for over a decade and has teamed up for the second year with Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous as an affiliated event at Shipyards Park.

From the North to the South

We deserve a pat on the back. That’s part of the point of From the North says Kim Winnicky, executive producer of the arts performance and show, a Canada 150 project being produced by Music Yukon. “We (in the territories) don’t often get a chance to celebrate ourselves.” Beginning this month, the show’s all-northern team …

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Setting Forth for New Frontiers

Yukon musician Jona Barr is pumped. He’s going to Germany – and he’s going to be playing his first set outside of Canada. “I’ve traveled to a few upper American states while touring Canada, but this is my first international festival,” says the Old Cabin frontman. “It’s surreal being 30-years-old and never having been somewhere …

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Battle of the Bands

This Rendezvous, The Battle of the Bands is going down, bringing together youth bands from across the territory to battle for top dog honors of the Yukon Music scene. BOTB is presented each year by Bringing Youth Toward Equality (BYTE), and this year for the first time, in conjunction with Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous. “They are …

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A Music Scene Darling

The music scene in Whitehorse is really something. Full of fresh, creative musical sounds that come straight from the heart and soul of artists who discovered their own voices inside the warmth of their homes in the dead of winter. The diving board for many of these discoveries is Peggy Hanifan and her Wednesday open …

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Polaris goes Polar

Music-industry types mingled with arts funders and a few musicians at the Yukon Transportation Museum on June 15 for a different kind of brown-bag lunch event – a team from the Polaris Music Prize was in town to announce its long-list of 40 candidates for this year’s win. The prize aims to recognize “artists who …

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Into the Fire

Steve Maddock owes at least part of his resumé to the bad judgment of another singer. In 1998, the crooner/actor/voice teacher from Burnaby, B.C., got an unexpected call from a cruise ship line, asking him to fill in for its previous male vocalist, who had been fired for having marijuana in his cabin. “I kind …

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Good Music for Good Causes

November 7 turned out to be an incredibly busy evening for anyone involved in community events in Dawson. There was the closing banquet for the Youth Art Enrichment program, which I mentioned here a few weeks ago. There was an outdoor art installation on the dyke and waterfront called The Deep Dark, involving contrasts of …

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Folks Rocking the Blues with Soul

Whitehorse-resident Selina Heyligers-Hare, or as she’s billed in the upcoming Blue Feather Music Festival, Selina H., is only 18 years old. She just graduated from high school. However, she has 13 years of experience making music and can hold her own on a big stage. When Heyligers-Hare was five years old she started playing the …

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Blue Feather Turns 15

Gary Bailie has taken a personal tragedy and turned it into the fuel that powers him to produce the popular Blue Feather Music Festival. Now in its 15th year the annual music event was never meant to be the large-scale music festival it has become. It initially began as a celebration of life for Bailie’s …

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Riffs through the Wilderness

Brenda Berezan was an aspiring songwriter when she moved to the Yukon wilderness. Having taken a break from music to run a business and raise her family, she has recently returned to performing and recording. She’s now releasing her second album, called Blue Through the Trees. It’s an indie-folk album that veers away from her …

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Taking His Music Around the World

Homegrown singer-songwriter Gordie Tentrees is releasing his sixth album, Less is More, with a Northern tour this month. Tentrees is playing in Skagway, Dawson City,Keno City, and two shows in Whitehorse. This Northern tour follows his recent tours through British Columbia, the United States and Australia. In the next six months he plans to tour …

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Ready to Rock the North

The Midnight Sons Band is fresh off a tour and ready to rock. On Saturday, October 3, the band is presenting – and performing at – Rock the North, which is an all-ages dance at the Yukon Convention Centre featuring the rockabilly/psychobilly band Ryan McNally and his Red Hot Ramblers, and Victoria bluesman Jesse Roper. …

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Homegrown Hip Hop

Jonathan Steel, known by his nom-de-rap MC TurMoiL, has released his first CD, Black and Green. He’s also released a video for the album’s hit track, “Mr. Myagi.” I must approach this review with caution, since despite Steel being a friend of mine, his brand of music isn’t. This is entirely my fault: I suffer …

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Wanted down south

Summer may be drawing to a close, but there is still a great music festival that you can catch. Taking place in Victoria, B.C., the Breakout West festival takes place Sept. 17-20. The festival has been going for 13 years strong. It started as the Western Canadian Music Awards. Now the performances have broken away …

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Rambling North for the Dawson City Music Festival

The Slocan Ramblers often get asked how it happens that four lads who live in Toronto came to be interested in bluegrass music. Bass player Alastair Whitehead says there’s a fairly vibrant bluegrass scene in Toronto and even a lot of interest in really old time bluegrass. “There’s been a weekly gathering with groups at …

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Yukon’s Own Kitten Puppy Delivers the DIY Goods

Type Thing — available on the Bandcamp website — is a full length, home-recorded, independent rock n’ roll record by the artist known as Kitten Puppy, who I believe to be Whitehorse mailman Tom Pritchard. It is the sophomore release for this one-man band and improves upon his first album, Good, You?, with surprising lyrical …

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“When You See Vinyl, You Talk About It”

Playing a show to open for a musician is a first for Whitehorse bornand-raised Patrick Hamilton. Hamilton says, “I’ve been a professional musician since I was 18,” and he means that he’s been very involved in multiple music projects since that time. He’s a member of the band Soda Pony, and he co-owns Hamilton Guitars …

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Pirate Rock

Paris Seymour, better known by her stage name Paris Vagabond Gypsy, is one of a kind. In the year-and-ahalf since the pirate-costumed, bass-playing, ukulele-strumming, singer-songwriter (and one-time burlesque dancer) arrived in the Yukon, she’s formed the Ukes of Hazard and is releasing her first full-length album, Mine to Creep. Born in Vancouver but raised in …

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Full Circle

On June 12, the Yukon’s annual bluegrass bash is heading back to Kluane Country, where it all began. After a three-year sojourn in Whitehorse, the Kluane Mountain Bluegrass Festival will celebrate its 12th anniversary next week in what artistic director John Faulkner calls its “ancestral home” of Haines Junction. “It’s feeling good to everybody,” he …

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A Little Help from Friends

According to Marc Paradis, it’s starting to resemble a mini-music festival. He should know. The Whitehorse drummer has performed at pretty much every major music function since he arrived in the Yukon 35 years ago. “We don’t have an Alsek festival any more, which used to be the highlight of early summer for a lot …

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Grand Canyon

Whitehorse-based, Swedish-Canadian songwriter Sarah MacDougall has a new album, Grand Canyon, with some dark, intense lyrics, mixed against pop-inspired folk music. It’s not a departure from her previous music, so much as a progression. MacDougall says, “I think the last album [the West Coast Music Award-winning The Greatest Ones Alive] was on its way to …

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Collecting songs of the North

Songs tell the stories of places, and the Whitehorse Community Choir Yukon Song Project reflects the stories of the North. The WCC choir director Barb Chamberlain, and Susanne Hingley are collecting poems and writings of the Yukon. The goals: to compile a library of Yukon songs, and to set Yukon poetry/writing to music. “We really …

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Music Yukon wears many hats

He’s a promoter and an agent and a business consultant and an office manager and an investment broker. “Bag Man,” Mark Smith corrects that last one. “Really, I am just a Bag Man.” Smith’s business card actually labels him as the executive director of MusicYukon, an organization that helps recording artists with the business end …

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Making Money Making Music

For Yukon musicians wanting to get a career on the road there are many things standing in the way: our geographical location, small population, limited venues, genres, studios and festivals, a limited demographic… At times it can seem downright impossible to make an impact on the local, let alone Canadian-wide music scene. But our musician …

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A week jammed with jammin’

Yukoners are an inclusive bunch and the Yukon Summer Music Camp is no exception. According to Steve Gedrose, camp coordinator for his second year, the camp is for all ages, “from three to 93”. Last year, they offered classes for children as young as 18 months old. This year, they’re starting at age three. Gedrose, …

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The Yukon rocks Vancouver

Yukon musicians will be entertaining Vancouverites this week, which is nice, but … “I see this as a huge marketing initiative,” says Debbie Peters of Magnum Opus Management, the event producer. “A lot of these performers see this as a launching pad.” And such a nice launching pad it is, too. The Railway Club is …

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Celebrate Gypsy Jazz with Django Week

Whitehorse is celebrating “Django Week” to honour the eccentric Gypsy jazz legend and musical genius, Jean ‘Django’ Reinhardt, who would have celebrated his 100th birthday Jan. 23. Django Reinhardt died in 1953, but his skill with the guitar and innovative style – due to his disabled fingers — still resonate with jazz musicians today. He …

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Dance to sounds of the Big Band

The hallowed halls of learning are hushed, today. “It’s exam week,” Rebekah Bell, band teacher for Porter Creek Secondary School, says, explaining the surprising silence. There are none of the scuffling sounds of students scrambling to get to wherever it is they are going. No chatter, no laughter, no cellphone beeps. The halls are almost …

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Sharing Django’s Secrets with Yukoners

Don Ogilvie’s love affair with Gypsy jazz dates back 40 years. Like most budding musicians in 1970, Ogilvie was mostly into rock music at the time, but he also played with a New Orleans-style band. Then he discovered Jean “Django” Reinhardt, the Belgium-born Romani gypsy who pioneered the distinctive sound that became known as “hot” …

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Ms. Music Yukon

When Lynne Cavanagh landed in Whitehorse as the new executive director of Music Yukon, she hit the ground running. She had no choice. It was already September, with the city poised to host one of the biggest musical events in Yukon history, the BreakOut West conference and festival, culminating in the Western Canada Music Awards …

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Refreshing Riff Rock

The members of Whitehorse’s newest band, Abscess of the Dog (AOTD), sit in a comfortable Riverdale living room and drink scotch. Matt Larsen, the band’s drummer, is a new father, and that is cause for celebration. Larsen, Lars Jessup and Kinden Kosick were friends long before they were ever bandmates. Jessup and Larsen are both …

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