Shana and Dillon Brown are teen musicians that have been performing from a very young age. Formerly known as Shillon, this solid musical duo have been recognized as outstanding vocal and instrumental musicians. They are evolving towards further improvements in their instrumental abilities and will focus on this in their musical performances moving forward.
They have many accomplishments for their ages of 14 and 16, which includes 2 CDs under the Shillon Music, Youth Ventures Award for Excellence In Arts and Tourism and, Youth Business of Distinction. Recognizing the importance of continued learning in music, there’s sure to be lots of new opportunities in their future.
The STEP Fiddlers are a group of fine young fiddle players, ranging in age from seven to 16, drawn mostly from the students of the Suzuki Talent Education Program (STEP) in St. John’s. They are directed by Christina Smith, who founded the group in 1982 to give young Newfoundlanders an opportunity to learn their own traditional music. The STEP Fiddlers have been featured performers at local concerts, festivals and events, have played for local, national and international audiences and have brought Newfoundland music to Ontario, England, and Northern Ireland. Over the years the group has released two CDs: “Galing for a Storm” and “Fiddling in the Fog.”
Jayne Batstone (vocals, ukulele, guitar, piano) is an emerging singer/song writer from St. John’s NL, who regardless of any more of Mother Nature’s curve balls, definitely plans to graduate from high school in June 2021!! Her performance of acoustic music has been described as “smooth and haunting” underlined by a “quiet confidence”.
Jayne has spent her “COVID Quarantine”, listening to and learning from the music that has erupted world-wide in a unifying voice of love and support. She is more grateful than ever for the unending support of our own arts community and committed to following in the NL tradition of using her voice to lift others up and change the world
Gracie Reid is a button accordion player, guitar player and vocalist. She has been playing music since she was eight years old and has been performing publicly for almost as long. She enjoys playing in a variety of different genres such as Newfoundland traditional, Irish, Folk, Rock, and Pop.
Violet Blackie is 11 years old and has been playing violin from the age of three. This is her fourth year performing for the Newfoundland Folk Festival. She has received several awards and scholarships from the Saint John’s Kiwanis Music Festival for her fiddle playing, and has performed opening for the Atlantic String Quartet, Rozalind McPhail and with the Ennis Sisters. With the STEP Fiddlers she has performed at Shamrock City and many other locations in St. John’s and is regular participant in Young Folk at the Hall.
Maia Mckeown is a ten year old who loves to play and sing traditional Newfoundland songs.
Maia has been a member of the STEP Fiddlers touring group, with numerous performances in and around St John’s, at the Newfoundland Folk Festival, and in Norris Point at the Tales, Trails, and Tunes Festival.
She sings and plays violin with the Shallaway Youth Choir and enjoys performing each year at the Young Folk at the Hall, she can also be seen on occasions busking around the capital.
Matilda and Jasper have both been playing the violin since they were four and the fiddle since they were six with the STEP fiddlers under Christina Smith. Matilda played solo sets on the Neil Murray stage each year since she was seven and Jasper with the STEP fiddlers since he was six. At the 2014 St. John’s Kiwanis Festival Matilda was awarded the Kevin Neary Memorial Award for best ten and under fiddle performance and the Maurice Wilansky Memorial Award for violin and at the 2016 Toronto Kiwanis Festival the Kiwanis Foundation Scholarship for Violin Performance. At the 2019 St. John’s Kiwanis Festival she was awarded the Bartellas Family Award for best fiddler and was a Junior Rose Bowl finalist. As a singer she performed in five Best Kind shows and sang the Ode for the 2018 Folk Festival. Both will play the fiddle and guitar and sing.
While most teenagers are into the Top 100 hits, 15 year old Brandon Bowen from Conception Bay South loves to jam out the traditional tunes on his accordion. Brandon has Cerebral Palsy but he doesn’t let his disability get in his way when it comes to his musical talent. Brandon has been playing his accordion for 5.5 years and he played in many festivals such as NL Folk Festival, Eastport Accordion Festival, George Street Festival, Music and Friends Festival in Bell Island, Janeway Telethon, O’Reilly’s Pub and he even had the opportunity to play with some popular NL bands such as Shanneyganock, Rum Ragged and the Masterless Men . Brandon has his own band – The Brandon Bowen Band with his good buddies Russell Molloy and Dave Spurvey. They also volunteer their musical talent with community fundraiser events and senior homes.