Since the release of Stories and Strangers in 2009, Dave Penny has became known as a composer of songs that are truly unique to Newfoundland and Labrador, with topical references, wacky plots, and clever turns of phrase which comes from a lifelong fascination of comic ballads of Newfoundland and the British Isles. With his engaging stage personality, and a style that is entirely his own, he has been a key figure in resurgence in popularity of Newfoundland comic songs.
Dave’s 2017 recording—All Turned Around—has been nominated for a 2017 MusicNL award for Traditional Artist of the Year and a 2017 Canadian Folk Music Award for Traditional Singer of the Year. The album has given him the opportunity to travel around the province and parts of Canada, including the Mariposa Folk Festival in Ontario.
In 2020, Dave released his most recent recording–Chip Wagon Ahead. Along with completing and releasing this record, Dave continues to add to his repertoire and perform via online festivals, concerts, and videos during the COVID-19 setbacks.
Sean Panting is a songwriter, musician and actor from St. John’s. In a music career extending back three decades to the heyday of cassette tapes and acid wash, he has performed alongside musical luminaries like Ron Sexsmith and Billy Bragg, played in seminal Newfoundland bands Drive and Kelly Russell & The Planks, and released five solo albums. His sixth, The Simple Machines, showcases his deft songwriting and razor stashed in 9 installments of 3 minute hits.
Rube & Rake is a folk/roots duo based out of St. John’s, NL, with a primary focus on creating sparse, stripped down songs. While many performers often look to expand their arrangements, the duo has found the opposite works best for them, allowing their harmonies and delivery of lyrics to come to the forefront. Winners of two MusicNL awards including folk/roots artist of the year for their debut LP, Rube & Rake’s sophomore LP will be released on October 16th, 2020.
Kyle Gryphon is a musician and construction worker living on the Southern Shore, Avalon Peninsula. He has been playing traditional music for over 25 years, first picking up the accordion at the age of 4. Later, he started playing banjo, harmonica, drums and various other instruments. Writing tunes and songs for the past 15 years, Kyle has built up a repertoire of original music and he recently released a full-length album, entitled “Isolation”, which has been extremely well received and generated solid reviews.
He currently performs solo as well as with the bands Dark Era (drums) and Dark Island (accordion, vocals, harmonica, 5-string banjo).
Naomi Brown is a violinist from St. John’s, Newfoundland. She is currently completing the Bachelor of Music degree program at Memorial University of Newfoundland studying under Dr. Nancy Dahn. She has been performing on violin for 18 years as a soloist and in ensembles of all sizes. She plays second violin in the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra and first violin in the MUN Chamber Orchestra. Naomi teaches private and group violin lessons to children and adults from her studio as well as through the Project Grace after-school music program.
Jordan Harnum is a true son of Newfoundland. Born and raised in New Harbour, he learned the power and tradition of song and story from a young age. Jordan has always felt a deep spiritual connection with the act of performing on stage or on screen.
Jordan’s debut record “The Boys Around The Bay” was produced and written-in-part by Glenn Simmons (The Fables) (Wonderful Grand Band) and released in the fall of 2017. Since then, Jordan was nominated for MusicNL’s 2018 Celtic Artist of the year, played various festivals and venues across the province. In August 2018 Jordan joined expedition cruise specialists Adventure Canada as one of the onboard musicians. Expect some new music from Jordan in 2020.
Rory Graham is one of Canada’s rising multi-instrumentalists. Holding a Bachelor of Music from his hometown university in Brandon, Manitoba, Rory has seen work playing the violin with ensembles across the country like the Regina Symphony Orchestra, Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra, Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, and Brandon Chamber Players. As a lover of all music, Rory also frequently plays violin/fiddle, guitar, bass, and vocals, in bands of all styles including jazz, rock, country, folk, trad, blues, and more. Rory can be heard on albums by Roman Clarke, Field Guide, Kris Ulrich, and Liam Duncan, and is currently working on his own release. Rory graduates from Memorial University with a Master’s in violin performance in spring 2021.
The Dandelion Few is the collaborative work of artists Tiffanie George (NL) & Seán Bradley (IRL) whose gentle modern folk music has been described as both beautiful and dark with touches of the recent past. Often working in conjunction with other musicians and artists of various mediums, they write music reflecting themes such as the ocean, gin soaked bar rooms, haunted mansions to name but a few. They have become well known for their harmony rich vocals and intimate performances and are currently working towards the release of their sophomore record ‘Sure We’ll go Home by Water’ for the fall of 2020.
Carole Bestvater strives to share her joy of music with those around her. She is equally at home in classical and folk genres, maintaining a full schedule as a performer and educator.
Carole relocated from the prairies to St. John’s to attend Memorial University of Newfoundland, and loved it here so much that she decided to stay.
Passionate about community and education, Carole founded the Strong Harbour Strings Program, an immersive after school music program based in the belief that communities can be strengthened through the learning and sharing of music. Carole is also on faculty of the Suzuki Talent Education Program. As a performer, Carole is a sought after side musician. She is a freestyle fiddler, equally as comfortable playing Bluegrass, Irish, Newfoundland, Old Time or
Appalachian folk styles.
You can catch her performing with a number of local bands and
ensembles such as Youngtree and the Blooms, High & Lonesome, Sizzle Sisters, Crooked Stovepipe, or performing classical music with the Strong Harbour Strings Collective, the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra, or the Watershed Ensemble.