The 2018 Juno-nominated Quebec band Oktopus joins this year’s Roots & Blues Festival lineup. (Oktopus/Facebook)

New acts join Roots and Blues Festival lineup

An eclectic mix of musicians added to Salmon Arm’s slate

The acts just keep coming for the 26th annual Salmon Arm Roots & Blues festival.

Four acts with a decided world-music thrust are the most recent additions to what promises to be a weekend of inspired stand-alone shows on main stage coupled with the explosive musical chemistry found on side stages on the festival site.

From Quebec comes the spectacular octet, Oktopus, which will be making its Western Canadian debut on the Roots & Blues weekend. The band’s exuberant harmony of bows, keys, valves and mouths strikes a chord in music lovers’ hearts, bringing pure joy to audiences in quest of memorable evenings and festive occasions. The music of Oktopus is a fabulous witch’s brew of traditional eastern-European melodies, blended in with classical masterpieces and a sprinkling of Quebec song for good measure – a Quebecois take on a sort of classical-balkanized klezmer.

Geoff Berner comes to Roots & Blues with a reputation for keeping an audience on its collective toes, as he combines a feisty, pointed performance stance with engaging songs built around characters who have been compared to those found in the works of Kerouac and Ginsberg. Armed with his accordion, Berner has played all over the world to rave reviews. It’s rare for a musician to be as good at writing prose as making music, and Berner can credibly make that claim. Maclean’s praised his novel, Festival Man, for its “hilarity and razor-sharp satire.” If that testimony doesn’t make the uninitiated turn their attention to Berner’s talents, Billy Bragg’s assessment of Berner can’t be ignored. “Cherish him, cherish him, for there really is no one like him,” says the iconic British artist of Berner, who will be rolling everything from Americana to Klezmer, rock and European folk into his Roots & Blues performances.

RELATED: Colin James returns as Roots Blues headliner

RELATED: Michael Franti and Spearhead return to Roots and Blues

The open-door immigration policies of our country continue to reap so many artistic rewards it’s impossible to keep up with the gifts that come our way.

Mbira Renaissance Band is an example of new Canadians who come straight from a musical source and are now working with young Canadian-born musicians who love African music. Based in Alberta, this septet will have the Roots & Blues audiences on its feet and dancing. Mbira Renaissance Band delivers an afro-fusion, Thomas Mapfumo and Bhundu Boy-inspired sound that pays homage to the rich, ancient genre of mbira music. The members draw on their backgrounds in jazz, rock, traditional Zimbabwean music and reggae. Mbira Renaissance can feature up to eight players, with Zinyemba and Ronald Nyandoro on mbira and vocals, James Stuart on bass, Sandy Ockenden on hosho (shakers), Chaka’s sister Rumbi Zinyemba and his wife Chiedza Nezungai on vocals and conga, kit drummer Vinay Jhass and guitarist Mike Campbell.

Rounding out this release of four acts for Roots & Blues 2018 is David Thiaw – educator, master drummer, artist, composer, craftsman and storyteller. Thiaw’s first home was in Senegal. He has memories of growing up in Dakar, with the scent of the Atlantic, the sand of the beaches and the music of the people inspiring him. African and World music have been David’s lifelong passion. He formed his first band when he was 14 years old, and began a lifetime of world travel, learning about musical genres and their relation to – if not their debt to – West African rhythms. For a number of years, Thiaw has called the Interior of B.C. home. Growing up in a culture where music was part of the every-day not only started Thiaw on the path he walks today, but also nurtured his strong belief that the ability to play and sing is a human right shared by all. That will be one of his missions at the Roots & Blues festival where a couple of his performances will be of the interactive variety.

Tickets for the festival are available online at or at the Roots & Blues office at 541 – 3rd street. For info, phone 250-833-4096.

Just Posted

Stoked on science: Resolve for your resolutions

Jade Harvey Guest columnist As we progress further into January and the… Continue reading

Super blood wolf moon fills Okanagan skies, to photographers’ delight

Photographers had a rare chance Sunday to capture a rare lunar eclipse

2019 Budget: Revelstoke city staff recommending a five per cent property tax increase

Additional options that would expand services total another six per cent

Revelstoke Secondary School enthralls the audience with Trap

With a twist ending that had audience members laughing, perhaps uncomfortably, the… Continue reading

Okanagan Military Tattoo returns

Performances July 28 and July 28

UPDATE: B.C. legislature managers accused of excessive travel, personal expense claims

Clerk Craig James, security chief Gary Lenz call allegations ‘completely false’

B.C. man fined $10,000 after leaving moose to suffer before death

Surrey man was convicted last week on three Wildlife Act charges

Man charged in 7-Eleven fire in Shuswap granted bail

Accused facing arson charges released with 23 conditions including a 7 p.m. curfew

‘Blue Monday’ isn’t real, but depression can be

CMHA encourages people to prioritize their mental health

Anti-pipeline group wants NEB to consider impact of emissions, climate change filed NEB motion asking to apply same standard to the project as it did with Energy East pipeline

Parole granted for drunk driver who killed B.C. RCMP officer

Kenneth Jacob Fenton will be able to attend alcohol abuse treatment, nearly three years after crash that killed Const. Sarah Beckett

B.C. man charged in 2014 snake venom death of toddler

Henry Thomas was taking care of the North Vancouver girl the day before she died

B.C.’s largest public-sector union wants inquiry into money laundering, drugs

Union officials say Premier John Horgan and Attorney General David Eby have not ruled out the possibility of a public inquiry

Teen in confrontation with Native American: I didn’t provoke

Nick Sandmann of Covington Catholic High School said he was trying to defuse the situation

Most Read