Eight-performance run sure to get audience dancing to diverse music and looking inwards with powerful storytelling
When the lights dim as he holds the microphone in his hands, he sets the stage for not only the new venue’s first music series but also the full-throttle return of live music in the Shuswap.
Empowered by easing restrictions across the country, Salmon Arm’s Song Sparrow Hall opens to up to 220 guests as Shane Koyczan kickstarts Acoustic Avenue’s Spring Series April 30. The only spoken word poet in the nine-show run, Koyczan’s emotional hurricane launches an eclectic series that reaches into Afro-Cuban jazz and Cree lyrical storytelling before amplifying emerging Shuswap artists.
“I love this diversity of music. With the pandemic, the first thing to go and last thing to come back was dancing. This lineup promises to bring the energy that compels the audience to dance,” says Acoustic Avenue’s Ted Crouch. “And these artists are resilient. I know they’ve been rehearsing for years, and several have new albums. They’re accomplished, on top of their game and hungry to get back on stage.”
Shane Koyczan, April 30
Armed with powerful words and a voice that reaches into the hearts and minds of everyone in the audience, Koyczan’s work takes listeners on a tour through their feelings. Sometimes humorous, often challenging and always moving, Koyczan has earned his title as one of Canada’s premier spoken word poets.
OKAN, May 7
Named after the Santeria word for heart, OKAN embraces the energy of Cuban musical genres and roles historically dominated by men to create their unique world of Afro Cuban jazz fusion. This five-piece band, led by composers and multi-instrumentalists Elizabeth Rodriguez and Magdelys Savigne, followed up on their JUNO-nominated and Independent Music Award-winning debut Sombras with the JUNO Award-winning album Espiral.
Barracuda – The Essential Tribute to Heart, May 14
Vancouver’s own acclaimed Heart tribute Barracuda reignites the band’s beloved classics with their own style and passion. Their faithful renditions earned an official endorsement by Heart guitarist Roger Fisher, who has even joined the band on stage in past performances.
Celebrate Shuswap, May 19, 27 and 28
Three years after having the idea for a music series dedicated to local emerging artists and one year after creating a full-scale Shuswap music documentary of the same name, Crouch is thrilled to bring Celebrate Shuswap LIVE to the Song Sparrow Hall stage this May.
“We originally planned on doing Celebrate Shuswap as a live performance. The pandemic started and we had to pivot, but the community was also ready for the grand opening of the new Song Sparrow Hall,” says Crouch.
Acoustic Avenue and Song Sparrow Hall partnered with Single Shot Productions to film intimate concerts, and soon something bigger was born. Crouch, alongside Song Sparrow Hall’s Craig Newnes and Clea Roddick, expanded the scope to include the broader arts community and its history in the Shuswap.
“Before we knew it, we had this wonderful compelling story,” says Crouch. “This is the culmination of that Celebrate Shuswap initiative, three years in the making and three nights to bring it to a roaring finale.”
Kym Gouchie, June 18
With her traditional hand drum, acoustic guitar and empowering voice, Kym Gouchie uses her music to foster change and bring awareness to First Nations and women’s issues. Traditional First Nations, folk and country sounds blend with her poignant lyrics. A respected elder-in-training of the Lheidli T’enneh Nation, and with roots in the Cree and Secwépemc Nations, Gouchie is a sought-after performer and speaker whose words have a profound and emotional impact on the audience.
Kobo Town, June 24
Founded by Trinidadian songwriter Drew Gonsalves, Kobo Town has made its name by redefining the calypso sound. With strong roots in Caribbean folk music, Kobo Town’s joyous tunes radiate an energy that fills crowds with the urge to get out of their seats. Gonsalves weaves social commentary into Kobo Town’s JUNO-nominated sound for a danceable blend of reggae rhythm, brass and activism.
Tickets are now available for select shows in Acoustic Avenue’s Spring Series. For tickets and more information, visit acousticavenue.tickit.ca.