They come from a variety of backgrounds; some are just starting out, others have more professional experience. Some are primarily singers, others primarily mu-sicians. They are composers and song writers in a number of genres ranging from folk, rock and bluegrass to Celtic.
They all have one thing in common, however.
These artists, who will be performing at the Morrisburg Meeting Centre as part of the St. Lawrence Acoustic Stage concert series, each possess exceptional and striking talent.
On Saturday, March 24, at 7 p.m., the St. Lawrence Stage is presenting a showcase concert.
Among the artists will be Sandra Whitworth an accomplished and gifted musician. She will be backed up by Marc Muir and Noureddine Ismag. Whitworth has helped bring some great talent to the Meeting Centre. Now, performing songs from her new CD, Water on the Moon, she will step into the spotlight.
Joining her in the line up will be Brockville based artist Brandon Roderick. His group, Simply Skyline, has been building a reputation for stunning vocals and striking lyrics.
Japhy Sullivan is only 15 years old, but he is already generating a lot of attention. Awarded one of the coveted youth mentor showcase spots at the 2011 Ontario Council of Folk Festivals, Sullivan brings his incredible talent on the fiddle to the St. Lawrence concert.
“Everything about fiddle music appeals to me,” Sullivan, who comes from a very musical family, said. “My tastes are definitely eclectic. I love traditional, bluegrass, classical, Irish. I compose, and I am also a singer.”
He performs on a French fiddle dating to the 1750s, currently on loan from the Shubert family. “It has a beautiful, rich sound,” the artist said. “ With it I find musical inspiration in many, many things. Music is my future.”
Andrew Aguiar, an Ottawa based musician who has just released a new EP, Ghosts, is a powerful vocalist and performer.
“I chose music for my life,” Aguiar explained. “Creativity, inspiration, has always come to me in flashes. Much of my music is relationship based, reflecting perhaps a little more on the darker side. I try to make my song-writing simple, built around a central idea that I develop through the song.”
Although he withdrew for a short time from performance, Aguiar said “I now feel fully reconnected with the joy, the sheer fun of performing. I would say that my voice is sort of multi-dimensional, soft and deep at times, sometimes more aggressive and raspy. Something inside tells me how my voice should approach the music. I’ve learned to go with that inner voice.”
Andrea Simms-Karp is a veteran performer, winner of the Beth Ferguson Songwriting award at the 2004 Ottawa Folk Festival, and featured on Vinyl Cafe in 2009.
“I think I would describe my music as a mixture of folk and pop,” she laughed. “But since I play the banjo, some non-traditional bluegrass comes in too. I like to combine my musical interests to create something new when I write and perform.”
She enjoys the opportunity to connect with people in her performances. “I want to offer an audience something new each time they hear me. Life events, travel, people, they are all sources of music to me. Inspiration is an always changing thing, but music is the one constant in my life. There is nothing better in life than to perform, to do what I love.”
Bruce (Liam) Ciccarelli, a Cornwall based artist, is returning to the St. Lawrence Stage. A regular and popular performer in the region, Ciccarelli will be bringing songs from his new CD, Beyond the Illusion, to the concert.
“Music chose me,” he laughed. “Once I had the musical bug, I knew I wasn’t going to walk away.”
A performer for two decades now, Ciccarelli released four earlier CDs with the band Rapunzel’s Power, but now performs solo. He has his own home studio.
“The acoustic guitar is the predominant instrument to me, just the purity of your voice and the guitar on the stage,” he explained. “Everything else you do around a piece is spice, flavouring to the song. Song writing really is an elusive art. I write about the human condition, spiritually connecting or discovering yourself. My songs aren’t preachy, but I think we each are the creators of our lives, not the victims. I love the energy you get from an audience, the joy of feed back when you perform. I look forward to the Stage.”
To add to the audience’s pleasure, a number of area visual artists including Mi-Sun Hunter, Bradley Pennell and Marc Carriere will be staging exhibits outside the concert hall.
Tickets for the Intimate Acoustics Concert March 24 are $10. They can be purchased at the Basket Case, Strung Out Guitars or by contacting www.st-lawrencestage.com.