Kalascima, Balkan Paradise Orchestra, Western Swing Authority, and Pat Byrne set for Stone Crop Acres

MORRISBURG – They are a “sextet of old friends” who hale from the Puglia, in the South of Italy. And, joined by singer Andrea Ramolo of Toronto, they are going to bring the traditions of Italy, mixed with the music of the contemporary musical scene, to their unique Harmony Concert on Friday, July 21 at 7:30 p.m. And as audiences around the world have discovered, Kalascima is an exuberant, joyful experience.

“They are deeply influenced by their ancient culture and its traditional music,” said Andrea Ramolo in an interview with the Leader. “The audience will experience a blend of electronic, Italian hip hop, Balkan and folk, but also the joy of the tarantella and the melodies of the Italian countryside.”

Ramolo, an accomplished singer/songwriter herself, who has released critically acclaimed albums including Quarantine Dream, is making this very special tour with Kalascima, singing their songs in a voice critics have called soulful and beautiful. She is also playing the drum, and “dancing to their music. I am connecting with my roots in this show, and finding such energy and fun when we all perform together. I lost my Grandmother recently. She taught me of my culture and heritage, and performing with Kalascima is a way of honouring her.” Andrea actually secured a Canada Council grant to make a documentary (“my first!”) and a folk record about the group and their music: she is delighted to be involved in introducing this exciting band to Canadian audiences on their cross country tour.

“There is a special magic in the stories that the band shares on stage, and in the connection they make with an audience,” she said. “Music is a unique language and I believe that it actually heals us to listen to music. And Kalascima is all about feeling good and finding that healing. And,” she added, “their energy on stage is incredible. I suspect that members of the audience are going to feel a real need to get out of their seats and dance. The musicians’ energy and excitement on stage is quickly shared with their audiences.”

She and the six Kalascima artists (who also sing with her on some of the numbers) are looking forward to their appearance at Stone Crop Acres Winery on July 21. “I’m Italian. I love wine,” she laughed. Audiences will fall in love with the beautiful traditions of Southern Italy as they mingle with the instruments and styles of the modern world. “I hope it is a starry, clear night,” Andrea Ramolo said, “the night Kalascima and I share our music with you.”

This fantastic musical weekend at the Winery, presented by Harmony Concerts, actually kicks off on Thursday, July 20, 7 p.m., when the very unique musical group, Balkan Paradise Orchestra, arrives on stage. Founded in 2015 in Barcelona, this exciting group of classically trained wind and percussion players has earned critical praise and ever increasing numbers of fans in Europe, and now in North America. They have won major musical awards, including the Best Folk Album of 2018 on the International circuit. In the middle of the Pandemic, inspired by Kubric’s ‘2001: A Space Odyssey,’ they released the album ‘Odissea,’ and it has gone on to be hugely popular with fans.

Their music is “fresh and exciting”: audiences may even feel “a desire to dance” when they hear their delightful original and traditional pieces, flavoured with the musical traditions of the Balkans, of Latin rhythms, and even some electronic effects. This is a group that is always original and exciting. The Balkan Paradise Orchestra will be on stage Thursday, July 20.

For a complete change of musical pace, on Saturday, July 22, at 7 p.m., the Winery welcomes the phenomenal Western Swing Authority. Made up of some of Canada’s finest touring and studio musicians, these artists perform a program of the hottest sounds in western swing, traditional country and jazz standards, as well as some incredible original pieces. The Western Swing Authority makes it a point not to accept any musical boundaries or limitations. In the 13 years the group has been performing, all over North America, they have established a sound and style that is “truly their own.”

Western Swing Authority has been nominated multiple times for CMA Ontario Awards, and won Roots Artist of the Year in 2022. Among other noted honours, the group has also taken home Fiddle Player of the Year (2017, 2016) and Specialty Instrument Player of the Year (2018) from the CCMA Awards. The group has released four full length albums, and numerous singles and videos.

Their connection to their audiences is immediate and dynamic. Crowds everywhere are instantly hooked on their western swing style, and their dynamic on stage presence. Among their fans are musical stars like Bob Doyle and Garth Brooks and Ray Bensen – several of whom have recorded numbers with them. Benson said of them, “Love the WSA. Great accomplished players who play Western Sing like it should be played.” This group is going to rock the Winery.

The final performer of the weekend is an artist whose voice has been compared to performers like David Ramirez, Ryan Adams and Jason Isbell. But Pat Byrne, who will close out the spectacular concert performances at Stone Crop Acres, on Sunday, July 23 at 7 p.m., is one of a kind.

An Irish singer-songwriter, (named the Voice of Ireland in 2012 by critics and fans) who now lives and performs out of Austin, Texas, Byrne first took the North American musical scene by storm in 2019 with his incredible appearances at the Kerrville Folk Festival and the Americana Festival. It is said that he blends his edgier numbers with “his rich Irish heritage,” to produce music that is unique and often poignant.

An accomplished instrumentalist on guitar, harmonica and drums, as well as a gifted singer, Byrne released his third studio album ‘Into the Light’ in 2021. His music runs the gamut from folk to full out rock and roll. Audiences are quickly enchanted by the powerful emotions he can bring out in his music, particularly in songs like ‘Feeling Indigo’ and ‘Feels Like Living.’

Folk Alley observed, “If you combine the transcendent poetry of Bob Dylan with gritty real-world rock and roll story telling…then add a dash political activism embodied by Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger, you’ll have Irish singer-songwriter Pat Byrne.”

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