Make Music Here

Music has long been a building block of community and culture in the Slocan Valley and our eclectic communities have a long history of celebrating through music. We invite you to check out our local music scene and to follow your own musical dreams here in the Slocan Valley.

Diverse, expansive, inspired, authentic and collaborative are just a few words to describe the Slocan Valley music scene.

From South Slocan to New Denver, on the traditional, ancestral and unceded territory of the Sinixt Peoples, we have three professional recording studios, several music schools, unique music venues, a one-of-a-kind record shop, a virtual community radio station, a thriving open mic night and a plethora of musicians and bands.

Inspired by the natural wonders of the Valley, these talented artists add real life and colour to our communities.

The Make Music Here campaign features a series of inspirational videos, an exciting contest and feature profiles on our Slocan Valley bands and musicians.

Thanks to the Columbia Basin Trust and ETSI-BC for funding the Make Music Here campaign, in support of our local music industry.

Meet Some Champions of the Slocan Valley Music Scene

"3 Words"

What are 3 words you would use to describe the music scene in the Slocan Valley? We posed this question to eight different champions of the Valley music scene and this is what they had to say. Their answers are as inspirational as the scene here itself. Watch to the end for a good laugh.

Adham Shaikh - Sonic Turtle Studio

Adham Shaikh, a past Juno Award nominee for World Music Album of the Year, has been recording and producing music for artists for nearly 20 years from his eclectic wilderness professional recording studio in the Slocan Valley. He offers recording services for solo musicians and bands – from banjo pickers to dubstep artists and just about everyone in between. Sonic Turtle Studio is an all-around great place to come to write songs and explore your creative process. Find out what inspires Adham Shaikh, his thoughts on the local music scene and why he thinks more people should make music here.

Visit https://www.sonicturtle.com/ for more info.

Ron & Sara Mulvey - Crescent School of Art & Music

Many people in the Valley, especially those with kids, have been to the Mulvey’s for a music performance, amazing food and to gather to support budding talent. Ron and Sara Mulvey are pillars of the Slocan Valley music scene and through the Crescent School of Art & Music in Passmore, they have touched hundreds of children’s lives. For over 30 years, they have given the gift of music to people, young and old, with so much passion, enthusiasm and joy. Find out more about this incredible couple and their whimsical music school in the Slocan Valley. 

Visit https://www.theartabet.com/ for more info.

Radio Free Winlove

Say hello to Winston McLovin and Winston McLovin from the Slocan Valley’s only virtual community radio station and multimedia broadcast venue, Radio Free Winlove. Every Sunday night they offer musicians a place to perform live, provide them with audio and video recordings of their sets (plus awesome snacks!) and Winston even does logo design. Their multi-platform Sunday night livestream from 6pm until midnight features a plethora of musical talent from around the Valley and beyond. Find out what gives Winston and Winston goosebumps, and why they think the music scene here is so unique.

Visit https://radiofreewinlove.com/ for more info.

Barry Jones -  Sincerity Sound Studio

Everything Barry Jones does in his professional recording studio comes from a heart-centred foundation of passion, a drive to hold others in a safe creative space and a deep love for everything music. Sincerity Sound Studio offers a true playground for the creative musician. Barry offers mixing, mastering, producing for the individual artist as well as full bands. He is honoured to work with people on their art and loves the relational intimacy that takes place when people so vulnerably share their talent. From a reclaimed old barn in Appledale, artists from diverse styles and backgrounds converge in one of the most unique and creative spaces out there. Find out why Barry loves working with local musicians, why there’s so much room for growth in our music scene and why collaboration is key.

Visit https://www.sinceritysound.com/ for more info.

Rod Neufeld - Big Dog Music

Welcome to the only record shop in the Slocan Valley – Big Dog Music in New Denver. Affectionately named after Rod’s (super) big dog, this one-of-a-kind store has allowed many people to explore their passion for music and pick up an instrument for the first time. People come from all over the region to shop for stringed instruments, browse the incredible record collection, buy strings for their guitar or pick up a book on songwriting. This cozy nook offers a feast for the senses and although it’s small, you could spend hours getting lost in records and bumping into friends, new and old, to talk music. Find out why Ron thinks our music scene is unique, and hear his advice for aspiring musicians. 

Visit https://www.facebook.com/BigDogMusicNewDenver for more info.

The Vallican Whole

The Vallican Whole is more than just a staple of the Slocan Valley, it’s a beloved community hub where people from all over the Valley have come to gather, celebrate, and enjoy music and art for nearly 50 years. Built by a group of draft dodging, hippy, back-to-the-landers in 1971, it was built to create a hub for rural skills and culture and to help rural folks thrive. This community centre and venue in Vallican has seen a lot of music and dancing and if its walls could talk, the stories they would tell! Find out from Marya why it’s so important to have a venue like the Vallican Whole, and what they are doing to build culture in their rural community.

Visit http://vallicanwhole.com/ for more info.

Tony & Lee, Open Mic Night @ Mama Sita's Cafe

Open Mic Night at Mama Sita’s Cafe in Winlaw has been providing local musicians, aspiring and seasoned, with a chance to spread their musical wings for over three years now – since Helen, Lee and Steve took ownership. Tony runs the open mic out of this delicious community hub and restaurant. He is passionate about helping local musicians, poets and live bands get on stage to show off their talents, collaborate with others and lift the spirits of local residents through the art of music. 

Mama Sita’s is proud to host this super special Winlove event every Wednesday from 5pm until close to give the community a chance to come together to sing and dance. Find out what inspires Lee and Tony to put this event on and what keeps people coming back for more.

Visit Mama Sita’s Cafe on Facebook for more info.

Johanne Perron, Valhalla Summer School of Music

The Valhalla Summer School of Music, a program of the Valhalla Fine Arts Society, has been around for over 25 years and in that time has helped thousands of kids discover the gift of music. Johanne Perron is not only a faculty member at the school, she’s also a world-class cellist.

The Valhalla Summer School of Music offers an amazing opportunity for young people to perfect their craft. Many of their students are now professional musicians and are performing all over the world. Like Johanne says, it’s amazing to see that what they do at their school in New Denver can reach so far and wide. Find out why Johanne thinks music is the food for the soul and why a school like this is so important for the Slocan Valley.

Visit https://www.valhallafinearts.org/site/home/virtual-valhalla-summer-school-of-music/ for more info.

ENTER THE MAKE MUSIC HERE CONTEST FOR A CHANCE TO WINA PROFESSIONAL STUDIO RECORDING SESSION

Calling all Slocan Valley Bands and Musicians: It’s the Make Music Here Contest! 

Send us a rough-cut video or audio recording of you performing one song for a chance to win a professional studio recording session and so much more! 

Winners will receive:

⭐️  A professional recording session to produce your song at a Slocan Valley recording studio: Sonic Turtle Studio (Adham Shaikh), Hallowed Sound (Roger Swan) or Sincerity Sound Studio (Barry Jones).

⭐️  The opportunity to be featured in a special presentation on Radio Free Winlove where you can perform your song live 

⭐️  A professional development workshop with Paul Hinrichs of On the Road Management and Executive/Artistic Director of Kaslo Jazz Etc. Festival

⭐️  A personal digital marketing session with Karen Kornelsen, Slocan Valley Business Support Advisor and Owner of Peak to Moon Creative 

Don’t worry, your video or audio contest entry DOES NOT have to be polished. It can be gritty, home-made and even be done on your phone!  We are looking for talent and character, and not judging production values. Multiple winners will be chosen!

Interested in entering the contest? Enter by June 27, 2022 by clicking the button below and filling out the form.

CLICK HERE TO ENTER THE CONTEST

Meet the Bands and Musicians of the Slocan Valley

Friendly Giants

“My roots come from sixties music, but because our band is cross-generational, every decade has been creatively mined for ideas and influences,” says John Wittmayer of Friendly Giants.

When John (vocals, guitar, bass, synth, percussion) and Shawn Fisher (vocals, violin, keyboard, percussion) met in the winter of 2020 during the “Great Lockdown,” they decided to collaborate and work on each other’s song ideas. Their brainchild, Friendly Giants, was nearly born!

Enter stage left: Barry Jones (vocals, keyboard, trumpet, percussion, producing) and James Stephan (vocals, guitar, bass, drums, producing), and shortly after - Amy Heasman and Holly Schweitzer (both vocals and songwriting.)

And voila! The magical collaboration called Friendly Giants came to be.

All band members contribute by way of writing and playing their ideas. John says, “The sum of our parts create music that we all identify with, and this sharing is what thrills us to keep creating.” Travis Yost (drums) has also made appearances on some of the band’s tracks.

Friendly Giants makes music with deep indie roots and an eclectic mixture of cross-generational hippie-pop. They’re releasing new songs every month on Spotify, SoundCloud, and on their Facebook or Instagram pages and are looking forward to releasing their first album at the end of the year!

The band is endlessly inspired by the Valley’s lively artistic communities and their surrounding landscape and loves that music brings people together.

You can listen to their tunes at https://friendlygiants.hearnow.com/.


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Noel Fudge - Freya, Klezmeridian, and Vanir

Noel Fudge, a passionate composer and guitar/music teacher at his studio, Fudge Music Factory, spends most of his musical time writing music for string quartets, chamber groups, choirs, and for his own ensembles: Freya, Klezmeridian and Vanir.

For Noel, music is all about connection, and his passion for music was inspired by his father playing guitar and singing. He says, “Listening and watching performers bind together is like its own religion.” His music is influenced by the great composers, particularly from the Romantic period and 16th-century madrigals.

Freya

Freya is a guitar and violin duo with Noel’s partner, Martine denBok. The pair have played together for six years and perform both original music and covers at weddings, events, festivals, and house concerts (their favourite.) Noel says, “We are told our music is emotional and skillful, focusing on melody and connection between our instruments.” Check out Freya at www.fortheloveoffreya.ca or on their Facebook page.

Klezmeridian

Klezmeridian is a 6-piece ensemble that plays mostly original music composed by Noel. It takes scales and inspiration from Klezmer music. Their amazing players consist of Nicola Everton (clarinet), Martine denBok (violin), Rob Fahie (double bass), Bessie Wapp (accordion), Graham Tracey (percussion), and Noel on guitar. Watch the band on YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KyftwSCk68k and here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kyFkbPYG31E.

Vanir

Vanir is a folk/rock band that plays mostly Noel’s original songs. The group typically performs for outdoor events and was featured on the Pie in the Sky online series with the Socan Lake Arts Council. The band consists of Dean Spankie (drums), Jay Buttle (bass), Matine denBok (violin, viola, vocals, piano), Helen Davis (backup vocals), and Noel on guitar and lead vocals. You can watch them on YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8WRPwV4rA-TR8hXjWgjYlg.

Check Noel out at www.noelfudge.ca.


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Melvin

Meet Melissa Wanamaker, or “Melvin,” a hyper-talented piano player inspired by how sounds provide a means of expression and escape. She loves the Slocan Valley for its beauty, culture and the friendships she’s shared, which have profoundly influenced her identity and, ultimately, her music.

She says, “Music has given me a language to interpret different worlds and feelings I didn't know were available to me. Melancholia, joy, rage, despair, breakups, and… birds! Basically, any feeling or emotion that passes through my body can be used as art or interpreted as a sound.”

Pursuing music was never a conscious decision for Melvin, or at least initially. She found herself gravitating towards the piano in times of boredom and would spend hours improvising jingles.

Melvin performs locally and is eager to travel internationally when her album, Agnes, drops in September 2022. The album will contain 10 songs and is being mixed by Aaron Klingbiel of Spacefood.

Agnes was inspired when Melissa learned to record herself at home using Ableton software and decided to recruit other professional musicians to do the same. She says, “We began a musical 'dialogue' of sending files back and forth until a song was complete.”

Musicians featured on the album are Robin Sittig, Sean Luciw, TreeVor and Shawn Fisher. The first single of the album, Stone Cold Stoned, was released in December 2021 and is a collaboration with Nicole Coenen of North Cut Studios.

Check Melvin out on her website (under construction), Facebook, or Instagram!


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Diamond Willow

Slocan Valley’s Diamond Willow is a three-piece band playing old country and country-rock. Lead rhythm guitar player, Gene Hird, wholesome vocals from Delaine Hird, and harmonies from bass player Joe Jmaeff make Diamond Willow an awesome trio that won’t leave you disappointed.

The group has been playing together for five years and has summer performances scheduled with Erie Creek Brewery in Salmo on June 11, 2022, and can also be seen at Gyro Park in Trail on June 23.

The band’s most significant influence is their love of music and the camaraderie of fellow musicians. Delaine explains how the energy of the Slocan Valley influences the band’s music by saying, “The ability to play locally, amongst friends, family and all music-loving people is amazing. Our valley’s breathtaking setting and backdrop naturally inspires music, and its people encourage what can be intimidating to some.”

Delaine has been singing all her life, and her husband Gene started playing guitar for their girls when they were little. He was often asked to perform for friends, which ultimately encouraged the band’s formation. Joe Jmaeff - a renowned bass player - performed with Delaine 35 years ago. When he returned to the valley after moving to the US to raise his family, it didn’t take long for the two to reconnect and get back to playing music!

Join Diamond Willow and enjoy classics from The Eagles, Rodney Crowell, and Emmylou (to name a few). Check out their Facebook page for more information.


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Adham Shaikh / MonkeyDragon

Fuelled by the energy of - and inspired by the nature of - the Slocan Valley, Adham Shaikh and MonkeyDragon explore a place not-so-earthly in their debut album, “Enter the Multiverse.” The album is described by Adham as the pair’s “intergalactic travels through parallel worlds, where spaghetti western landscapes dance in kaleidoscopic panoramas fuelled by funk and dub.”

Adham and Buckman Coe (collectively MonkeyDragon) create music that explores distant worlds of Cumbia, Soul, Afrobeat, and Reggae, inviting the listener to join them in their sonic explorations.

Their songs were developed in remote festivals and community halls across British Columbia with the help of their friends Andy Cakes and Harvey Paris, and the band came to life after producing Buckman’s previous albums.

Adham says that he loves making music because it brings joy to people and brings him joy to see people dancing!

MonkeyDragon has a busy summer of shows ahead of them and are working on their next set of singles. Check them out on Facebook, Instagram, and soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/adhamshaikh. You can also check out Adam’s independent Canadian record label, Sonicturtle Music on his website: https://www.sonicturtlemusic.com/.


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Rü Rose

Singer/songwriter Rü Rose is more than devoted to the land of the Slocan Valley. Her sacred communion with the land, the forests and the regenerative community and culture created here is the blood and bone that influences the lyrics that weave themselves into her songs. She feels that the water of the Slocan Valley is perhaps the most delicious in the entire world, and it alone could inspire a whole album.

Rü’s unique music, described as “mountain-folk-indigenous,” reflects her connection with nature, the revival of earth-based regenerative culture, and her personal values of simplicity that tie back to her off-grid homestead. Her lyrics and voice are potent and intimate - said to strike a chord into the marrow of the listener, and are performed at the healing vibration of 432 Hz.

Rü comes from a mixed bag of ancestry, including peasant Ukrainian, French-Canadian, and Turtle Island indigenous. Rü has been actively healing and reclaiming her place as a woman indigenous to this land.

She considers her voice her primary instrument and plays the acoustic guitar and the shruti box. Accompanied by her life partner and professional videographer, Kai (acoustic bass, banjo, and percussion), her dear friend Vanessa Deverell (harmonies and support vocals), and her son Indiana (percussion and vocals), Rü intends to perform at more local venues this year.

Keep an eye out for her debut album, “Old Growth Child.” The album has 13 original songs and will be released alongside live-recorded “open-air” videos sometime in 2022/23. Check out Rü on Facebook or Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/ruroseandkaicabodyna/creators.


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Crescent School of Art and Music

Have you or your kids ever been interested in taking music lessons? Ron and Sara Mulvey at the Crescent School of Music love to teach students young and old to play classical piano, flute, recorder and various guitar styles.

Inspiration for their school and their music came from great composers, but the beauty and energy of Slocan Valley is “a pairing that inspires the creative soul to express itself to others,” say Sara and Ron. They love that music brings joy to others and love imparting this joy on their students.

The school has been open since 1979. Together with Ron and Sara, the students play in-house concerts for family and friends. The school is located at 4550 Passmore Upper Road in the Slocan Valley.

You can check out Sara’s Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCK0nU2eg4Pxlue7xL9xkaTw?app=desktop or reach out to info4artabet@gmail.com for more information.


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Yoko Dharma

Meet Yoko Dharma, an independent recording artist, vocalist, and writer. She writes and composes music in spiritual/world (Sacred Buddhist Mantra) and world/RnB genres. However, she’s more well known in the spiritual/world community for her Tibetan Buddhist Mantras, where she has received international recognition.

Last year she released a special project of 21 Tara Mantras according to the Surya Gupta lineage of Vajrayana Tibetan Buddhism. The Mantras were featured in the award-winning international Buddhist magazine, Buddhaweekly.

Yoko will be releasing a new Vajrayana Tibetan Buddhist Mantra album that will have some traditional melodies and original melodies and compositions. This will be Yoko’s third album released in the spiritual/world genre and should be released in 2023.

Yoko says, “This album is being created with a powerful intention to assist people through these huge planetary changes, challenging situations, and diseases that we are facing. Mantras have great power in themselves to heal and awaken us. Coupled with the intention set for why I am recording these mantras, I hope that they will assist many people at this present time and in the future.”

Her album is being recorded with Adham Shaikh at Sonic Turtle Studio, and her 45-minute drive to the studio allows her to take in the magic of nature in the valley and become grounded. She says, “Usually, a new glimmer of inspiration has entered me by the time I arrive!”

Check out Yoko on her website, on Facebook, or on YouTube.


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Ruiner

Ruiner is a four-piece rock & roll band located in the Slocan Valley. Their band “theme” represents an exploration of rock styles with varying influences, including post-punk, psychedelic rock, 60s garage rock and some prog.

Band member, Chris Lyon (guitar and vocals) says, “I was lucky enough to get this band together, recruiting members Mike Hodsall (guitar) from the legendary punk band, D.O.A., Roger Swan (drums) who is a studio owner and producer of songs you undoubtedly know, and Tim Hodson (bass) as well. Tim and I have been friends since high school.”

The band has several shows throughout BC this summer and has historically played for events throughout BC and Alberta, including Massif in Nelson, Blizzard Fest in Rossland, The Okanagan Tattoo show, Tune it Down Turn it Up in Kelowna, and various other bars and venues.

“I love transcendent moments while performing live. When the crowd is into it, and the band is sounding good, it's a rush that I feel all performers are chasing.”

Drummer Roger Swan owns Hallowed Sound Studio in South Slocan, and Ruiner is currently working on an EP. You can listen to their first song on Soundcloud. You can also find them on their Facebook page.

Chris says, “The beauty of the Slocan Valley keeps us all in good moods. We love our community and are proud of it.” Though admittedly, Chris says the band doesn’t keep with the tempo of the peaceful valley. “It has been said that we don't sound like we come from here. Although we love our community and are proud of it - the Valley has a very laid back vibe and I don't feel we are a laid back band, we aim to be up tempo, danceable and catchy.”


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