Just nine more sleeps to one of the B.C. Interior’s most highly anticipated annual musical events.
The music at the Salmon Arm Roots and Blues Festival is sometimes familiar, oftentimes an introduction to something new and wonderful and, in some cases, pure magic.
Some of the most exciting sounds erupt at workshops cobbled together by Hugo Rampen, the festival’s artistic director.
And this year promises to be amazing.
Snap, Crackle and Pop features Apadooraï, one of the rising ensembles in the world music beat, L.A. Street Drum Corps and beatboxer Felix Zenger at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 20 at the Barn Stage.
“It’s all about percussion, the percussiveness of the didgeridoo combined with Street Drum Corps who play garbage cans and beer kegs and have a very rudimentary, almost gorilla approach,” Rampen says. “I think it could be just marvellous.”
And, he adds with enthusiasm, Zenger is flying in from Finland for his first North American appearance, an artist who has had 29 million You Tube hits on Beat Box video.
Late in the afternoon that Saturday, head to the Shade Stage for Back Porch Blues, a rough-and-ready jam session featuring Harrison Kennedy, who has a Motown background and plays acoustic guitar, banjo and spoons.
Jamming with him will be Portland, Oregon’s Samuel James on his slide dobro playing caustic blues.
“He’s under 30 and he’s a shining light in the youth blues movement,” says Rampen. “He and Harrison will work really well together.”
Confident the workshop will be a hit, Rampen says Vancouver-based gospel singers, The Sojourners, will fill in the harmonies with their “beautiful, sweet, casual, foot-stomping, verbal jousting – the kind of thing a workshop should be.”
On Sunday, Aug. 21, festivalgoers are invited to take a musical tour of Cape Breton at 12:05 p.m. with Colin Grant, Rachel Dais, Buddy MacDonald and Gillian Boucher. Lobster, Lighthouses and Libations will feature the deeply rooted culture of an area where Gaelic speakers still exist and where traditional songs are of their own making.
“There’s been some prolific writers – James Allen Cameron, the MacIsaac clan – such a big family extends from community,” he says.
Rhythm & Blues and Church Pews at 2:30 p.m. Sunday at the Blues Stage, is where rich gospel will meet sweaty rhythm and blues – a tour through southern churches with Teeny Tucker and The Sojourners.
Rampen has created several more workshops to add to the festival experience provided by Jonny Lang, The Arkells, J.J. Grey and Mofro, Justin Rutledge, Bob Wiseman, Monkey Junk, Sharon and Bram, Samuel James and many more.
The Roots & Blues Festival plays out Aug. 19 to 21 with more than 45 artists on six outdoor stages. Tickets are available at www.rootsandblues.ca, by phoning 250-833-4096 or at the office at 490 Fifth Ave. SW. Advance ticket prices are in effect until Aug. 12. If you are interested in lending a hand, call Scott Crocker at 250-833-4096 to volunteer.