Manitoba Folkways: Three-Volume Collection Offers Audio Portrait of Manitoba

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"Music is how we know ourselves and one another," says Jen Delos Reyes

That quote opens the description of Manitoba Folkways, a new collection of music from the keystone province undertaken by interdisciplinary artists Delos Reyes and Kerri-Lynn Reeves. Taking inspiration from famed American folklorist and ethnomusicologist Alan Lomax and the influential Folkways record label, the pair headed out to four locations in Manitoba to do field recordings of the music of the people last spring.

The result is a three-volume audio portrait of Manitoba, performed by a diverse group of Manitoba artists including not only professional recording acts but also people with little or no professional music background, recorded live off the floor, background.

The first volume, which gets its official launch on October 28 at The Lo Pub, features Lorenzo (aka Leonard Sumner), Demetra, Rob Waddell, From Giants, and more. Click here to stream some of the songs in the Manitoba Music Radio.

The other two are available exclusively online as they were recorded in the field and can be heard on the project's website, Artists participating in Volumes 2 and 3 include Ingrid Gatin, Ian La Rue & The Heartbeat City, This Hisses, Rambling Dan Frechette, Matt Epp, and Emma Cloney.

"I was interested in Alan Lomax's approach and vision," explained Delos Reyes of the project's inspiration back in March. "He elevated vernacular music to a place of reverence and made people's music (not just the music of trained musicians) of significant cultural value. I also am motivated by the idea of how music forms identity and community. In regards to what Lomax did for American folk music, and American identity, I wondered what it would have been like had Lomax recorded in Canada and how that might of changed our sense of identity in this country."

The project has been generating some media attention, including coverage in Uptown, Up to Speed, Manitoba Scene, and music blog Witchpolice.

The October 28 release party will include performances by project collaborators Demetra, From Giants, Rambling Dan Frechette, Rob Waddell, Ian La Rue & The Heartbeat City, Lorenzo, and many more. Click here for more info .

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