Winnipeg is filled with opportunities to create music and get in touch with others who share the same passion for it. The city isn’t as large as others that might draw in more big-name bands, but it does have a diverse range of emerging artists and bands that stack up against some flashier counterparts.
Popular folk and pop group The Head and the Heart will play the Burton Cummings Theatre on May 31 – a show that will attract many fans – but in the meantime, there are plenty of local acts for music lovers to enjoy.
Some Winnipeg artists that have gained momentum recently include Roger Roger, Begonia, Micah Visser and Darling Twig. These groups are all different from each other in their own ways, and they’re making Winnipeg a city to look out for on the national music scene.
Soulful synth pop meets R&B to make Begonia’s songs infectious. Alexa Dirks, known as Begonia, has made her mark on the music scene with her debut album titled Lady In Mind.
The single “Juniper” reached No. 1 on CBC Radio 2’s Top 20. Her sound leads with ’90s synth influences and is inspired by real-life experiences. The song “Lady In Mind” questions what it means to be truly a woman. She is one of the many artists playing at the Winnipeg Folk Festival this year and a local artist to look out for in the next few months.
2. Roger Roger
This sister-and-brother duo have made their way across the country playing folk tunes quite similar to The Head and the Heart.
Songs like “13 Crows” from their latest album Fairweather combine storytelling, honest lyricism and mature songwriting.
The band has continued to share their talent by playing local shows in Winnipeg, and they’ve also toured across Canada for the past couple of months. Roger Roger is a band that will continue to make locals proud that talented artists like them are representing Winnipeg so well.
3. Micah Visser
This local indie-pop artist has been making and playing music for a while and has made a mark on the local alternative music scene. Visser has released several EPs and albums over the past five years that have shown growth for the artist personally and musically.
Tracks such as “ok night” evoke the feelings of a restless, suburban night walk with a dreamy teenager. Other songs like “Keeping Up” and “Water” are packed with slick, ’80s synth pop and intimate lyrics.
Visser says he won't be playing under his own name anymore but promises he has something new and exciting coming up.
4. Darling Twig
The women of Darling Twig have the ability to harmonize and create stories through their music. Similar to the The Head and the Heart’s heavy use of instrumentals and folk beats, Darling Twig offers up a brand of storytelling that they describe as “spinning imaginative lore.”
Songs like “Trails” and “Minor Bird” have soothing elements to them that share a spirit of nature and sincerity. Belinda Derksen, Andrea Klymochko and Kristina Blackwood have been together for seven years now and have played festivals like The Forks Canopy Cultural Days. They released their first album Trails in October of 2016.
Published in Volume 71, Number 26 of The Uniter (March 30, 2017)