Ten years after her first performance at 2010’s Gil’s Hootenanny, Maria Hawkins is returning as a headliner for the 10th Anniversary event. Long considered Ottawa’s Blues Lady, Maria has been a well known and much-beloved performer in Ottawa for decades, and is recognized for her dynamic and confident stage presence. Maria Dunn and Maria Hawkins, affectionately dubbed “the Marias” by Hootenanny organizers, are the headliners for this annual May Day sing-along event.
What Maria’s legion of fans might not realize is that her music is informed by the intersection of many facets of her background, including her Mi’kmaq and Acadian roots. Maria can also trace her family back to “released slaves from Sir John Hawkins”. Given her ancestry, it’s no wonder that Maria’s music is informed by a deep respect for indigenous peoples and a passion for peace and justice. Her repertoire at Gil’s Hootenanny will include a song of “thanks to first nations who helped bring slaves to Canada through the underground railway”.
Maria is well known as the co-creator of “Blues in the Schools”, bringing music to classrooms across the nation’s capital. This program garnered Maria the W.C. Handy Award for bringing together 200 students from 28 schools to play in the largest blues band ever, with help from local musicians. According to Maria, “It was some of the most rewarding work I’ve ever done”.
Less well known is Maria’s work with dozens of local charities, which earned her a United Way Community Builder Award. Maria has won numerous other awards, including the NAC Award for Artistic Excellence. Maria is particularly proud of her Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal for 25 years of inspiration to Canadian youth.
Gil’s Hootenanny is delighted that Maria will once again be bringing her voice and her message of hope, gratitude and strength to Gil’s Hootenanny.
The 2019 Gil’s Hootenanny will take place on Wednesday, May 1st at 7:30pm in Clark Hall at the RA Centre, 2451 Riverside Drive. Staffed by UNIFOR members, the RA Centre is accessible, has loads of parking and is well serviced by OC Transpo. Tickets ($10, kids free) are available online and (cash only) at Octopus Books, 16 Third Avenue.
A true preserver of the spirit of folk music, one of Gil’s Hootenanny 2019 featured artists, twice Juno-nominated Maria Dunn (www.mariadunn.com), is often compared to Woody Guthrie for her keen social awareness and her unvarnished songs about the lives of working men and women. Maria Dunn and Maria Hawkins, affectionately dubbed “the Marias” by Hootenanny organizers, are the headliners for the 10th Anniversary of this annual May Day sing-along event.
years as a volunteer DJ in community radio (1987-2000) encouraged
Maria to listen widely to the master songwriters, singers and
instrumentalists of folk and roots music. Discovering their
recordings and becoming an avid fan and supporter of live music in
her community, she absorbed the important messages of compassion and
human struggle that have always been central to the writings of folk
artists from Buffy
Ste. Marie to
the time she began writing her own music in the mid-90s, Maria was
learning to draw deeply on the folk tradition of storytelling through
song to honour the resilience and grace of “ordinary” people,
past and present.
keeping with Pete
words (1994), “The
key to the future of the world is finding the optimistic stories and
letting them be known”,
her latest recording, Gathering,highlights
stories of love—not songs of romantic love, but songs of family,
community, humanity and the love that fires our actions to make the
world a better place. The songs range from historical and narrative
to personal and immediate, inspired by social justice stories both
global and local.
The 2019 Gil’s Hootenanny
will take place on Wednesday, May 1st at 7:30pm in Clark
Hall at the RA Centre, 2451 Riverside Drive. Staffed by UNIFOR
members, the RA Centre is accessible, has loads of parking and is
well serviced by OC Transpo. Tickets ($10, kids
free) are available online and (cash only) at Octopus Books, 16 Third
Eve Goldberg, the 2018 Gil’s Hootenanny headliner, is a singer-songwriter who believes that she has a unique platform “to be a voice for social justice and the power of positive change”. For Eve, this commitment not only means writing issue-oriented songs, but also, and perhaps more importantly, creating space in her performances “to help create community by being inclusive and positive”. Continue reading →
Anyone lucky enough to see Eve Goldberg perform is captivated not only by her talent and charisma but also by the obvious depth of her musical background and influences.
Gil’s Hootenanny’s 2018 headliner, Eve grew up in the Boston area, where her multi-instrumentalist, activist mom took her to see folk legends such as Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee, Pete Seeger and Doc Watson. Eve acknowledges that as a child, she did not initially appreciate these performers, though they would later have a significant influence on her song writing and performance repertoire. Continue reading →
Gil’s Hootananny might be one of the last opportunities to see Moonfruits in person, as 2017 is looking to be a busy year for them.
Shortly after headlining Gil’s Hootenanny, Moonfruits – Kaitlin Milroy and Alex Milliare – will be releasing their first French-language album, Ste-Quequepart, which they describe as a “folk concept album that plays like a short film soundtrack.” After the mid-May album release, Moonfruits will be heading out on a Canadian tour to promote the album, which likely means they will be on the road for much of the year. The tour will give the band the opportunity to focus on the things they enjoy: writing and performing music. Continue reading →
When asked to pinpoint performances that left a lasting impression on them, Moonfruits – Kaitlin Milroy and Alex Milliare – have a myriad of meaningful personal and professional experiences to draw upon. From singing and playing banjo during a protest in -20 degree weather, to a show with The Peptides that culminated in an 11-person finale of “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?”, Moonfruits bring their dedication to social justice to each of their performances. Continue reading →
Singer-songwriter Mark Evenchick will be one of the featured performers at Gil’s Hootenanny 2017. He is expected to perform a new song, It’s Not Funny Anymore, about the political situation south of the Canadian border.
The winner of the 2016 Hootenanny songwriting contest, Mark’s love of music started when he was 13 and learned three chords on his sister’s guitar. Those few chords led Mark on a decades-long musical voyage that includes performing, songwriting & recording. Continue reading →
Versatility, originality and activism are the hallmarks of this year’s Hootenanny Band. All four members are singer-songwriters, multi-instrumentalists and vocalists from the Elizabeth Riley Band who bring a raw, contagious energy to their music that captivates and inspires audiences: