Versatility, originality and activism are the hallmarks of this year’s Hootenanny Band. The core members of the band 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.
- Jen Gilbert, acoustic guitar, vocals: Jen grew up in the Ottawa Valley in a music-loving family. While Jen’s original music is heavily influenced by the chord progressions and traditions of old-time country music, she loves and plays all styles of music. Outside of her music-life as a member of the Elizabeth Riley Band, Jen is a mom, an educator, and a PhD student at McGill.
- Patricia Reynolds, electric guitar, vocals: Patricia has been playing and singing since her childhood on Manitoulin Island. Her musical influences range from classic country and bluegrass to Celtic, British Isles and Quebecois traditional music. Recently retired from teaching/program coordination at Carleton University, Patricia enjoys singing and playing with Elizabeth Riley Band, Local Colour, Just Voices choir, Sing n’ Jam and jamming in general.
- Carmel Whittle, stand up snare, percussion, harmonica, guitar, vocals: Carmel is an Irish and Mik’maq visual artist, musician, song writer & activist who hails from Newfoundland. Currently the art/music outreach manager at Gallery 101, she is also co-chair of the Arts Health Network Ottawa. She loves to experiment with sound and create instruments from found objects to create songs of loss tragedy and love.
Jen, Patricia and Carmel will be joined by musical friends Debbie Rubin and Mark Evenchick for a few songs.
- Debbie Rubin is a vocalist and banjo player who has been a key Gil’s Hootenanny organizer for many years. She is part of the group Local Colour and also the Ottawa Simcha Band. A retired teacher from Algonquin College, Debbie is a visual artist as well as musician.
- Mark Evenchick was the winner of the 2016 Hootenanny songwriting contest. His 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.
For all of these talented musicians, playing in Gil’s Hootenanny is a natural extension of their identity, as equity, social activism and social justice, combined with audience participation, are central to their performance style.
The 2018 Gil’s Hootenanny will take place on Tuesday, May 1st at 7:30 pm in the Clarke Room 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 are available online and can be purchased (cash only) at Metro Music, 695 Bank Street & Octopus Books, 16 Third Avenue. Tickets are $10; kids free.