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34th Annual Vancouver Folk Music Festival review

Photo by Jason Rowe.

A cross section of this year's Vancouver Folk Music Festival hardly conveys the magic that took place on the 7+ stages last weekend. Five performances, however, can serve as a sample of the excellent music performed on Saturday July 16th, 2011.

Pokey LaFarge & The South City Three brought authentic country melodies from the South to the folk festival stage. Jaw-dropping blues harp solos and a washboard player with shakers and a bicycle horn attached brought jazz and gospel standards to life.

Spiro flew in from the UK to play with the multi-talented Cassius Khan and Albertan pop artist Wendy McNeill on Saturday.  Drum 'n' bass and tabla mixed at that tree-covered stage around 2:00 in the afternoon. The eight-piece band "Musical Masala" featured harmonium, guitar, upright bass, and were they ever spicy.

Joel Plaskett, Elliott Brood and The Fugitives ventured into themes of patriotism and long distance love. Bowed banjo, hearty vocals and spoken word drew the audience in.

The Burning Hell was not nearly as nasty as the name sounds. Genuine, quippy stories and unique instrumentation (including cello, violin, bass, drums, baritone sax, clarinet and ukelele) forced laughs and dance moves out of even the most reluctant in the crowd. Lead vocalist Mathias Kom is a modern day suburban dreamer with nothing to hide or prove. The-Mountain-Goats-esque vocals with humour comparable to Flight of the Conchords converted hundreds of listeners into fans at this year's Folk Festival.

Buck 65 shared his moving, emotive anecdotes with a perceptive mass. Starting off with reggaeton beats, Buck proved he can successfully carry his music in new directions. With relaxed grooves and lyrical content beyond his years, Buck was truly having fun with the rest of us.

Check out these artists by clicking on the links above and pre-purchase your tickets for next year's folk festival to be sure you don't miss it.

Follow me on Twitter: @gomikeyourself

IndieVan, Your Vancouver Live Music Blog

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