Tuesday, June 30, 2015

A is for Alvvays and for the Arkells

     July 1st is Canada Day.  There is much to celebrate in this great country of mine. So, with the A-to-Z Challenge in mind, I am going to spend the next few weeks showcasing some of the best and brightest musical talents that ply their trade from sea to sea to sea in Canada.   Some names may be recognizable around the world but many will not.  In either case, I hope that you discover some hidden gems and/or reacquaint yourself with some old favourites.
     First up, the letter, "A".

     Hailing from the east coast of Canada, I am proud to present a band called, Alvvays (pronounced "Always").  The lead singer is a young woman named Mollie Rankin.  In Nova Scotia and, specifically, on Cape Breton Island, the Rankin name is associated with musical royalty.  Mollie's father was the late John Morris Rankin who, along with his brother Jimmy and sisters, Heather Raylene and Cookie, formed The Rankin Family.  The Rankins, as they were known, were in the forefront of a national resurgence in Celtic music.  So, it was quite common for young Mollie to find herself at ceilidhs (kitchen parties) with the likes of Buddy and Natalie McMaster, Ashley MacIsaac, the Barra McNeills and, of course, the queen of Cape Breton Island, Rita McNeil, all in attendance.  Mollie's musical upbringing was rich and helped form a solid foundation for her to begin building her own career.

     Alvvays has been gaining steady ground in the Canadian Indie and Alternative music scenes.  The song that I am showcasing in this post has been received warmly across North America and has charted on University radio stations in Canada and the U.S.   Please enjoy, "Archie, Marry Me" by Alvvays.

     The Arkells are the rising stars of the Canadian music scene.  They won the Juno Award (Canada's music award) for Best New Group in 2010, as well as, for Group of the Year in 2012 and in 2015.  They originated in Hamilton, Ontario and are named after a street that most of the band members lived on as children.  The Arkells have built a solid fanbase by relentless touring across Canada, the U.S. and Europe.  They are now headlining their own tours and are forging a social media presence; especially on Twitter, where they caused a recent stir by circulating a rumour that their lead singer was slated to replace a departed member of boy band, One Direction.   In any case, their current hit is "Come to Light".  This video was from their performance at this year's Juno Awards where they were named Group of the Year.  Please enjoy.

    A tip of the hat goes to other great Canadian "A"-list artists of varying degrees of renown:

80s Metal Queen, Lee Aaron,  Canadian icon, Bryan Adams, hugely talented, Jann Arden, the first great northern star, Susan Aglukark, current super group, Arcade Fire, infamous rockers, Anvil, Pop and Alternative darlings, Apostle of Hustle, hard rockers, Alexisonfire, the Talented Alanis Morrisette, classic rock band, April Wine and the "A" name who put Canada on the musical map, Paul Anka.    

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