MABOU: An award-winning Canadian vocal group will bring their eclectic style and four part harmonies to the Strathspey Place in their new show, “A Quartette Christmas.”
Quartette, which features Cindy Church, Caitlin Hanford, Gwen Swick, and Sylvia Tyson will be performing in Mabou on December 8.
The original group came together at a “songwriter in the round” concert in Toronto in 1993. Since then, Quartette has toured throughout Canada and released six recordings. They have been nominated for several Juno awards and won a Canadian Country Music Award for best vocal collaboration.
Gwen Swick, who joined the group in 1996 told The Reporter their style is a blend of folk, country, bluegrass, and jazz, but the spotlight is on their distinctive vocal harmonies.
“People can expect to hear lots of singing. We’re four singer-songwriters, so all our materials has four part harmony,” said Swick. “We love exploring different genres, but anything we do has to work with vocals.”
“A Quartette Christmas” will feature a blend of original and traditional music with a seasonal theme. Swick says the group enjoys performing traditional Christmas songs such as “What Child is this?” and “O Holy Night.”
“They’re already set up so beautifully for harmony vocals that it’s a real thrill to do them,” said Swick.
Although three of Quartette’s members live in Ontario, the group has some Nova Scotia connections. Swick said she spent part of her childhood in Dartmouth and often explored various parts of Nova Scotia, including Cape Breton. Fellow band member Cindy Church was originally from Bible Hill. Swick said the group is excited to kick-off their Christmas tour in Mabou and to connect with the local audience.
“One of the things we really love doing is meeting people after the show. I feel you really get to know the character of the audience and the community, and over time, the country,” said Swick.
“So many musicians come out of Cape Breton, and I know that there’s a strong musical foundation there, which just makes it a greater pleasure for us at as well.”
Although the vocals are front and centre, all four women also play guitar. In addition, Sylvia Tyson plays accordion, and Swick plays some banjo. The quartet will be joined by Steve Briggs on guitar, Randall Kempf on bass, and Randall Coryell on drums and percussion. All three have been touring with Quartette for decades.
“Because there are seven of us and we travel together, it’s a very nice family. We enjoy each other onstage and off. That’s another plus for us,” said Swick. “They’re very intuitive players and they know us well, so it’s a good partnership.
The show begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at: www.strathspeyplace.com or by calling 902-945-5300.