The Yukon Arts Centre earned its name this month. Kim Beggs
and Po’ Girl played a double bill on Feb. 4 and again
at the 27th Annual Frostbite Music Festival.
Beggs’ set featured songs from her recently released
CD, Streetcar Heart. She was right at home on the stage,
chatting to the audience throughout the evening as if all
were old friends. Heading out after this show on a five-week,
self-confessed “Unknown Tour” of Canada, she’ll
be back in Whitehorse on March 15 playing at The Boiler
With Po’ Girl taking the stage, the evening shifted
to a more progressive blend of jazz-blues vocal improvisation
with folk-rock instrumentation. The three principals in
Po' Girl are multi-instrumentalist and sing in their own
vocal style. They followed this show with performances in
Dawson, Haines Junction then back to Whitehorse for The
A fluid flow of attendees seemed to pervade the Arts Centre
as Frostbite’s first night began. Overall images of
people staring at programs, meeting up with friends and
standing in line for tickets, coat check and beer would
sum up the action in the foyer.
Opening the big stage was Rae Spoon from Alberta. This young
songwriter broke the ice with gritty guitar and prairie
I have a soft spot for artists who rend and squeeze their
instrument of choice. In the hands of a master improvisationalist,
various implements become tools of inspiration. Ping pong
balls, drum sticks and guitar picks in the hands of Marilyn
Lerner explored the inner workings of the festival grand
piano to great effect. This is difficult listening music,
not for the faint of heart.
By 10:00 p.m., the hall was filled for Irish troubadour
Andy White. Po’ Girl vocalist, Allison Russell, joined
him for most of his set. His songs of peace, love and understanding
gave out a positive vibration for those tuned to the frequency.
Carolyn Mark and Her New Best Friends closed out Friday
with a Grand Ole Opry style performance of hurtin’,
drinkin’ and travelin’ songs. All of the Best
Friends wore Nashville-inspired suits and Mark herself wore
a spectacular black polyester dress. Yee Ha!
Saturday night, Kim Barlow staged a multi-media performance
of A Lucky Burden, her songs of Keno City, to an enthusiastic
audience. A documentary film by Andrew Connors, showing
the town past and present, was projected above the band
as they spun out a soundtrack accompaniment.
Ember Swift left the audience smouldering as she and her
partners in music flashed through an hour of music. She
plays an extremely fused style of music, one of those great
performers who can make each song stylistically unique yet
place her own signature on the face of it. She returned
for a well-deserved encore. Those in attendance participated
in a sing-a-long that will not soon be forgotten in the
history of Frostbite.
In this part of the world there is no better way to shed
the winter skins and greet the spring than The Frostbite