• By: Katie Hartai

Folk in the City: Celebrating Canadian Talent

Sounds of CityFolk are echoing throughout Ottawa, with the much anticipated music festival kicking off next week.

This year’s line-up the most brag-worthy to date, and OLM has put together a quick list of Canadian performers you won’t want to miss!

Motel Raphaël


Clara Legault, Emily Skahan and Maya Malkin lead this young indie-folk-pop band from Montreal. All singers, songwriters and guitarists, Motel Raphael officially formed in 2012. The band went on to become a seven piece unit over the course of the next two years adding Dane Stewart (vibraphone), Livia Morris (trumpet), Robin Warner (bass) and Afolabi Fapojuwo (drums). They have headlined performances at POP Montreal, Fringe Fest and been ranked one of CBC Music’s Searchlight standouts in 2013. Their first album, Cable TV was released in 2014 and their second is expected to be released early next year. Have a listen to their distinctive three-part harmonies in the song, ‘Ghosts.’

This past weekend Motel Raphaël played at Supercrawl, Hamilton’s annual celebration of music. On their journey back to Montreal, I spoke with Malkin about the band’s upcoming performance at CityFolk.

“We can’t wait to be a part of the festival and see what it is like,” says Malkin. “There are some awesome artists in the lineup that we look up to like Van Morrison, Patrick Watson and Walk Off the Earth and we are just humbled to be on the same bill as them.”

Malkin sees the importance of music festivals like CityFolk for all Canadian artists.

“They showcase obviously people like Patrick Watson and Van Morison but then they also give us, people who don’t really have a name for themselves yet, a platform to shine and a place for people to discover us and for us to grow in the Canadian music industry,” she says. “It’s awesome that we have got to play all these Canadian festivals. I find Canada in general is very supportive of the underground music scene.”

Motel Raphaël takes to CityFolk’s Ravenlaw stage Friday September, 18 from 6:00-6:45.

Scarlett Jane


This rootsy folk-pop duo is made of Andrea Ramolo and Cindy Doire. Best friends for the better part of a decade, they toured together for years as solo artists before realizing their musical chemistry. Scarlett Jane officially formed in 2012. Their debut album Stranger, brought in widespread notice and radio play in 2014 after being re-mixed and re-mastered. It earned them two Canadian Folk Music Award nominations for Best Emerging Artist and Best Vocal Group. A track on the album, Wild Fire, took Scarlett Jane to the semi-finals of the world-wide International Songwriting Competition. This past June the girls released a new self-titled album that showcases a collection of their tightly knit harmonies and lyrical poetry. Have a listen to their summer single ‘Little Secret.’

Scarlett Jane perform Thursday, September 17 from 6:00-6:45pm on the Ravenlaw stage.



Wintersleep is an indie-rock band from Halifax, Nova Scotia. Loel Campbell (drums), Paul Murphy (guitar/vocals), Tim D’Eon (guitar/keyboards), Mike Bigelow (keyboards/bass guitar) and Jon Samuel (keyboards/backing vocals/guitar) came together in 2001 and have since released five albums. Their music style is rooted in indie rock but features occasional ambient and alternative elements. These 2008 Juno Award winners have performed for audiences across Europe, Asia and here in North America with David Letterman. Their most recent album, Hello Hum, was released in 2012. At CityFolk, Wintersleep will be sharing some tunes from their past records as well as new favourites from an upcoming album. Listen to the glowing melodies and admire the subtle complexities of one of the band’s biggest hits, ‘Weighty Ghost.’

Wintersleep plays Thursday September 17, from 10-11:15pm on the Ravenlaw stage.

The Barr Brothers

Photo by John Londono.

Montreal-based Americana/folk-rock quartet the Barr Brothers formed in 2006 based around the vocals and songwriting of Bradd Barr and his brother Andrew’s drumming. They teamed up with classically trained harpist Sarah Pagé and multi-instrumentalist Andres Vial later on, releasing their debut self-titled album in 2011. Harmoniously balancing folk, rock and blues, the band has a unique sound that plays with weaving string arrangements. They were invited to perform on The Late Show with David Letterman in January 2012 and were also nominated for a Juno Award in 2013 for Album of the Year. In 2014, their second album Sleeping Operator came out. Click here to listen to ‘Half Crazy,’ an essential song off the new collection.

The Barr Brothers hit the stage Saturday September 19, from 4:15-5:15pm on the Telus stage.

Charlie ACourt

Charlie A'Court Photo Cred Riley Smith
Photo by Riley Smith.


Charlie A’Court is a roots-blues singer-songwriter-guitarist from Nova Scotia. He began wowing crowds in local bars with his mighty voice and fierce guitar work at the age of 16. Now A’Court is internationally recognized for his talent and has won a host of awards including Music Nova Scotia Best Blues Artist in 2003 and Nova Scotia’s Top Entertainer at the 2009 Music Nova Scotia Awards. His debut album Colour Me Gone came out in 2003. Most recently this past May, A’Court released his fifth album Come On Over, which won the 2015 East Coast Music Award for Blues Recording of the Year. Check out the title track and lead single from Come On Over here.

A’Court is performing Sunday September 20, from 5:00-5:45pm on the Ravenlaw stage.

It’s not too late to pick up CityFolk tickets on the festival’s website. Get yours before they’re gone!