“A seamless, polished, barrel-drum-tight, rhythmically innovative and wildly entertaining traditional music powerhouse.” ( The Guardian-2014)
Members of Ten Strings And A Goat Skin, a bilingual band hailing from Prince Edward Island Canada, multiple nominees for the 2013 Canadian Folk Music Awards, East Coast Music Awards and Music PEI Awards, are having the time of their lives as a trad/folk/fusion trio. Weaving the music of the Irish, Acadian, Francophone and Maritime cultures and their original creations with modern and world rhythms, Ten Strings And A Goat Skin have created a fiery, contagious and unique sound that has them in demand and touring extensively throughout Canada, the United States and Europe.
Industry heavyweights have referenced the group’s rare musicality that belies the musicians young ages. With Caleb Gallant, 18 years, as percussionist, Rowen, violinist, and Jesse, guitarist, at aged 20, the lads are pushing boundaries and reinvigorating timeless traditional music for the 21st century. The group’s creativity and unique style has not gone unnoticed. In a recent review of the group, London England’s “Kreol International Magazine” made the following observation: “One of the greatest features of the music industry is the ability for any band from any corner of the globe to achieve widespread notoriety and success. No matter where a band comes from or what kind of music it performs, it is possible for the band to garner attention and gain fans from across the globe. What makes music even more special is the ability for particular groups to succeed while defining their own genre. In a way Ten Strings And A Goat Skin is the perfect example.”
A recent Trad Magazine France feature article (issue 157 Sept/Oct 2014) on the group called them “Une Vent Frais et Novateur de Ille de Prince Eduard”. [ A Fresh And Innovative Wind From Prince Edward Island]
Jesse, Rowen and Caleb highly respect the traditions of the music they play but are riding the wave that is redefining the roots of that music. Their original material maintains solid traditional elements but explores rich world flavours and textures. The results have been described as intoxicating and refreshing and recently, a music industry professional, directed to see the group, stated the sentiment, “I don't like Trad but I love this!”
By both French and English audiences, the trio is humbled by the huge reaction they have received towards their music. They just as easily connect with the indie music crowd as they do with the traditionalist and notably, their fan base carries no age barrier so including children to seniors and those in between.
A recent article in Marque Wire Magazine from Milwaukee, Wisconsin reviewed the boys performance at Summerfest (the biggest music festival in the world) saying that while groups like Bruno Mars and Motley Crue were amazing, other smaller acts like Ten Strings And A Goat Skin (referred to as “a gem”) were every bit as good.
All three band members are proudly Canadian by birth but their roots stretch across the globe. Rowan and Caleb are natives of Prince Edward Island on Canada’s eastern coastline. Their root’s encompass Acadian, Irish, Scottish, and English heritage and were fortunate to grow up at time of French/Acadien cultural/language resurgence. Jesse grew up on Prince Edward Island but was born in Canada’s only remaining French province, Quebec, and so grew up in a bilingual home with French education. The members of Ten Strings And A Goat Skin believe their cultural backgrounds has allowed them to appeal to a wider range of music lovers.
From humble beginnings came the music of Ten Strings And A Goat Skin with a first performance at a community fundraiser to paint the local parish church in Rustico, PEI. Not having a band name to introduce the boys, a family friend took stock of the instruments and suggested the name that has served them well. They’ve never looked back and the church got painted.
The year of 2014 has seen the group perform at major Canadian and International festivals and theatres as well as many wonderful smaller venues. They have had the privilege, in a very short music career, to perform in some of the worlds premiere festivals including Festival Interceltique de L’orient (France), which included stadium shows to over 75,000 people, the Philadelphia Folk Festival, considered the Granddaddy of folk festivals , Festival International de Lafayette, Rythym and Roots Festival, Winterlude (Ottawa), Artsplosure, Raleigh, and Summerfest (Milwaukee.)
In addition to live shows, the group has recently performed in television and radio productions. In September 2014 a new Canadian national television production “Balade a Toronto”, which highlights rising stars in Canadian Music, featured its premier show with Ten Strings And A Goat Skin, they were presented on TV5 France to an audience of 4 million as part of the Festival Interceltique de L’orient and In addition, they were featured on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) nationally televised Canada Day show. The trio has enjoyed numerous interviews on radio, locally, nationally and internationally.
With it’s latest album, “Corbeau”, Ten Strings And A Goat Skin has received wonderful reviews and multiple award nominations. A UK FolkWorld music review states, “Corbeau is one of the top trad albums of 2013. Fetch a copy”, and suggest that the group relates to the British Group Lau or the Irish American Group Solas. Trad Magazine (France) has been hugely complimentary. In addition, the groups album has been listed on numerous top ten folk album list at year end 2013.
The opportunities presented to the trio have been tremendous. They have been fortunate and their hard work and commitment to the music is being noted all over. Playing such prestigious festivals as the Philadelphia Folk Festival is very exciting and the venues have been very generous . A comment from a senior industry player serves as a testament to what the group has been able to achieve in short order. “Several of our programming committee saw Ten Strings And A Goat Skin at various Canadian events in the last year. We agreed, unanimously, that they represented the best of the contemporary/traditional Celtic music, and booked them for our 2014 Festival.” Jesse Lundy – Point Entertainment, co-artistic director Philadelphia Folk Festival.
The group Ten Strings And A Goat Skin, who are as happy at a local irish session or fiddle camp as they are on a main stage, are very excited about the future and their music. The spirit of the tradition is in good hands with Ten Strings And A Goat Skin.
GoldenOak is an emerging sound in New England folk music. A Portland, Maine based, Indie-Soul-Folk, sibling duo, Zak and Lena Kendall were born and raised in the Sandy River Valley of Western Maine. The two started making music together as kids and the bond of brother and sister is evident in their carefully crafted songs, poetic lyrics, and flowing harmonies. Influenced early by legends like Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young, Simon and Garfunkel, and The Band, and by the like of Fleet Foxes, First Aid Kit, and Ray LaMontagne.
GoldenOak began writing music and performing in 2014. Their early songs led to their first official release, Pleasant St., in 2016, an album they co-wrote with cellist Seth Wegner. The full length album painted the landscape of the duo’s childhood and their experiences growing up and leaving home. Appropriately, they recorded with accompaniments on electric guitar, cello, and trumpet, from hometown friends. The original album with beautiful instrumentation and voice solidified the band as ambassadors of the Maine Folk Scene.
Following Pleasant St. Zak and Lena produced the Acadia Sessions, a series of live video sessions to highlight the album as they toured widely in the Northeast gaining in audience and recognition. The homegrown and honest approach of the band shows integrity and style, earning them praise across the board. The success of Pleasant St. and the following tour gained GoldenOak a nomination as “one of Portland's most important upcoming bands” by Dispatch Magazine.
In October 2017, GoldenOak released Foxgloves, a 6 track EP that builds on Zak and Lena's folk roots with a remarkable orchestral approach. On the EP, the siblings expand their earthy sound and songwriting with percussion, piano, trumpet, cello, and violin. Evolvement Radio said of the EP, “the vocals are little more than another pair of instruments adding another exquisite layer of atmosphere to the songs. It’s not until ‘side two’ of the EP that Zak and Lena’s vocals take center stage in the mix. When they do step out vocally, they bring a stunning release of energy to the songs.” The band kicked off their Foxgloves release tour with a sold out show at Portland’s One Longfellow Square, and in December, Foxgloves was voted “EP of the Year” by the Portland Music Awards.
As GoldenOak evolves and pushes boundaries, they continue to sow seeds in a rich folk tradition. Zak and Lena record and often tour with fellow musicians and band mates, Mike Knowles (Bass), and Jackson Cromwell (percussion). Over the last two years, they shared the stage with many notable artists such as Lady Lamb, The Dustbowl Revival, The Ghost of Paul Revere, The Mallett Brothers Band, and Parsonsfield.