Ontario @ Folk Alliance International 2024

Thu 22nd - Sat 24th February 2024
Kansas City, MO

February 21-25, 2024 - ROOM 640 - Westin City at Crown Center (Kansas City, MO)

MusicOntario is back at Folk Alliance International in Kansas City this February 21-25, 2024 to host what would be our eighth annual private showcase room - suite 640 - at Folk Alliance International 2024, the world’s largest gathering of the folk music industry and community (crossing a diverse array of genres including Blues, Bluegrass, Roots, Celtic, Cajun, Appalachian, Traditional, World, and Singer-Songwriter), boasting a comprehensive conference, custom business opportunities and hundreds of showcasing opportunities.

We're proud to bring you this incredible lineup of 25 artists, made possible with a stellar group of partners, including:

Ontario Creates, CIMA, the City of Toronto, the Canadian Federation of Musicians, Folk Music Ontario, Global Toronto, Folk Music Canada, Small World Music, and FACTOR!

Get to know the showcasing artists: 

Mikhail Laxton

Thursday February 22, 2024 @ 11:00-11:15

As 2020 got underway, Ottawa-based singer/songwriter Mikhail Laxton was set to open the next chapter of his life with the release of his debut EP, Real, a collection of Soul-folk gems. But what should have been the wider world’s introduction to the Australian-born artist’s immense talent—already established in his homeland through appearances on Australia’s version of The Voice—was lost in the cacophony of pandemic confusion.

Mikhail coped the only way he could, by wiping the slate clean and re-emerging with a new crop of songs drawn from the core of his being. His new album is simply entitled Mikhail Laxton, because it is who he is.

The contrast between his first EP and Mikhail Laxton is striking. On “Something That Was Gone” he takes stock of the past two years in meditative fashion, almost as if channelling Otis Redding’s “Dock Of The Bay.” “Maybe It’s A Good Thing” continues in that vein, suggesting that change always brings hope, regardless of the circumstances. Meanwhile, other tracks take Mikhail’s sound in new directions, such as the deep country-Soul of “Streams,” the sultry, vintage R&B of “Slow Motion,” and the driving rock of “Leaving You With Less.”

Not only does Mikhail Laxton fulfill the promise of his debut, it firmly establishes him as one of the most vital new voices within the Canadian music scene. No matter what genre labels are placed upon him, there can be no disputing that Mikhail Laxton has his own timeless sound, the product of a unique life experience.

Phyllis Sincliar

Thursday February 22, 2024 @ 11:20-11:35

Called "A Lady of Conviction" by Maverick Magazine, Canadian Folk Music Award Nominee, Phyllis Sinclair ignites compassionate, culturally-respectful perspectives and ways of thinking through her songs and stories. Phyllis speaks to Indigenous realities that also point to the power of her culture’s spirituality, using astronomy and mythology to educate and support through hundreds of years of deprivation and mistreatment. #1 Canadian Folk, Roots, Blues Chart, Top 100 Albums of 2021 on CKUA Radio Network.

Barbra Lica

Thursday February 22, 2024 @ 11:40-11:55

JUNO-nominated singer-songwriter-producer Barbra Lica is a seasoned act on the North American club and festival circuits. She has performed everywhere, from New York City’s legendary Birdland to Toronto’s prestigious Koerner Hall. She has also headlined at festivals around the world including Festival International de Jazz de Montréal, Tokyo International Jazz Festival, Port-au-Prince International Jazz Festival, and Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival, and opened for the likes of Christian McBride, Pat Metheny, Bob Dorough, and Terence Blanchard. Her 2018 album, You’re Fine, marked the introduction of Folk and Americana elements to her repertoire and amassed over 6 million streams to date on Spotify.

More recently, her first-ever self produced album, Imposter Syndrome, garnered her two 2024 Canadian Folk Music Awards nominations in the categories of Single of the Year (In 40 Years) and Solo Artist of the Year. The album single, The Ghost of Me, took home the 2023 Ontario Folk Music Awards CMRRA Song of the Year prize. In addition to writing for herself, Barbra has written cuts for such artists as jazz crooner Matt Dusk (Entertainment One/Universal), rising J-Pop singer Harumi (Sony Music Japan), and Taiwanese pop recording artist, Morrison Ma (Universal Music Group/X Entertainment). She is also the co-founder/arranger (with Anders Azzopardi), and lead vocalist for the Toronto Chamber-Pop Orchestra, an all new folk-jazz-classical crossover project featuring all-original music cinematically arranged for 14 instruments plus voice.

Miranda Mulholland

Thursday February 22, 2024 @12:00-12:15

Miranda Mulholland is a Canadian Musician, Label Owner and Artistic Director of the Muskoka Music Festival. Her most recent solo release, By Appointment or Chance, was nominated for a JUNO for Traditional Roots Album of the Year. Her touring and recording credits include Great Lake Swimmers, Bowfire, Harrow Fair, Donovan Woods, The Jim Cuddy Band and many, many more. She has performed on over 100 albums as well as TV shows and film scores. She runs the boutique record label, Roaring Girl Records, which is the home to a select group of diverse artists. Not limited to band performances, Miranda has appeared in various theatre productions including the Dora winning productions of Parfumerie and The New York Times’ Critic’s Pick Spoon River with Soulpepper Theatre in Toronto and in NYC. Over the past five years, Miranda has emerged as one of the world's foremost artist advocates, speaking at the World Intellectual Property Organization, World Trade Organization, a NAFTA negotiating round in Washington, Midem, Canadian Music Week, and was the first music creator to take the podium at the Economic Club of Canada. Miranda was awarded Intellectual Property Champion by the US Chamber of Commerce and was Runner-up to Margaret Atwood for Artist of the Year Award from the Globe and Mail.

Moneka Arabic Jazz

Thursday February 22, 2024 @12:20-12:35

Ahmed's journey and cultural background are reflected in his music project, which showcases the 'maqam' style of folk Arabic music that he learned while growing up in Baghdad, Iraq. Ahmed combines this style with African groove and rhythm he inherited from his African descendants, the well-known Moneka family. Since arriving in Toronto, Canada in 2015, Ahmed has been collaborating with local musicians and sharing his heritage with everyone. The fusion of jazz, folk Maqam in his music serves as a bridge between his Afro-Arabic background and the diverse Toronto music scene. The band, features some of the best musicians in Toronto and has gained popularity within the music community.

Kellie Loder

Thursday February 22, 2024 @ 12:40-12:55

There is something truly captivating about Juno Award nominee and the ECMA 2023 Songwriter and Fan’s Choice Entertainer of the Year Kellie Loder. They are a gifted and accomplished songwriter with a voice that conveys warmth and power. Their lyrical brilliance is honest and vulnerable in ways that make the music feel deeply personal lending to their unmatched songwriting prowess, and distinctive blend of folk, Americana, and indie pop influences. Loder’s signature sound coupled with their magnetic stage presence has earned them notable accolades including multiple East Coast Music Awards, placing first-runner-up on Canada’s Got Talent (2022), and co-writing with household names such as Alan Doyle, Steven Page, The Good Lovelies, and Grammy award-winning musician and producer, Greg Wells alongside many others.

Kellie’s new album, “Transitions” set to drop in April 2024 follows on the heels of their award-winning release, Benefit of The Doubt (2018), offering a stunningly crafted masterpiece of original songs with stories of love, heartbreak, life, and transitions. “When It Comes to You”, the lead single charted in the coveted #1 spot on CBC Music’s Top 20 and gives listeners a glimpse of the pure authenticity of one of Newfoundland’s most promising and celebrated songwriters. As spoken by Howie Mandal and Simon Cowell (Canada’s Got Talent), Loder has a bright future ahead, and one thing is for certain, Kellie Loder is a towering talent about to explode on the world stage.

Sam Krüger

Thursday February 22, 2024 @ 1:00-1:15

In 2016, after a year of saving up his measly paycheques from working the overnight shift at McDonalds, the moment had arrived. Sam packed a carry-on, and an acoustic guitar before taking the bus from London Ontario to Montreal where he’s been ever since. This singer-songwriter has become known for his honest, tell-all style. Combining humour and emotional lyricism through a style that sounds familiar yet is difficult to put one's finger on.

Lonesome Ace Stringband

Thursday February 22, 2024 @ 1:20-1:35

Bluegrass Unlimited describes The Lonesome Ace Stringband as “Three powerful musicians playing some powerful music.” The band brings grit, skill and abandon to old-time, Appalachian folk songs and fiddle/banjo tunes. These are songs and tunes for life and all of its occasions: weddings, dances, parties and funerals. The music comes from a tradition that has inspired and brought together generations of people. It’s themes - love, loss, hard work and hardship, faith, and everyday life - speak to everyone. The members are Chris Coole on banjo, John Showman on fiddle and an all-star cast of bass players including founding member Max Malone, Charles James, Lotus Wight and James McEleney. Together they bring a deep respect for the roots of the music, a keen sense of innovation to the performance and material, and a passion for the sound that transcends both.

Zachary Lucky

Friday February 23, 2024 @ 11:00-11:15

He is unapologetically old-school country, armed with a husky, baritone voice - He often receives comparisons to songwriters such as Gordon Lightfoot and Kris Kristofferson. He sings of Canadian places and people as knowingly as he might Townes Van Zandt or the Rio Grande. It's a relatable show on many levels, and conjures universal feelings that have passed through our collective timelines. Already hailed as a master storyteller by outlets ranging from No Depression to The Globe and Mail, Zachary is becoming a legend in his own right and has safely reserved his spot at the table of Canadian roots royalty.


Friday February 23, 2024 @ 11:20-11:35

Toronto's Polky, led by multi-talented female musicians, delights audiences with joyful vocal harmonies, unusual instruments, and upbeat performances. Drawing deep inspiration from Poland's rich cultural tapestry, they push musical boundaries by fearlessly blending Polish traditional music with sounds and rhythms from across the globe, carving out a niche entirely their own. With their infectious charm, captivating performances, and unyielding passion for exploration, Polky is undoubtedly a band that stands apart. Their music is not just a sonic experience but a celebration of cultural diversity, women empowerment, an invitation to revel in the joy of life, and a reminder that, deep down, we are all connected by the power of music.

Shakura S'Aida

Friday February 23, 2024 @ 11:40-11:55

Juno and Blues Award Nominated Singer/Songwriter and Multi-lingual Shakura S'Aida has toured extensively internationally. The Brooklyn-born, Swiss-raised entertainer has garnered not only an international recording and touring career but has shone/ on the theatre stage as star and creator of the four-woman tribute to Nina Simone, The Nina Project, and in roles on-screen including as Lena, member of the beloved “Jazzagals” in the acclaimed series Schitt’s Creek, and most recently as Cora Lewis, mother to Batwoman in DC Comics / Warner Brothers hit series of the same name.

Elliott BROOD

Friday February 23, 2024 @ 12:00-12:15

From the Polaris Music Prize shortlisted breakout album Mountain Meadows to the JUNO Award winning Days Into Years, the well-traveled trio of Mark Sasso, Casey Laforet and Stephen Pitkin have created a body of work that is at once meticulous and boisterous, substantial and entertaining.

For 20 years, Elliott BROOD has journeyed through genres, history, stories and countless kms on the road. They mine old-timey topics and traditions, with a guitar banjo-focused sound that’s earnest and raucous; story-driven roots rock that glistens with warmth and wide-eyed, though slightly world-weary, wonder.

The warm, organic playing, soaring voices, and audible bond between band members Mark Sasso, Casey Laforet, and Stephen Pitkin makes Elliott BROOD feel like a well-worn and comfortable pair of shoes that still has enough traction to tread many more miles on journeys yet to come.


Friday February 23, 2024 @ 12:20-12:35

Fusing Afro-Cuban roots with jazz, folk and global rhythms in songs about immigration, resistance and love, OKAN takes their name from the word for heart in their Afro-Cuban religion of Santeria. With vocals in Spanish, Yoruba and Spanglish, the Juno-winning duo features Cuban-born violinist and vocalist Elizabeth Rodriguez and percussionist and vocalist Magdelys Savigne, both Grammy and Latin-Grammy nominees.

Jessica Rhaye

Friday February 23, 2024 @ 12:40-12:55

Jessica Rhaye is a singer/songwriter from New Brunswick, Canada with 6 Full-Length albums to her name, including her recent album Sunshine Baby, which garnered glowing buzz from Americana UK, Americana Highways, BBC Radio, Fatea UK, Great Dark Wonder, Sirius XM “North Americana” + many more. Jessica is a John Lennon Songwriting Finalist in the “Folk Category and has received multiple ECMA Nominations and was a Canadian Folk Music Nominee. Past Performances include Mariposa Folk Festival, Stan Rogers Folk Festival, Shivering Songs Festival, Hotel Café with notable co-writers including Matt Andersen, Ron Sexsmith, Steven Poltz.


Friday February 23, 2024 @ 1:00-1:15

Toronto-based indie-folk duo, Basset, carry a deep love of the natural world in their meditative and critically acclaimed music, as songwriters Yasmine Shelton and Sam Clark weave dreamy harmonies and intricate instrumentation into heartwarming pieces.

Rebekah Hawker

Friday February 23, 2024 @ 1:20-1:35

With roots in church choir harmonies and songwriting prowess built on an art-rock adolescence, it’s not so surprising that Rebekah Hawker ultimately found herself at the intersection of country and folk, embracing the full spectrum the genres have to offer. Hawker’s accolades include winning Folk Music Ontario’s Songs from the Heart award in 2020 and showcasing at their 2022/2023 conferences. Supported by FACTOR and Ontario Arts Council, Hawker’s latest single “Ticket”, featured on Gems on VHS's monthly playlist, is a classic midtempo country song about two things that never go out of style, in any genre: broken hearts and broken dreams.

Sarah Hiltz

Friday February 23, 2024 @ 1:40-1:55

Sarah Hiltz is a singer-songwriter based in Toronto,Canada. Her new album CALM FURY is a collection of songs that grew out of her research into the ways we humans experience, express and suppress anger in modern society, especially women.


Saturday February 24, 2024 @ 11:00-11:15

Ammoye is a unique multidimensional vocalist raised in the tradition of Reggae music. Hailing from Clarendon, Jamaica and now residing in Toronto, Canada, this 6X Juno Award nominee is at the forefront of the genre domestically and making waves internationally. Ammoye is easily cast as one of Canada’s best Reggae and fusion vocalists, and considered by many music tastemakers as Canadian Reggae’s “Next Big Thing”. With an impressive stage presence to match her powerful and soulful vocals, Ammoye delivers uplifting messages of love, unity, and social justice. Ammoye's songs speak to themes of compassion, forgiveness, empowerment, and the importance of standing up for what is right. Ammoye’s sophomore album, “Water” (2021), earned her a 2023 JUNO Award nomination for “Reggae Recording Of The Year” as well as Grammy Award consideration. A blend of old-school rocksteady, dancehall and dubstep sprinkled with gospel, soul and R&B, the 13 track LP featured a cast of producers from Canada, Jamaica, the U.S. and Germany. With its release and acclaim began a new era of international appeal and opportunities.

In 2024, Ammoye plans to release The Shift. A natural follow-up and continuation of the sound she established on Water, The Shift will focus on themes of realignment and harmony during the transformational phases of our lives. It is about finding the light and celebrating the highest truth, harnessing the power both collectively and within. Ammoye has found the new version of herself, and through telling her story, wants her audience to find theirs too.

Maggie’s Wake

Saturday February 24, 2024 @ 11:20-11:35

Maggie's Wake is a Canadian contemporary folk group, creating a new traditional sound. Blending high twang, classic country with fresh jigs and reels, cajun twin fiddles and reggae rhythms, their music is an original, genre hopping adventure that is constantly evolving.

United in their passion for fiery tunes, soaring vocals with rich harmonies, meaningful stories and beautiful melodies, Maggie's Wake embraces their wide ranging influences and have built an exciting, new sound. The band features award winning songwriter and musician Tara Dunphy (The Rizdales, Luther Wright and the Wrongs) on tin whistle, flute, fiddle, guitar, banjo and lead vocals and award winning musician Lindsay Schindler (Rant Maggie Rant, Trent Severn) on fiddle and vocals. The powerhouse backing band includes Stephan Szczesniak on percussion, Andrew Kosty on bass Dean Harrison on piano and accordian and Kenneth Palmer on guitar.

Dale Watson, the Texas honky tonk legend, says "You can't grow if you rip your roots out of the ground" and Maggie's Wake have taken that to heart. They are honouring tradition while forging their own path in roots music.

Cassie and Maggie

Saturday February 24, 2024 @ 11:40-11:55

In the heart of Nova Scotia, where the salt of the sea mingles with the depth of the soul, sisters, Cassie and Maggie, unite as a powerful and commanding folk duo. Rooted in their deep Celtic heritage, their melodies sing of truths that resonate through time while bridging the gap between tradition and innovation. With spellbinding harmonies and virtuosic instrumental prowess these sisters infuse the rich traditions of their region with a contemporary vitality, resulting in a sound that's both timeless and fresh. Their accolades include a JUNO nomination and numerous Canadian Folk Music Awards and East Coast Music Awards, underscoring their exceptional musical talents and their ability to connect with audiences across the globe. Cassie and Maggie's achievements resonate as a testament to their dedication and passion for preserving and evolving the folk traditions of Nova Scotia.

Lennie Gallant

Saturday February 24, 2024 @ 12:00-12:15

East Coast songwriter Lennie Gallant has released fifteen albums of original songs which have won him a host of awards and nominations from the JUNOs, Les Prix Éloizes, and The ECMAs. His songs have been described as “true slices of life delivered with a poet’s flair and a rugged emotional sensibility”. His multimedia production, Searching for Abegweit, ran for 190 shows in Eastern Canada. His song Peter’s Dream, from that show, was inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame. Lennie is an international artist who has performed all over North America and Europe. His songs have been covered by many artists and he has shared the stage with several orchestras and with performers such as Lucinda Williams, Patti Griffin and Roger Hodgson. He has performed with the late Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefers and with David Foster and his band.

Lennie struck up a friendship with Jimmy, has two co-writes on his upcoming posthumous album, and was invited to sing on both songs. One of Lennie's albums also went up to the international space station and circled the planet 248 times. His album, Time Travel, was voted a top ten Album of the Year by a panel of Canadian music industry personnel, and his recent all original Christmas album has received rave reviews. He and partner Patricia Richard also record and perform as the popular Francophone duo, Sirène et Matelot. Their songs have achieved strong radio play in francophone circuits and have consistently remained on the charts! Lennie Gallant is a member of The Order of Canada and has been recognized for his humanitarian efforts.


Saturday February 24, 2024 @ 12:20-12:35

Shauit is a North Coast native who sings about the complexity and beauty of the Innu nation. He is the winner of multiple awards and prizes, including 'Indigenous Artist of the Year' at the 2023 ADISQ Awards Gala, ‘Best Indigenous Album’ at the Indigenous Music Awards, and ‘Best Singer-Songwriter’ at the Folk Music Awards. Singing primarily in his native Innu, while incorporating occasional French lyrics, the fruit of his labour is a sound that is as festive and unifying as it is introspective and hypnotizing. Following his acclaimed, award-winning album APU PEIKUSSIAKU, Shauit performed in over 7 different countries, spanning local, national, and international stages, totalling nearly 400 shows. Standout performances include the Folk Alliance, APAP, Louisiana International Festival, Shibuya Festival showcases (Japan) and Zandari Festa (Korea). Shauit now sails on new oceans with the release of his latest album, NATUKUN, which translates to 'remedy' in Innu.


Saturday February 24, 2024 @ 12:40-12:55

Rosier is an outstanding bilingual group from Québec that forges a unique blend of folk traditions and pop textures. Folk at its core, the group takes over an audacious approach where old folk songs become the intimate accomplice of well-crafted indie-pop, all this while creating a full array of musical colours and flavours that engages and inspires listeners from the very first notes. Rosier has crafted their sound over the last decade, playing across the globe at major music festivals and stages world-wide. With a compelling collection of music under their belt, and hundreds of thousands of plays on streaming platforms, Rosier is set on a clear direction: one where the unheard meets the existing, and stories passed down from generation to generation are rejuvenated with a contemporary twist.

Mia Kelly

Saturday February 24, 2024 @ 1:00-1:15

Mia Kelly is a singer-songwriter from Gatineau, Quebec who writes and performs in both French and English. Mia enthralls listeners with a distinctive blend of Folk, Rock, and Blues and is making her mark in the Canadian folk music scene. Swiftly gaining recognition as a poetic lyricist with a powerful and versatile voice, Mia is a born performer who radiates confidence on stage. With her knack for adapting the stories of the people she has connected with in her life, Mia is an imaginative storyteller who channels her raw and vulnerable emotions through her expertly crafted songs.

In August of 2022, Kelly released her first album “Garden Through the War”. Produced and mixed at Fixed Hinge Studio by Ottawa’s Jim Bryson (Kathleen Edwards, The Tragically Hip) and mastered by Grammy-nominated Phillip Shaw Bova, the record demonstrates maturity in Kelly’s songwriting. Exploring themes of resilience and growth that follow hardship, the album has received recognition from the SOCAN foundation and has been nominated for Album of The Year at the Folk Music Awards 2023. This year, Kelly was awarded Emerging Artist of the Year by Culture Outaouais, is nominated for two Canadian Folk Music Awards, and represented Canada as a finalist at the 2023 Jeux De La Francophonie.

Andrina Turenne

Saturday February 24, 2024 @ 1:20-1:35

Calling Andrina Turenne’s new album Bold As Logs her debut feels like a bit of a misnomer. The Winnipeg Sing-songwriter has, after all, graced stages across fie continents and has lent her voice – as a member or a guest – to more than 50 albums during her 20-plus years in the music industry. Now, the Franco-Manitoban and Red River Métis singer-songwriter is forging a new path as a solo artist. Through soulful melodies and woodsy motifs, she tells stories through song, delivered in the spirit of road trips, kitchen parties, and bonfire gatherings. Andrina’s ability to merge a wide range of genres is the real magic behind Bold As Logs. The bilingual, spirited debut has charted on independent radio in Canada and the US, and explores the wonders of nature, the histories of her homeland and the complexity of human relationships.

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