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MARCH 22, 2024

Resonant, acoustic chamber folk with an otherworldly edge, and a lyric presence that cuts deep. Prism-clear vocals + strings: Anchored in the ancient mountains, reaching up beyond the earthly.

Imagine Joni Mitchell with a string quartet.

Raine is part prairie songstress, part storyweaver; Each song has a story, delivered between songs with humour and grace. Raine invites deep love of the violin into the singer-songwriter genre, writing for violin and voice, as well as for guitar and voice. Joined by cello and upright bass, expect string arrangements that push and pull, that move as they console.

A classical violinist and musicologist by training, Raine and their string trio offer string-quartet-like arrangements of Raine’s original songs. They call this chamber-folk, a hybrid of the classical tradition of string quartet chamber music, with the singer songwriter folk that comes so naturally to Raine.

Raine’s latest work, the full-length album Brave Land (2021-22), is a concept album about mountains, and the courage, wisdom, and otherworldly connection they represent. Here, as in Raine’s 2018 album Night Sky, her songs are set to intricate and seasoned arrangements for guitar, violin, cello, and double bass.

Once again Raine has worked with string trio collaborators Quintin Bart on double bass, Natanielle Felicitas on cello, and Lloyd Peterson as producer/engineer


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MARCH 22, 2024

“AV & the Inner City" is a soul/roots group which formed during the course of the COVID19 pandemic and opioid crisis pandemic in the inner city of Edmonton, Canada.   The group is made up of 6 singers: band leader and multi award-winning soul singer-songwriter AV (Ann Vriend); Debbie Houle (co-founder of the Juno-nominated international touring Indigenous a cappella group “Asani” and backup singer for Juno winner Maria Dunn), jazz radio host, jazz singer, and professional pickle company owner Johanna Alleyne (company: Mojojojo Pickles and Preserves); Crystal Eyo, lead singer and songwriter of Edmonton pop/RnB band “Mercy Funk”; Alenka Lundell, who fronted and wrote songs for bands in her home country of Czech (formerly Czechoslovakia); and marching band and choral singer, Jenn Dahlen, who also sings backup vocals for  American singer-songwriter Jennifer Berezan.

From April 2020 to October 2021, every Sunday that the pandemic restrictions and weather would allow AV hosted and performed nearly 60 free concerts on her front porch in the inner city neighborhood of McCauley; often with guests.  The concerts often also featured other acts and bands from all parts of Edmonton as well as from the immediate neighbourhood.  The concerts were informal in nature, but were a much needed life-line of music and social interaction for both performers and audience members alike, especially during some of the most restrictive pandemic periods, and in a neighbourhood where there is a high population of people already quite cut off from a lot of opportunities and acceptance from the rest of society.

In the early summer of 2021, as small, outdoor concerts were allowed AV asked the group of singers that had been singing so often alongside her if they would be interested in forming an actual official, rehearsed act-- the repertoire of which are her own songs, with a cover song or 2 thrown in for good measure, and 3 part harmony soul/gospel style arrangements based around her voice and keyboard playing. All the singers responded with an emphatic "Yes!", and thus "AV & the Inner City" was born.

Since then “AV & the Inner City” has been invited to perform at the Calgary International Blues Festival, the Toronto Blues Summit, the pandemic versions of the Edmonton Folk Music Festival and Jubilee Auditorium Outdoor Concert Series, the Taste of Edmonton Festival, the Sasquatch Gathering Festival, and many other concerts around Alberta— and they will be performing at 2 major Canadian folk music festivals in the summer of 2023.  From their humble inner city beginnings they joke that they have the goal of "world domination"-- but really they are thrilled to be developing their sound to audiences beyond the front porch, with the commitment they will still play free concerts with and for the neighborhood now and then.


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