To Thread - Forum Home

The Mudcat Café TM
20 messages

Ottawa Folk Scene

31 Mar 04 - 06:40 PM (#1151388)
Subject: Ottawa Folk Scene
From: steve in ottawa

Breezy asked about the Ottawa folk scene.

The Ottawa folk scene...hmmm. I don't know it as well as I should.

Rasputin's is the best folk club. I spent about 7 years hitting the jam every Thursday...oughta check it out again (Tuesdays now). They also have a wonderful open stage night -- people aren't allowed to talk (except whispering) during the sets. Last time I tried it (about six years ago) I decided I didn't really care about performing in front of a bunch of strangers - I like singing with people.

The Ottawa Folk Festival is great. They also host a whole bunch of benifit concerts during the year, mostly in the National Library Auditorium, and...I just love 'em. The Ottawa Folk Festival also has a very good mailing list detailing most of the bigger folk acts performing in the next few weeks.

The biggest club that hosts folk concerts is in a tiny town called Wakefield, 30 minutes to the north. Black Sheep Inn is the place where Garnet Rogers and Eric Bogle prefer to play when they come to town. Some bigger folk acts play at the Nepean Centerpointe Theatre or the National Arts Centre's main stages or Fourth Stage.

The Ottawa Folklore Centre recently started putting out newsletters about the folk scene.

There's also the Acoustic Waves series at the Great Canadian Theatre Company. They always have good acts.

The Ottawa Song Circle (web page out of date) is a friendly place to sing with others. They meet once or twice a month. Next month's meeting (April 2) is at Tom Lips' place -- he's a fantastic songwriter/singer. Someone is starting up the Bytwone Traditional Singers which, if it takes off, will be a very good traditional pub sing (23 people at the first meeting, and next meeting April 23).

In town? Pick up a free copy of the Ottawa XPress entertainment newspaper; there are usually several other small folk acts performing around town each week. Although, except at Rasputins, you can't count on seeing a folk act on any particular night.

01 Apr 04 - 09:32 AM (#1151916)
Subject: RE: Ottawa Folk Scene
From: Willie-O

You coming to my hometown, Breezy? When?

Lots of stuff goes on...Steve may have covered the things that interest you most. Rasputin's isn't to everyone's taste but you might like it, judging from your comments about the sessions you run. (No slur of Breezy or Dean aka Rasputin intended, that's just my observation). It is mostly very singer-songwriter oriented, unless the Finest Kind (Ian Robb et al) are there...

You won't find a real trad-sing situation like you're used to though, we just don't have the same repertoire (although I haven't checked out that new Song Circle).

There are several Celtic tune sessions:

  • Rasputin's on Monday
  • Daniel O'Connell's Pub on Wellington, Thursday
  • Patty's Pub on Bank near Folklore Centre, Sunday aft.

British-style pubs are very very numerous in Ottawa and _might_ have music to your taste on any given night...

01 Apr 04 - 09:44 AM (#1151927)
Subject: RE: Ottawa Folk Scene
From: Peter T.

What a pleasant thread. It would be nice if other people gave sketches of the folk network in their communities.


Peter T.

01 Apr 04 - 10:48 AM (#1151993)
Subject: RE: Ottawa Folk Scene
From: steve in ottawa

Song Circle isn't that new, but it happens in people's homes so it's not publicized. It was started by David and Caroline Parry. Original regulars included Ian Robb, Sheldon Posen, Mary Gick, and Stewart Patch. However, since David Parry passed away in 1995, it's gradually lost some of its punch and of those originals mentioned, only Caroline Parry still attends.

Ellen MacIsaac (bless her heart) is starting a pub sing.
Next one is April 27th.

Ellen says (from a list-message):
Venue is the HMCS Bytown Mess, 78 Lisgar Street. Ring the bell and the night-watchman will let you in, we're in the "Crow's Nest Bar" on the top floor. $7 at the door (to cover the cost of renting the room; drinks are cheaper at a mess than at a pub).

Bring your songs and your singing voice, songs of all traditions are welcome, as are songs that sound traditional. I encourage you to sing acapella if you can at all manage it, but I won't turn you away if you bring a guitar with you. (end quote)

A word about Paddy's on a Sunday (or was that Saturday?) morning before noon. Back in January, they let the waitresses select the background music for Sunday alternative an Irish pub. Ok. But they make great hamburgers and their fries! simply the best I've ever tasted.

01 Apr 04 - 11:03 AM (#1152006)
Subject: RE: Ottawa Folk Scene
From: steve in ottawa

I just re-read my words about the song circle. It's not that drab.

Ottawa Song Circle may not be as traditional-oriented as it once was, but on a good night, there is no gig anywhere half as good as singing with a room full of friendly people joining in, feeling the same mood.

Mixed feelings? Yep. But looking forward to the day when my throat is all healed up.

01 Apr 04 - 05:16 PM (#1152281)
Subject: RE: Ottawa Folk Scene
From: breezy

I know of Ian Robb and his songs of some 12 years ago, he was a reguler in my town of St Albans at a well known club that has ceased to be.
I almost learned a clutch of his stuff
Johnny Collins sings Shelley Posen's 'No more fish'
anyone want to rent a room out next year some time?
When its warmer?
Who knows , I 'm dreaming at present.

All the best.

02 Apr 04 - 05:10 PM (#1153119)
Subject: RE: Folk Scene in Your City
From: Eve Goldberg

Peter, I think that's a really great idea. I'd love to hear about the folk scene in your town. Any takers?


02 Apr 04 - 10:46 PM (#1153305)
Subject: RE: Ottawa Folk Scene
From: Little Neophyte

Bon Jour Steve on the other side of the river,

I'm Banjo Bonnie from the Gatineau Hills.
Maybe we have met.

I attend those old-time sessions at Rasputine's ever 3rd Tuesday of the month. Lots of frailers & fiddle folk in the Ottawa woodwork.

Arnie Naiman & Chris Coole will be holding a concert at Rasputine's on April 18th
It will be an outstanding old-time banjo moment not to be missed.

I an interested in checking out your Ottawa Song Circle. I miss attending the Toronto Song Circle which was a mighty welcoming gathering of warm & accepting folks. They never said a word when I played 'Sweet City Woman'.

Bonne nuit
Little Neo

02 Apr 04 - 10:49 PM (#1153307)
Subject: RE: Ottawa Folk Scene
From: Sandy Mc Lean

I lived/worked in Ottawa nearly forty years ago. The main folk event that remains in my rather feeble memory is that it is where I first saw The Clancy's and Tommy Makim perform live. That night made me a lifelong fan of Irish music, but the venue is long forgotten.
In those days Ottawa did not have a great deal of nightlife, but if you crossed the river to Hull, it would be hopping. Yes jOhn, we used to have a Hull in Canada but someone changed the name. :-}

03 Apr 04 - 01:39 PM (#1153654)
Subject: RE: Ottawa Folk Scene
From: CET

Breezy, no need to rent - you can stay with us (if you don't mind cats). We live in the Lowertown area of Ottawa, fairly centrally located. This would be a great excuse for a party. We should be able to get a number of Ottawa area folkies out of the woodwork.

Steve: thanks for posting this information. Could you tell us more about the Bytown Traditional Singers group, i.e. who to contact, where they meet? If you are the Steve I recall from the Ottawa Song Circle (big guy,plays guitar) you may remember me. I used to attend, but I found I was enjoying myself less and less, even though everyone was perfectly friendly. However, like you, I definitely don't want to discourage new people from joining. It may be just what you are looking for.

I won't be able to attend at HMCS Bytown on April 27 since I will be out of town on business, but I will do my level best to be there in future. For those of you who have never been there, this is the Navy Officers Mess for National Defence Headquarters. The Crowsnest is a very congenial watering hole, with good beer on tap, and a great place for a sing around. Do you have contact details for this group too?


05 Apr 04 - 08:41 PM (#1155302)
Subject: RE: Ottawa Folk Scene
From: steve in ottawa

Re: the pub sing

All I know is contained in two song-circle list messages. I'll send them, with contact details, to anyone who's interested, but don't think I should publish them directly on the web. (Google now shows hits from recent postings on Mudcat). PM (personal message) me, or reverse: rogers daught calm and steve daught thomas


06 Apr 04 - 05:35 AM (#1155500)
Subject: RE: Ottawa Folk Scene
From: CET

I realize that I messed up the dates for the new singing session at the Crows Nest - its April 23, as Steve clearly wrote above, not April 27. Damn that brain autopilot.


06 Apr 04 - 12:08 PM (#1155784)
Subject: RE: Ottawa Folk Scene
From: steve in ottawa

Nope, my fault: I wrote 23rd the first time (correctly) and 27th the second time (incorrectly). I guess I just prefer the interesting number 27 to the boring number 23. Doesn't everyone? :-)

I've also found out there's (tentatively) a song circle on the 16th.

15 Apr 04 - 11:30 AM (#1162423)
Subject: RE: Ottawa Folk Scene
From: GUEST,Ellen MacIsaac

Just a quickie note about the Bytown Traditional Singer's Club.

The next session is April 23rd, not April 27th. I couldn't possibly ask people to drag themselves out to a session on a Tuesday Night!

Here's hoping some people can join us for a song!

Ellen (LN)

15 Apr 04 - 03:29 PM (#1162624)
Subject: RE: Ottawa Folk Scene
From: George Seto -

Apparently, Evans and Doherty are going to visit Ottawa next week. Check the Harp and Crown? (Think that's the pub)

15 Apr 04 - 05:27 PM (#1162690)
Subject: RE: Ottawa Folk Scene
From: RichM

Evans and Doherty will play at the Heart and Crown Pub in Ottawa
April 22nd - 24th.

Thanks for the tip, George.

Rich McCarthy

15 Apr 04 - 06:40 PM (#1162753)
Subject: RE: Ottawa Folk Scene
From: Eve Goldberg

Arnie Naiman, who sometimes hangs around Mudcat, posted this to Maplepost today and I thought it belonged here. Arnie and Chris are two of the best old-time banjo players in Canada.

Arnie Naiman & Chris Coole
Old Time Banjo Workshop
Saturday April 17 @ 1:00 pm
Ottawa Folklore Centre
1111 Bank Street, Ottawa, Ontario
Tel (613) 730-2887 Toll Free 1-800-385-FOLK
$20 members/$30 non-members

Within the two hours we will cover various banjo topics which may include, Old Time Banjo Music styles, information on the various banjo models available and setup, and information on past and current banjo players and their recordings, Clawhammer style demonstrations of traditional and original tunes/songs, banjo tunings, accompaniment/chords.

We will spend only the first half hour discussing and demoing technique and also touch on some of these aspects of the banjo world. The next half hour and hour after that we will split in at least 2 groups for clawhammer style banjo playing, one for beginner, and one for intermediate/advanced in which we will teach - so bring your banjos and expect to play. This will be a hands on affair - your chance to learn something and take it home with you - guaranteed to affect the rest of your life (in a most positive way of course).

Chris Coole and Arnie Naiman
In Concert
Sunday April 18th 7:30 P.M
696 Bronson Ave., Ottawa, Ontario
(613) 230-5102

See you there!

Merriweather Records Ltd.
109 Crawford Rose Drive
Aurora, ON L4G 4S1

16 Apr 04 - 08:15 AM (#1163062)
Subject: RE: Ottawa Folk Scene
From: Willie-O

Speaking of April 23, I will be playing live on CKCU 93.1 on the folk show that runs from 3 to 4 p.m. I will be backing up Linda Grenier (promoting our gig at Heart & Soul Cafe, Kinburn, that same evening) and Alison Brown.

Tune in if you dare...

12 Jan 05 - 08:23 PM (#1377801)
Subject: RE: Ottawa Folk Scene
From: CET

The Bytown Traditional Singers Club will starting up again. The next session is at the Fergus Inn on Bank Street in Ottawa, Sunday, January 16th from 4.00 to 6.00 p.m. We were at a session before Christmas and had a great time. The Fergus Inn is a congenial pub with a comfortable room for singing. This thing has some potential so I hope that any Catters that find themselves in the Ottawa area will show up.


13 Jan 05 - 09:08 AM (#1378060)
Subject: RE: Ottawa Folk Scene
From: GUEST,Willie-O

Just heard from my friend Vic Maltby that there's a Wednesday night session starting in Carleton Place at the new St James Gate Pub, 111 Bridge St., every second Wednesday starting Jan 19. 8 p.m. start.

Tune session far as I can make out. Probably intermediate level.

I guess I'll be there next Wednesday. Been wanting to see a session within driving distance of McDonalds Corners for a long time!