Head to the MAC this Friday for a musical experience steeped in history.
Saskia and Darrel Delaronde, of The Great Plains, will perform their country roots music at the MACoustic Folk club, located at the McMillan Arts Centre (the MAC) in Parksville, Jan. 17. The couple has been performing together for about 13 years. Saskia sang some harmonies on one of Darrel’s albums and after that the two played in a band together, where Saskia sang lead vocals.
“Then band sort of fell apart and Darrel and I really were the only ones left standing, the only ones silly enough to still play music you know?” she laughed.
Today Saskia and Darrel are married and live in Courtenay. They keep very busy performing as a duo and with other celebrated musicians around Canada and Western Europe. Darrel sings and plays the guitar and the mandolin while Saskia sings, plays the guitar, bass and the penny whistles.
The duo has won a number of awards over the years including a Top Folk/Roots Album award in Holland, they’ve taken Artist, Album, and Songwriter of the Year from the Saskatchewan Country Music Association Awards and they receive airplay on CBC music radio and indie music stations around the world. Last year they booked 145 performances including some with folk legend Valdy and Canadian Country Music Hall of Famer Gary Fjellgaard.
Saskia and Darrel are known for their historical Canadian songwriting, including tales of war brides, B.C. mining towns, Louis Riel and a new one about prairie elevators. “It’s about the culture of the elevator, when they used to be sitting in the middle of town and people would come and go and everything would happen right there,” said Saskia.
She said when they sing about cultural or historical things it wakes the crowd up and many people enjoy talking to the duo about how a song resonated with them at a break. She said every show they do is different depending on how they are feeling and the audience.
“We could sing in German or French or we could yodel, you know, anything could happen on an evening,” she said.
Saskia and Darrel have recorded eight albums together, a couple more each as solos, and they will produce another album together this year.
The duo is enjoying some time at home doing local shows this month and next, but will head off Island and start their touring schedule in March with dates booked in the Okanagan, followed by a tour in the prairies.
The MACoustic Folk Club features open mic performances followed by music from Saskia and Darrel. Tickets are $10 at the door, which opens at 7 p.m. and the show begins at 7:30. For more on Saskia and Darrel visit www.thegreatplains.ca. For more on the McMillan Arts Centre visit www.mcmillanartscentre.com.