The Ninth Annual Folk Boot Camp at NMC

The ninth annual Folk Boot Camp at NMC is a three day workshop series in conjunction with the Calgary Folk Music Festival July 22 – 24, 2014 at the National Music Centre 134 11 Ave SE

Folk Boot Camp at NMC offers a unique chance to learn from the Festival’s favourite guitar heroes and songsmiths. Glean new songs, arrangements, vocal techniques and instrumental skills three hours daily for three consecutive days among the Centre’s collection of rare and curious keyboards.

Folk Boot Camp at NMC is geared towards musicians with a basic grasp of their craft who want to supplement their own studies with coaching from some of the world’s finest musicians.

All classes are $150 or $250 for two. Boot Camp registrants are given a discount of 10% on Festival tickets. Boot Camp registrants are also invited to the opening reception party and admitted free to the Wednesday night event film at National Music Centre.

For more information and registration visit Calgary Folk Music Festival.



Mary Gauthier – Writing Songs That Matter

July 22 – 24 10:00 am – 1:00 pm

Adopted child, teen runaway, addict, convict – instead of wearing her many pasts on her sleeve, Mary Gauthier wears them sewn into her songs as trophies from battles mainly lost. Now deep into her second decade of spinning dark poetry into lyrics that are three parts autobiography, two parts short story, and five parts brutal candour, Gauthier has rightfully taken her place alongside America’s premier songwriters.

Gauthier’s class: Will help songwriters find their own unique writer’s voice. Songs will be worked on in groups and individually, and compare notes on common songwriting challenges.
It will focus on the art and craft of writing rather than performance.The class is open to songwriters of all levels who are brave and willing to find and reveal their truth in their songs.

Bring: Courage and a willingness to listen and learn. She asks that you read, highlight and bring the book If You Want to Write by Brenda Ueland as it’s an important resource.

Basia Bulat – Funny Voices in the Tower of Song

July 22 – 24, 2:00 – 5:00 pm

In 2007 Basia Bulat launched a promising, critically acclaimed foray into indie-folk with honeyed vibrato, baroque femininity and sweetly minimal arrangements. Seven years later, the autoharp-wielding pixie’s deft, classic sense of melody and artful, from-the-heart songcraft are proof of an artist who’s fully grown into her prodigious talent. Her third album, Juno-nominated Tall Tall Shadow, charts a new path with echo and reverb, electronic flutters and electric autoharp.

Bulat’s class: The class approach will depend on the direction/bent of individuals’ writing – ie: pop songs vs stream-of-consciousness techno-folk songs. It will enhance participants’ confidence in their own songwriting voice and style, giving them more tools. A portion of daily workshops will be devoted to performance. Collaborative work will be encouraged and songwriting ‘games’ will be included.

Songwriters of all levels are welcome, but participants need to be comfortable performing songs in front of others. Both performance and technique will be emphasized.

Preparation: Bring the primary instrument you write with and accompany yourself on (notebooks, pens, small recording devices). Bring an openness to trying methods of working that might initially feel alien to you.


Old Man Luedecke – New Wine Old Bottles and vice versa

July 22 – 24, 2:00 – 5:00 pm

On a perpetually twilit patio sits Old Man Luedecke, cabbie cap on his head, banjo in his hands, singing about love and sunflowers and quitting your job. His voice is both conversational and melodic, his banter like catching up with an old friend, and while he’s earned his share of accolades—two Juno awards and one more nomination on top of that—his greatest achievement is the ability to turn any room into a back porch. Call it roots or bluegrass or folk, Old Man Luedecke makes music that sounds like home.

Old Man Luedecke’s class: Will arm students with techniques and confidence to assist with crafting experiences into distinctive songs. Classic songs will be referenced for inspiration. A portion of the class will focus on collaborative writing.

Songwriters of all levels are welcome. The emphasis is more on technique than performance, with the aim of finding true and successful marriages of lyric and melody.

Bring: Your stories, a pen and paper and your preferred musical instrument as well as problem songs you’d like to attack.




The Good Lovelies – harmony singing

July 22 – 24 10:00 am – 1:00 pm

Three part harmonies, a perfect blend of voices, Sunday picnics, and old-fashioneds served in jars on the porch; these things are the essence of Toronto’s The Good Lovelies. Though they were formed less than a decade ago, the group could have been birthed eighty years earlier, for their songs are sepia-soaked photographs that shine with light-hearted frivolity and a wee bit of spirited naughtiness. The banjo-fuelled, mandolin-strummin’, keyboard janglin’ ladies deliver effervescent, melodic songs while freeze-framing simple pleasures from the past.

Good Lovelies class: Will arm participants with a strong, working knowledge of harmony singing. They will cover vocal health, warm ups, blending, pitch control, intervals, dynamics and performance. It’s ideal for folks interested in singing in anything from a duo to a large choir and is also useful for solo singers looking to work on both technique and performance.



Kaki King – Guitar Deconstruction

July 22 – 24, 2:00 – 5:00 pm

Kaki King plays every part of her big old Ovation guitar—hitting, picking, beating, strumming and coaxing notes and rhythm from every corner of the instrument. Initially a drummer, she turned to the guitar at age eleven. As a teenager she discovered Michael Hedges, Leo Kottke, Preston Reed (who she’s often compared to) and other finger-style guitar masters. The guitarist/composer has recorded five diverse and distinctive LPs, performed with the Foo Fighters and The Mountain Goats, and contributed to film and TV soundtracks.

Kaki’s class: Will teach you fresh tricks and options on the guitar. There will be both group and individual work. Working on technique will be a focus, with some group exercises.

The class is open to intermediate and experienced guitarists.

Bring: Your guitars, preferably ones that have recently been set up or maintained by a professional, with a new set of strings.



James Hill – Ukulele Magic

July 22 – 24 10:00 am – 1:00 pm

In the hands of a master like James Hill, the oft-maligned ukulele is a thing of trilling beauty capable of covering music from Hawaii to Appalachia to the old courts of Vienna and beyond. A classically-trained musician, Hill has been playing the ukulele since childhood, and does for the sweet little instrument what Bela Fleck did for banjos—he smashes tired stereotypes, demonstrating the ukulele’s variety, depth and virtuosity. His songs are witty and poetic; balancing introspection and unsentimental wisdom.

James Hill’s class: He’ll start with a few tunes you can play right away plus arm students with some to practice. You’ll leave with confidence, tools and tunes to continue learning. There will be some time devoted to small group and partner work. There will be an emphasis on both technique and performance.

All skill levels are welcome for this multi-leveled class.

Bring: A positive attitude, a decent ukulele that will stay in tune and a willingness to sing.

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