The Sweet Lowdown band members Shanti Bremer

Bluegrass ensemble discovers musical inspiration in the wild greenery of Vancouver Island

NANAIMO - The Sweet Lowdown performs in Nanaimo Saturday (Dec. 12) at 7:30 p.m.

There’s something about bluegrass music that feels like home and family for fiddle player Miriam Sonstenes.

The musician, a member of The Sweet Lowdown, a band that hails from Victoria, feels a connection to  audience members when they clap or stomp their feet to the tunes.

Sonstenes, along with her band mates Amanda Blied on guitar and Shanti Bremer on Banjo are performing a concert in Nanaimo Saturday (Dec. 12) at 7:30 p.m.

Vancouver Island is a big influence in the trio’s music. The rough waters off the Island’s shores and wild greenery inspire many of their songs. This inspiration translates into Celtic jigs, Appalachian fiddling and contemporary pop songs that blend together to create traditional and original scores.

During the concert, the band members share stories about how they create songs. Each member works individually on melodies and then presents them to the group.

One song, called Leaving, Sonstenes wrote a few years ago while visiting family in Germany.

“It was five in the morning, August, in the summertime and I was just listening to the black birds singing at five in the morning in Germany and it was so beautiful,” said Sonstenes.

The Sweet Lowdown’s recent album, Chasing the Sun, rose to No. 1 on the folk DJ charts in January. The record also earned the trio a nomination for a Western Canadian Music Award for Roots Duo/Group Recording of the Year.

The band members have been friends for the past 12 years.  They met through the old time and bluegrass community.

“We just knew right away that we found this connection,” said Sonstenes.

The Sweet Lowdown performs Saturday (Dec. 12) at the General George R. Pearkes Seniors Housing complex’s activity centre.

Doors open at 7 p.m. and the show begins at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets are $20 in advance and are available at Fascinating Rhythm and Arbutus Music.




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