Toronto-based folk singers Jill Harris, Lydia Persaud and Meg Contini have performed to crowds in faraway places like the United Kingdom and even Qatar.
In a few days they’ll be able to say they’ve performed to audiences in British Columbia.
On Aug. 1, the folk trio known as the O’Pears will be performing at the Dinghy Dock Pub with Kendall Patrick and Chase Spencer at 7 p.m. The band is touring Western Canada to promote its recently released full-length album Like Those Nights.
“It’s everything we had worked on the first few years together as a band. It’s a taste of all our songwriting. We have a mix of a cappella, soul and we all play instruments on it as well,” Harris said. “It’s called Like Those Nights because it is reminiscent of the nights we spent together, but it also feels like we’re talking about lost love and time spent with friends,” Harris said.
The trio first met in 2009 while attending school together and a few years later they formed the O’Pears.
“We started out singing R&B and soul music together and then realized how much we loved folk music,” Harris said. “We all realized that our music worked together and that we loved singing together. There was something really special about the blends that we had.”
While Toronto has a bustling music scene, Harris said it can, at times, be over-saturated. As a result, the O’Pears tend to perform less often in Toronto and when they do perform it’s usually at festivals or in non-traditional settings.
“We try to play only special shows in the city,” Harris said. “We play at certain venues with artists that we really like playing with. We’ve played in historic museums or yoga studios and that sort of thing. We try to find the little getaways.”
As an all-female group, the O’Pears have encountered brief moments of sexism from the industry, according to Harris, who said it hasn’t been very often but it has happened.
“We’ve been turned away from certain opportunities because they [the event] already have a trio of females,” she said. “But then you’re looking at a festival that has 10 bands of four dudes.”
Harris said sometimes the O’Pears are compared to other female bands that aren’t even in their genre.
“There is this funny thing where you are a trio of females you are compared to other trios of females,” she said. “We’ve been compared to the Dixie Chicks and The Good Lovelies and all these peoples and it is really flattering but we are also a very different band.”
Despite those instances, Harris said it is an exciting time to be a female musician.
“It is a cool time, I think we are in transition because more festival promoters, more bookers in general are considering gender parity and are really looking at the music and I think that is incredible to be in a period like that,” she said.
The O’Pears perform at 7 p.m. at the Dinghy Dock. Tickets are $22 and include ferry fare. For more information, visit