The Canadians Are Coming

Submitted by Cashbox Canada

Look out Rinkaby, Sweden, the Canadians are coming! They say good things come in threes and this summer three seasoned Canadian recording artists are setting sail for Sweden to prove that axiom true. 

Canadian-born Lisa Hartt, Barry Stagg and Don Graham are packing their stories, songs and six strings and heading across the sea to hit the stages at the Lilla By Festival in Rinkaby on the Baltic Sea. This is the 3rd year of this festival, founded and produced by Jonas Tancred and Malin Östh, both performers in the successful Swedish duo Bara Jonson and Free.

Don Graham performed at last year’s 3rd Annual Lilly By Festivalen and it will be the first time for Hartt and Stagg to experience the magic of the “little festival” by the bay. This is Don’s second year playing at the event and he is thrilled to be joined stages this year with both Lisa and Barry who has known for most of his early musical career days in Canada. 

And this 3rd annual festival is shaping up to be a mix of music, panels and entertainment for a crowd waiting in eager anticipation. The organizers describe the festival as “a hybrid event, a combination of showcase and festival with something for everyone. “We are so happy to provide a platform for local talent and thrilled to have a Canadian contribution again this year,” says Malin and Jonas. “Lisa, Barry and Don and Sandy Graham from EMG Collectives are great entertainers and ambassadors for their country. The locals who attend are really looking forward to seeing and meeting them this year. “

All three of these performers hail from the same city, Montreal, Quebec, and although their lives and careers led to different locations they all have the same musical foundation and when they get together their bond and kinship is a joy to see. 

Barry Stagg was one half of the successful duo Green and Stagg who charted in Canada and the U.S. Barry branched out in his own following that duo and has recorded some albums of his original material and is active musically in his adopted home in North Carolina. He is looking forward to reuniting with his old friends Don and Lisa this summer in Rinkaby. “I am thrilled to be a part of this,” Barry says, “Here come the Canadians! and seeing my old friends and making new ones. I’ve shared stages with Don in Nashville, Cannes, France and Orbero, Sweden in recent years but haven’t seen Lisa for many years. I’m not only an old friend but a big fan of Lisa’s and can’t wait to catch up. “

For Lisa Hartt this trip is extra special and exciting on so many levels. She is of Nordic descent with her family tree rooted in Denmark. Lisa also grew up in Montreal, cutting her musical teeth there which led her to a successful run with The Lisa Hartt band and the top 40 single “Old Time Movie”, still considered a classic radio hit today in Canada.

As well, Lisa is a majot key to this year’s event that will figure prominently at Lilla By Festivalen. A remote duet with a Swedish superstar Ted Gardestad from 1977 that Lisa recently found in her archives, was shown to Sandy Graham, and then during Spike Bulgarian Music Festival, Lennart Ostlund (also a performer this year with his band West of Mars) saw this footage and it created a domino effect of events that will culminate in a special performance at this year’s event. The Swedish star met a tragic end and Lisa and Swedish legends will honour his memory with a special performance. “I am so happy to be a part of this wonderful event and can’t wait to get to Sweden and perform with my old friends and catch up. I have a feeling that once I get there I won’t want to come home,” Lisa states. “This is sure to be the trip of a lifetime and bound to make lasting memories.” 

Don Graham, another veteran of the Montreal music scene is thrilled to be going back to Rinkaby having performed there last year. “Lilla By Festivalen is one of my favourite events of the summer. The location, the people , the food and the music are all top notch in my book. Lilla By has such a cool vibe and my time off stage is as enjoyable and as my time on stage. Can’t wait .”

Canada is famous for it’s Informal social gathering called a ceildh (pronounced kay-lee) with music and dancing, typically held in a person’s kitchen. Recreating that on Sunday, August 27, Don, Lisa, Barry. Malin and Jonas will be inviting all to attend this special afternoon closing party free for ages, and everyone can bring their own instruments to join in an afternoon of audience participation and singalong fun planned. 

“O Canada our home and native land”, part of the national anthem of Canada will be shining in full force with our Canadian artists proving once again that music has no borders.