Music of Saskatchewan

Music of Saskatchewan
Music of Canada
General topics
Specific forms
Media and performance
Music awards
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Music festivals
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Saskatchewan is one of the Prairie Provinces of Canada.



Regina was incorporated in 1883, and became the provincial capital in 1905. Early in its history, the city boasted numerous bands, including a brass band, Musical and Dramatic Society and a number of church choirs.

Frank L. Laubach, a professional Scottish musician arrived in Regina in 1904, and was a prominent figure for eighteen years. During that time, he founded the Regina Philharmonic Society (1904), Saskatchewan Music Festival (1908, with F. W. Chisholm), Regina Orchestral Society (1908) and the Regina Operatic Society (1909).

After Laubach's retirement in 1922, three choral and orchestra society groups exist: Regina Symphony Orchestra, Regina Male Voice Choir and Regina Choral Society. Only two years later, the three societies again merged to form the Regina Philharmonic Association. The Regina Symphony Orchestra later departed from that association, in 1926.

Musicians from Regina include Edith Fowke, Helen Dahlstrom, Ghosts of Modern Man, Nina Dempsey, Norman Farrow, Barbara Franklin, Colin James, Audrey Johannesen, Muriel Kerr, Gary Kosloski, Peter Clements, June Kowalchuk, Owen Underhill, Gaelyne Gabora, Jack Semple, Rob Bryanton, Into Eternity, Val Halla, Rah Rah, Geronimo, The War Doves, Intergalactic Virgin, Tinsel Trees, Birds are Dinosaurs, Pnice, Def 3, Library Voices, LazerBlade, E Tea, Ron Scott, Brett Dolter, Beth Curry, Joel Fuller, Tyler Gilbert, John Dick, Dagan Harding, Ken Shields, Streetheart, and Paul Sloman from A Horse Called Horse.

Dj's and Electronic Music Artists Guidewire, Neon Tetra, Limbo, Kruft, Jeff Galaxy, Short Fat Steve and Hardtoe, Mike Trues, Submit, Pulsewidth, Cueball, DR. J, Jadybug, QCM, Square Sound Round Body, DJ Handle(now Archie Cooper), and A Horse Called Horse.

Earl Brown had the Soundaround label starting in the 1960s which featured many of the local country and ethnic bands recording in his basement studio. Mel West & The Meteors, and The Canadian Downbeats had a few singles on the Soundaround label, later picked up Canada-wide via Stan Klee's "Red Leaf" label. Mel & The Meteors would chart Canada wide with their tracks "Sad & Blue" and "Seventh Saint". Earl had later success with the Grand Coulee Jug Band, and sold a number of albums via TV infommercials in the '80s.

Most current bands/artists produce CD's by themselves or with the aid of the Saskatchewan Recording Industry Association (SaskMusic). But an increasing number of artists have moved to posting their music on websites such as myspace.


The city of Saskatoon was founded in 1882 and incorporated in 1903. During that time, the city's population grew swiftly. In the early 20th century, operettas by Gilbert & Sullivan, vaudeville and minstrel shows were among the most common forms of musical performance. The Saskatoon Philharmonic Society was founded in 1908, and won a prize at the first Saskatchewan Music Festival in 1909. The number of professional groups grew steadily through the next couple years, with the founding of the Saskatoon Oratorio Society in 1913 and later, the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra in 1931 or 1932. With the Great Depression in the early 30s, however, the musical community suffered.

The Celebrity Concert Series, held by the Saskatoon Kinsmen Club, began, in 1944, to introduce international celebrities every year for twenty-six years. Other groups include the Saskatoon Oratorio Society, Saskatoon Opera Association, Prairie Opera Inc. and the Saskatoon Lyric Theatre Society.

Musicians from Saskatoon include Joni Mitchell, Neil Chotem, Brenton Price Dutton, Susan Pesklevits Jacks, Lorraine McAllister Richards, Irene Bubniuk, Kyle Riabko, David Swan, Lesia Zubrack Romanoff, This Autumn Low, One Bad Son, Kim Brandt, Chris Altrogge, Mike Ferbey (of the Rhythm Pals) and Walter Babiak.

In the 1990s, Saskatoon-based pop-rock group Wide Mouth Mason achieved national success in Canada.

In 2004, Theresa Sokyrka, born in Moose Jaw and since moved to Saskatoon, became first runner-up in the second season of Canadian Idol. Sokyrka's jazz and blues-influenced musicianship made her the critical darling of the series. Lionel Richie, appearing on one episode, said that Sokyrka had inside her the soul of an old black woman.

In recent history, dynamic musical sensation Chris Altrogge (not to be confused with Jack Johnson) has mustered out several melodic tunes by honing different styles of the rock genre. He has been quoted listing his inspirations as Kings of Leon, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Joel Plaskett and Citizen Fitzgerald. When asked of Altrogge, Citizen Fitzgerald wrote on a late-night Twitter post, "...ah yes, he (Altrogge) has certain stylish structures present in his smooth soulful vocals. Subtle mixtures of several musicians such as The Smashing Pumpkins, The Shins, Said the Whale, AC/DC and the sort. sshhhhhhhhhhhhh (sic), alas the sun has set so I shall sleep".

Moose Jaw

They have a number of well known bands. Hosted a Canadian music award show in 2007.

Prominent Figures of Saskatchewan

  • Wide Mouth Mason
  • Mobadass
  • Air Ticket
  • Chris Altrogge
  • The Deep Dark Woods
  • The Sheepdogs
  • One Bad Son
  • Quickshift
  • The Rebellion
  • Dana Wylie Band
  • The Buzz Trouts
  • 7even Levels
  • The Swindlers
  • Tyler Gilbert
  • Phoenix Christ


  • Connect Electronic Music Festival (Organized by Jeff Galaxy)
  • Ness Creek (in Northern Saskatchewan)
  • Regina Folk Festival
  • Sasktel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival
  • Craven Country Music Festival (Formerly Big Valley Jamboree)
  • Gateway Music Festival
  • RockFest (Rose Valley)

External links

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