Canadian Trio, The Once

Photograph by Renita Fillatre
Photograph by Renita Fillatre

From their beginnings as three actors who also loved to sing together, The Once has embraced a different vision of Newfoundland music. Their sounds do not come from the noisy pubs and dockside taverns that fuel so much of the Island’s energy. Instead, their inspiration comes from a quieter and more thoughtful place. Hope and tragedy are intertwined in their music, whether they are singing an old lament from World War I, original songs that speak of love defeated, or tasteful songs from the artists whose music inspires them.

As a trio, the band has kept it uncomplicated, depending on the power of their voices and acoustic instruments. Lead singer Geraldine Hollett is a singer who can still a noisy room and together with Phil Churchill and Andrew Dale on guitar, mandolin, fiddle and bouzouki, they create a perfect blend of voice and melody. Sometimes melancholy, sometimes funny and always poignant.

They were due to be in the studio for January but something unexpected happened that changed their plans. They had an offer to go to Australia to sing on their friend Mike Rosenberg’s album instead. They met Mike last year in Glasgow at Celtic Connections. The Once were singing in a church-turned Radio station when Mike and his entourage came in and caught them performing, after the show Mike introduced himself and was so impressed that he asked them up to Edinburgh to appear in his new video. If you have not heard of Mike Rosenberg you may recognise him from his stage name “Passenger”. The video that resulted in that collaboration is below and a true delight…

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