Northern Exposure

Danielle Dreilinger
January 25, 2008
Bill King's Saturday Nite Fish Fry opened the show.
Alison Slaight performed Neil Young's "Old Man."
Ivonne Hernandez's fierce playing lit up the crowd.
k-os gave shout-outs to Berklee, Boston, and Canada.
Tara Keith sang Bryan Adams.
The New Pornographers closed out Canada Comes to Berklee.
Photo by Phil Farnsworth
Photo by Phil Farnsworth
Photo by Phil Farnsworth
Photo by Phil Farnsworth
Photo by Phil Farnsworth
Photo by Phil Farnsworth

Music and musicians have long flowed back and forth between Berklee and the Great White North. Alumna Diana Krall '83 has topped the charts. Bruce Cockburn '65 is one of the era's most-respected performing songwriters.

Canadians know about Berklee, said music businessman Gary Slaight. "There's good music schools in Canada, but this is special. They look at it with great high regard." Slaight is a member of the Canadian Music Industry Hall of Fame, part owner of Sirius Satellite Radio in Canada, and the parent of a Berklee student.

However, Slaight added, "I don't think the kids at Berklee really know some of the talent we have in Canada."

Berklee started to remedy this gap on December 12 with Canada Comes to Berklee, a showcase of Canadian bands and Canadian student performers. Sirius broadcast the concert across North America.

Watch more Berklee videos.

A video opened the evening, highlighting bands people might not know came from the frozen North such as Nickelback and (ironically) Hot Hot Heat. Pianist Bill King, Janis Joplin's music director, kicked off the performances with rousing blues-rock from the Saturday Nite Fish Fry, his equally accomplished band.

The Fry moved to the background to support Alison Slaight, Rebecca Muir, Tara Keith, and Ryan Shergold, who performed songs by their compatriots Neil Young, Alanis Morrisette, Bryan Adams, and Our Lady Peace. Four-time North American Fiddle Champion Ivonne Hernandez knocked the audience out with a high-energy music/step-dancing routine.

The lineup emphasized the range of styles in Canadian music. Juno Award-winning hip-hop artist k-os slouched about the stage, playing guitar but cautioning, "This ain't rock 'n' roll 'cause the rap's in control." Finally, the New Pornographers capped off their fall tour with high-energy songs from their latest album, adding a Cars cover to honor Boston.

All photos by Phil Farnsworth.