A true preserver of the spirit of folk music, past Juno and Canadian Folk Music Award-nominee Maria Dunn is often compared to Woody Guthrie for her keen social awareness and unvarnished songs about ordinary people.
In April 2016, Maria releases her sixth album, Gathering, produced by Shannon Johnson (of Juno-winning band The McDades). In keeping with Pete Seeger’s words (1994), “The key to the future of the world is finding the optimistic stories and letting them be known”, Gathering highlights stories of love—not typical songs of romantic love, but songs of family, community, humanity and the love that knits us together and fires our actions to make the world a better place. The songs range from historical and narrative to personal and immediate, inspired by social justice stories both global (Malala, When The Grandmothers Meet) and local (How I Live, When I Was Young).
In addition to developing and touring three multimedia people’s history shows, GWG: Piece by Piece, Troublemakers: Working Albertans and On The River (with Asani, Edmonton-based Aboriginal women’s trio) with videographer Don Bouzek, Maria performs (solo, duo, trio) at theatres, folk clubs, conferences and festivals across Canada, the USA and Europe. She has been featured on Canadian TV, CBC National Radio, CKUA Alberta Radio, BBC Radio Scotland, and her original songs published in Sing Out! and Penguin Eggs magazines and the Rise Again songbook (2015). Other artists, including Niamh Parsons, The Outside Track and Bob Bossin, have recorded her original songs.
Recent performance highlights include a December 2015 sold-out 20th anniversary run of Edmonton’s Christmas Carol Project and a three-week tour of UK folk clubs in November 2015, following her Irish debut in October 2015, opening three concerts for the legendary Andy Irvine (Sweeney’s Men, Planxty, Patrick Street).
She’s assured, strong, and her versatile voice carries her songs straight to the head and heart. – Sing Out!
An arrestingly powerful singer-songwriter who writes great historical and social commentary. – WFMT Chicago