The Wilderness of Manitoba completed the UK leg of their tour on a
high note tonight with a sold out show in Cambridge. Indie choral
choir, Dowsing For Sound, recently covered the Wilderness of
Manitoba song November at one of their concerts. Thirty members of
the choir attended the Cambridge show and rose from their seats to
accompany the band on an emotional version of the song. All the
shows on the tour have been well attended and well received. At the
WOMAD festival, they performed in front of thousands of people.
Coinciding with the live dates, a special EP, Delaware House, named
after the house in Toronto where they record and where one of the
band still lives, was released for the band’s UK and Dutch fans. The
Line of Best Fit described it as sounding “rather like Jeferson Airplane
playing an orchestral version of 4 Way Street; a mix of beautiful vocal
harmonies, pensive guitar and stunningly produced string swells”.
Folk Radio EP wrote that the EP “foreshadows the new album, Island
of Echoes, with its lush vocal arrangements and use of electric guitars”.
The video for the song Forest City Love from the Delaware House EP
was featured on the front page of the New Music Express website and
and the EP itself was featured on the front page of MySpace UK.
Despite having had their rental van stolen in London on the first day
of the tour, returning to the UK has been a positive experience for the
We are very happy and excited to announce that our new album ‘Island Of Echoes’ will be released in the fall on September 18th across Canada via Pheromone Recordings! Future releases abroad still TBD
You can read more about that below. In the meantime, we are coming to the UK and Netherlands to play Peter Gabriel’s festival WOMAD amongst other exciting venues & festivals. We really can’t wait to share our new songs & sound with you all!
See you very soon indeed … xo
Thematically, a lot of the new Wilderness of Manitoba album, Island of Echoes, is about the past year or so and all of the songs come from that timeframe. There wasn’t a lot of downtime for the Toronto-based band as most of 2011 was spent on tour, primarily in the United States and England. Vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Will Whitwham reflects, “For me personally, a lot of my songwriting was done on the road because it had to be. So, whenever I was home, I’d have a week or two to record demos and then be back at the drawing board again in a van or hotel room.” The constant touring, the ever-changing geography, playing larger venues and working the new songs into the live sets, all had a profound influence on both the band and the new album. Whitwham and vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Stefan Banjevic started playing electric guitars; the sound became more expansive to fill the halls they were playing. “This also carried over into writing the new songs as we had fuller band arrangements in mind”, adds Whitwham.
The downside of life on the road was the departure of vocalist Melissa Dalton. However, when it came to recording the new album, as Whitwham points out, “It forced us to find the right person for the various songs we were recording and we ended up asking some of the best singers we knew (who all happened to be female) to collaborate. The results were even better than we expected.” One of those singers was vocalist/violinist Amanda Balsys of Kingston band ‘The Gertrudes.’ From its inception, The Wilderness of Manitoba has been known for its three and four part harmonies. Along with Whitwham, Banjevic and vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Scott Bouwmeester, Balsys ensures the continuity of that signature vocal blend and contributes to the instrumental mix with her effects laden violin. Rounding out the band is drummer/percussionist Sean Lancaric who brings his sense of rhythm and personality to the intricate arrangements.
The band’s previous two releases, Hymns of Love & Spirits and When You Left The Fire, were recorded mainly in the basement recording studio of the house on Delaware Avenue where most of the band members lived. Gradually, over the course of the year, everyone except Whitwham moved out and found apartments. When it came time to record Island of Echoes, the decision was made to record the basic tracks and mix at Revolution Recording; a throwback to the original great Toronto studios of the sixties and seventies. Intent on capturing the band’s evolving live sound, Whitwham says they got the best of both worlds, “We have never made a studio album until now and I think you can especially hear it in the percussion as well as the overall mixes. We still had the necessary time and space to alter and experiment with overdubs at the house for a month, but the backbone of the tracks has a much fuller studio presence than any of our earlier recordings.”
Expanding on the changes reflected in the new album, Whitwham explains, “We don’t want any of the albums to be similar, but, at the same time, we aim to create a mood or cohesiveness in everything we do. It felt as though we’d already made folk records and it was time to experiment with what that means. There are elements of folk happening throughout the album, but it is in no way a folk record although it is definitely a Wilderness of Manitoba record. The seventies was just a reference point that happens to include some of our favourite influences such as Fleetwood Mac. We were looking to bring in the kind of instrumentation you hear from that era that is heavy with electric guitars, Hammond organ, synthesizers and a prominent backbeat with lots of harmonies happening vocal-wise on top.” In addition to the male vocals of Whitwham, Bouwmeester and Banjevic, the presence of Balsys along with Elise Legrow and Felicity Williams brought the high end/female vocals to another level and contributed to the more dynamic music direction being pursued by the band on its new album, Island of Echoes.
1. Balloon Lamp
2. Morning Sun
4. The First Snowfall
5. The Aral Sea/Southern Winds
6. Chasing Horses
7. White Woods
8. Golden Thyme
9. A Year In Its Passing
10. Glory Days
11. The Island Of The Day Before
12. The Escape
13. Northern Drives
the Wilderness of Manitoba to play inaugural New Traditions Festival on Toronto Island this Saturday, June 30th
The Wilderness of Manitoba will be performing at the first annual New Traditions Festival on Toronto Island this coming Saturday, June 30th. The festival takes place on the beautiful grounds of the Artscape Gibraltar Point, and is presented by the Whippersnapper Gallery and Fedora Upside-Down. The band will be appearing on the main stage at 7:30 PM. Tickets are almost sold out. If you don’t want to miss this event, you can buy tickets in Toronto at Soundscapes, Rotate This, Pretty Freedom, Sunrise Records (336 Yonge St) and La Palette or online at https://
We’re happy to announce that, as part of the Wilderness of Manitoba’s UK and Dutch summer tour, the band will be playing the legendary Paradiso club in Amsterdam on August 3rd. The former church building was converted to a “youth entertainment centre” in 1968 and, since then, has hosted a variety of artists including the Velvet Underground, Pink Floyd, U2, the Cocteau Twins, David Bowie and Arcade Fire among many others.
This Friday, June 1, the Wilderness of Manitoba plays its first official Toronto date of the summer. They will be performing at the Steam Whistle and the band will be onstage at 10:30 PM. This show will mark the live debut of singer/violinist Amanda Balsys who will also be accompanying Will, Scott, Stefan and Sean on their upcoming UK and Netherlands tour. She is one of the female singers who sang on the band’s new album. For fans in the Toronto area who come to the show, you can expect to hear a lot of the new songs. The bill is rounded out by Amos The Transparent from Ottawa and Cai.ro from Toronto and it’s all for a good cause as 100% of the door will be going towards the Artists Health Center Foundation.
WOMAD announced on Friday that the Wilderness of Manitoba will be joining such artists as the Sensational Shape Shifters featuring Robert Plant, Ane Brun and Jimmy Cliff at this year’s festival in beautiful Charlton Park in Wiltshire. In addition to its performance at WOMAD on July 27th, the band will be making its Netherlands debut at the In Vervoering Festival in Utrecht on August 5th. In between, they will be playing UK shows in London, Brighton, Brixton, Cambridge, Birmingham, Colchester and Cheltenham. This will be the Wilderness of Manitoba’s 4th trip to the UK in the past 2 years.
The Wilderness of Manitoba will be performing in Austin next week and have added another show in addition to their official showcase. They will be playing Canada House (Trinity Hall) on 6th Street East on Saturday, March 17th at noon. For those of you up for an early St. Patrick’s Day celebration, there will be free food and drink on hand (!). The band will also be previewing songs from their recently completed third album.
The Wilderness of Manitoba has been invited to perform at this year’s SXSW in Austin, Texas. The band played Austin on the Rasputina tour last year, but this will be their first time at SXSW. The band’s official showcase is on Thursday, March 15th at the Velveeta Room and they will be onstage at 9:00 PM.
KEXP in Seattle posted the in studio session with the Wilderness of Manitoba on its website today. You can watch it here: KEXP
The Wilderness of Manitoba started recording their new album at Revolution Recording in Toronto on January 2nd. The plan is to record eighteen songs and then pick the best eleven or twelve. So, there will enough tracks left over for bonus tracks and maybe even an EP later in the year. For fans of Hymns of Love & Spirits and When You Left The Fire, the band will be recording vocals and overdubs in their basement studio on Delaware Avenue. It’s winter in Canada so expect the return of ambient furnace sounds! They will then move back to Revolution in February to record keyboards and mix.