Hear the world at Country Fest in Maple Ridge

Bands playing music from Africa, Jamaica, Ireland at this year's event

Country band Avalanche play Saturday from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 1 p.m.

Country band Avalanche play Saturday from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 1 p.m.

Music from all over the world will echo through the fairgrounds at Country Fest on the weekend.

Once again the Building Communities through Arts and Heritage Program of the Department of Canadian Heritage has given Country Fest a federal grant for the main stage, which features 70s bands, kids’ entertainers, multicultural dancers, choirs and artisans.

The program seeks to provide Canadians with more opportunities to take part in local activities that present arts and culture and celebrate local history and heritage.

The Canadian Heritage stage will begin its performances at 10 a.m. until 10:15 p.m. on Saturday July 28 and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday, July 29.

Some of the highlights:

Zimbamoto

Zimbamoto plays high-energy modern African music guaranteed to get you moving. Led by master marimba and mbira player Kurai Mubaiwa, Zimbamoto lays down mesmerizing and energetic grooves for your listening dancing pleasure. Their irresistible live sound instantly whips audiences into motion with a mix of traditional and contemporary African rhythms and vocal chants. Bring your dancing shoes because it’s impossible to stay in your seat.

•  Zimbamoto plays Saturday from 11:15 p.m. to 12:15 p.m.

 

Murphy’s Lagh

Born and raised in Ireland, Damian Brennan began his musical career at an early age by performing for school concerts and local traditional venues in and around Belfast. Starting on the penny whistle, Damian enjoyed expert instruction from various top players, notedly all Ireland whistle champion Gogi Mc Collough.

Brennan also fronted the popular Dublin band Souled Out in the 80s who blended Irish roots with soul music creating a unique yet identifiable sound. He started his solo career upon relocating to Canada.

Murphy’s Lagh plays Saturday from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

 

The Out of Many Band

West Coast Reggae Caribbean Music Awards has deemed Cordel and the Out of Many Reggae Band the best band around. They’ve been performing reggae, soca and dancehall hits since 1990. Hear  independent recording artists with years of live experience and see a show with eye-catching dance routines and a collection of traditional and contemporary reggae, dancehall and calypso hits.

• The Out of Many Reggae Band plays Saturday from 1:45 p.m. to 2:45 p.m.

 

The Mad Celts

The Mad Celts’ repertoire includes the music of Ireland, Scotland, Newfoundland,the Maritimes and Australia. No computers are used to make this music. Instead traditional instruments like bagpipes, fiddle, guitar, drums, recorder, harmonica, and more are blended to create the “Mad Celt” sound. Add in a little bit of humour, and some singalongs and you’ve got a night of excellent entertainment featuring Mike Sanyshyn, Joe McDonald and Ron Thompson.

• The Mad Celts play Saturday from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.

 

Natasha Zimbaro

Natasha Zimbaro is a recording artist, singer, songwriter and model who hails from Maple Ridge.

She has sung alongside Canadian country music star Jason McCoy (from The Road Hammers), and has written and collaborated with Carolyn Dawn Johnson, Willie Mack, Denny Carr, Scott Baggett and many other incredible artists. Zimbaro has also has recorded original songs at the world renowned Dark Horse Studios, with some of Nashville’s top session musicians and is currently working on her debut album.

In 2011, she was a finalist (Top 16 Girls) on Simon Cowell’s hit television show “The X FACTOR” in the U.K.

Zimbaro also sings the national anthem regularly for various sports teams including the  Ridge Meadows Flames, Abbotsford Heat, Vancouver Giants, Vancouver Whitecaps, Vancouver Canadians and the B.C. Lions.

 

Todd Richard

Todd Richard is a refreshing, distinct new artist on the country music scene. Born in Hamilton, Ontario and raised in B.C. Richard’s rich vocals and unique look has fans everywhere taking notice and they’re loving what they see and hear.

In 2008, Richard appeared on CMT Canada’s ‘Karaoke Star’ where he made it into the finals. Although he didn’t win, the exposure Richard received on national television led to other significant opportunities.

His debut CD Journey On! includes songs he co-wrote with acclaimed singer-songwriter Rick Tippe, a Maple Ridge resident. The album was produced in Nashville by award-winning record producer Bart McKay and features a star-studded cast of Music City’s top session players. • Todd Richard plays Saturday from 6:45 p.m. to 7:45 p.m.

 

Avalanche

Avalanche consists of band members Psam Michael Frank (keyboards, mandolin, vocals), Jake Stolz (vocals, guitarist), Rick McVicar (drummer) and Randi MacMillan (lead vocals). The band can play anything from country classics to mainstream pop/rock. Having performed with some of the biggest names in show business: Brad Paisley, Dwight Yoakum, Pam Tillis, Johnny Cash, Marty Stuart and more, Avalanche is one of B.C.’s most popular country music bands. Randi MacMillan was a finalist in the CMT Karaoke Challenge and was the winner of the B.C. Talent Search in 2010. In 2011, she joined Avalanche as their new lead singer.

• Avalanche play Saturday from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 1 p.m.

 

Brent Lee Band

Just like Avalance, Brent Lee has toured with Dwight Yoakam and has shared the stage with Johnny Cash,Waylon Jennings, Marty Stuart, Travis Tritt, the Everly Brothers, Celine Dion and many more top recording artists.

Lee’s original music has been featured on various video games and in TV shows and his songs receive radio airplay around the world.

He has been nominated for many music awards and has won Country Club Act of the year eight times, as well as traditional country music artist of the year, the fan choice award and a lifetime achievement Award.

• The Brent Lee Band plays Saturday from 9:15 p.m. to 10:15 p.m.

• For more, visit the Country Fest online.