On a Friday afternoon in October, singer Céleste Lévis, thrilled grade 7 and 8 French immersion from District School Board Ontario North East students in Timmins with a concert in English and French at Timmins High and Vocational Schools.
The singer impishly asked how many of the students had heard of her before?
Not many had, but by the end of her hour-long performance, the students knew she was a formidable performer in both official languages. They gathered around the stage and asked to have photos taken with her. Lévis gladly stayed for another half hour as she obliged the students and was photographed with them.
Timmins is Lévis’ hometown, where she attended Ecole Secondaire Theriault, the French-language Catholic High School right next to Timmins High.
Over the last couple of years Céleste Lévis, was a semi-finalist at the highly popular “La Voix III” competition, launched her first album “Céleste”, in 2015. She was the opening act of renowned French singer Francis Cabrel, a nominee at the ADISC (Québec’s music awards); and at the Gala des Prix Trille Or (Ontario’s Francophone music awards). Levis embarked on a Canadian tour while working on her second album.
As a teen, Levis loved sports and had ambitions of being an athlete. However, she was afflicted with Chiara disease, which affects the base of the skull and cerebellum, the part of the brain that controls balance. She didn’t let the disease control her life. Instead, she poured all her energy into music.
Levis helps to promote understanding of Chiara disease and often participates in charity events such one in September at the CN Tower.
Lévis is among a group of emerging young musicians from Northern Ontario.
Adrian Sutherland and Midnight Shine are a band of musicians from three First Nations communities along the James Bay coast.
The band’s first concert came in 2011 as the opening act for Trooper. Sutherland from Attawapiskat was invited to open for Trooper in Timmins in 2011, but he needed a band as he was asked not to perform solo. Adrian pulled together three other known musicians from the James Bay region Stan Loutit and Zack Tomatuk, and Midnight Shine was born.
Midnight Shine blends roots, classic and modern rock. They’ve released two albums – Midnight Shine and Northern Man. They also caught the attention of Ralph James, one of Canada’s most renowned booking agents, who knew right away that Midnight Shine has something special. Ralph is now one of their biggest supporters and industry champions.
Midnight Shine just wrapped their first-ever tour, which kicked off with Ottawa Bluesfest’s main stage on closing night.
They are currently working on their third studio album, after putting out new single Sister Love earlier this year.
While Adrian’s hometown, Attawapiskat has received negative attention in the past, he said he would like to change those perceptions: “There are many good stories to be told from Attawapiskat, and from all over the North. I hope we’re one of them.”
Fiddler Olivia Korkola, from Thunder Bay, Ont. Is pursuing her dreams of a musical career in Nashville for about a year. She moved to Nashville after graduating from the Boston Conservatory at Berklee.
In Nashville, she met fellow Canadian Colin Linden who is the musical director of the television show, Nashville. She has received guidance on her musical career and often picks his brain about making it as a musician.
Antoine Tremblay-Beaulieu – La Couleur de mon coeur Francophone singer-songwriter Antoine Tremblay-Beaulieu has released three solo albums and one with his band Varge.
In 2016, he released “La Couleur de mon cœur”, his third solo recording, a work of great artistic intimacy. His ambiguous tones and sophisticated rhythms translate into an uplifting atmosphere. Antoine Tremblay-Beaulieu is from Sudbury.
And there are more young performers to keep an eye on as they emerge on the strength of their awesome talent.
Adrianna Ciccone, from Timmins, Ontario has for the last couple of years crossed back and forth across the continent, showcasing Scottish reels from Cape Breton, crooked French-Canadian brandys from Québec, the rollicking rhythms of Ottawa Valley step dancing tunes, way down Southern Appalachian string band tunes. She even adds a dash of Irish and Métis influences.
Her debut CD “The Back of Winter” was produced by world-renowned fiddler Bruce Molsk. Adrianna is also an award-winning stepdancer.
Brigitte Lebel Brigitte received funding from the Ontario Arts Council to record her first solo album in 2015 – “The View”. Brigitte said she uses music for social change around gender and environmental issues. Brigitte Lebel is from North Bay.
Hidden Roots Collective is a band from North Bay, that explores folk, jazz, and alternative ethereal music. The band consists of four women who joined forces to celebrate the songwriting of each member supported by soaring harmonies as tall as the pines of their hometown.
Jackson Reed hails from Goulais River, Ontario and his songs are nostalgic, evoking reminders of distant places and long-gone events.
Jamie Gia is originally from Timmins, who is an alternative, indie-rock songwriter and guitarist. Spacey accents and gritty guitar are the foundation for her lyrical imagery. Jamie Gia now lives in Canisbay Township.
Kalle Mattson is from Sault Ste. Marie, and is a Juno & Polaris Music Prize-nominated singer/songwriter. He has released two full-length albums, two EPs, multiple viral music videos & extensively toured throughout North America & Europe.
Natasha Fisher hails from Thunder Bay and is gaining attention for the release of her original song Lie to Me, from her debut album Her. This summer, Fisher travelled home to Thunder Bay to premiere the song at that city’s festivities for National Aboriginal Day in June, describing the experience as “amazing”, especially because she could share the stage with her mentor and relative Classic Roots.
Edouard Landry is from Sudbury and loves to create catchy songs. His music is shaped by accents of pop, reggae and rock. He has two solo albums to his credit, “Pomme Plastique” (2015) and “Pomme Plastique II” (2016). Edouard Landry is from Sudbury.
McLean lets the listener discover a mature and original musical vision, which involves various songwriting, orchestral and pop music elements. McLean is from Sudbury.
Stef Paquette is a great showman who loves being on stage. He has travelled across Canada for years, playing festivals, concerts and major events. The Franco-Ontarian singer-songwriter is also an actor in the TV series Hard Rock Medical. Stef Paquette is from Sudbury.
Murder Murder from Sudbury is a full string band with pounding percussion that plays blend of bluegrass and outlaw country. They evocative original and traditional murder ballads. Murder Murder.