Winterruption is back to doing what it does best: interrupting winter annd giving Edmontonians a reason to check out an assortment of up-and-coming bands, comedians, and even drag queens. As always, a large portion of Winterruption will take place downtown. Here are just a few acts you might want to look into. Tickets for Winterruption are available online.
Jan 23, Rocky Mountain Icehouse, 10516 Jasper Ave
New York-based singer-songwriter Andrew Savage has already carved out a spot in the gleaming lights of indie rock stardom as one of two frontmen for Parquet Courts, but in between tours and albums he’s found time to kickstart a solo career as well. With 2017’s Thawing Dawn, he’s opted for gentle, hazy ruminations, only occasionally rolling into the kind of barking guitars and swellegant rhythms you might find in the parent band. But like Parquet Courts, Savage isn’t really bound by any genre constraints, so a jaunty country number like Winter in the South fits in nicely next to the sepulchral organ and vocal duet like Untitled. Odds are this will be a highlight of the festival, as Savage plays in a much more intimate venue than he’s used to.
Jan 27, Rocky Mountain Icehouse, 10516 Jasper Ave
Often the best hip-hop tends to be made by rappers who are confident in where they’re from. That’s the case with 26-year-old Ntwali Kayijaho, who only discovered his taste for spitting bars as a teenager at Edmonton’s Strathcona High School. The son of Rwandan immigrants, Ntwali is a MacEwan University graduate, an activist, and a highly regarded artist in the scene at ease with both his Rwandan heritage and Prairie surroundings. He hit the ground running with 2017’s mixtape Late Bloomer and has been steadily increasing his skills up to last December’s release of Message to the Youth, the video of which features the rapper tooling around Edmonton in a red, 1969 Ford Galaxie 500 convertible.
Jan 28, 9910, 9910 109 St
Whatever musical boundaries you might imagine are there for Pierre Kwenders, they simply don’t exist. The Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo-born musical whirlwind is at home with pop and electronic music as he is with various African styles of music, often shifting between Lingala, French, English, Tshiluba, and Kikongo in the process. Based in Montreal, Kwenders (who was born José Louis Modabi) has been a significant force at least since 2014, when his album Le Dernier Empereur Bantou was shortlisted for a Juno Award for World Music Album of the Year, as well as nominated for the 2015 Polaris Music Prize. In 2022 he finally nabbed a Polaris Prize for José Louis and the Paradox of Love, a gleefully free ranging statement of purpose that features such guests as DJ King Britt and alt R’n’B singer Sônge.
KORNBREAD “THE SNACK” JETE
Jan 28, Evolution Wonderlounge, 10220 103 St
Winterruption isn’t exclusively about music, and one of the hottest tickets will no doubt be for the Evolution Wonderlounge on Saturday, when L.A. queen Kornbread “the Snack” Jete will hold forth over an evenings’ worth of drag. Known outside the drag world as Demoria Elise Williams, Kornbread was a fan-favourite on the 2022 season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, winning Miss Congeniality by her fellow cast members. She was the first trans woman of colour to do so on the show. Diagnosed with cancer back in September, Kornbread is still charging forward with flair and attitude. Also on the bill will be Pepper, Stretcher Hyman and Ladonna Stone.
Jan 29, Station on Jasper, 10524 Jasper Ave
It’s possible that you may not have heard the name Hannah Georgas before, but it’s likely that you’ve caught the Vancouver-based indie-popper’s music on television shows like Girls (Millions) and Flashpoint (Shine), or the Netflix comedy Work It (Lost Cause). Georga’s talent with words and hooks has attracted a lot of attention along the way, grabbing glowing words from publications such as American Songwriter, BrooklynVegan and The Guardian, particularly for her most recent album, 2020’s All That Emotion. Produced by The National’s Aaron Dessner, Al That Emotion is an evocative, meditative slow burner that glimmers like a late night summer car ride.