Great Lake Swimmers
October 12 · Festival Hall

Great Lake Swimmers

With Abigail Lapell

Doors @ 6:00 MST/MDT · Show @ 7:00 MST/MDT




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Abigail Lapell is pictured wearing an off-rouge dress in the middle of a lush forest. Photo by Jen Squires.
About Abigail Lapell · Toronto, ON

There is a clarity in Abigail Lapell’s music, a clarity to match her crystalline, captivating voice. Lucid, translucent songs cast a gentle gaze towards the centre of time, and the centre of time casts a loving glance back before vanishing between notes. It’s like a Carole celebrating an otherworldly King-dom, one made of the collective memories, moments, darkness and optimism of those who travelled and sang along these trails before.

From the release of her first album in 2011, her melodicism led each song’s journey, with guitar and piano treading upon yesteryear’s fallen pine needles while harmonica, strings, pedal steel and other instruments occasionally peek out from the shadows. Lapell’s place in an Orthodox Jewish family that escaped Europe and the horror of the Holocaust, singing as a child in Yiddish and Hebrew, means her roots run deep. But growing up in French immersion in Montreal while worshipping Canadian indie heroes Lowest of the Low helps her juxtaposing branches stretch wide and solid.

Lapell’s music captures you in a mesmerising, otherworldly freshness as familiar as your favourite childhood memory. The more bare her songs, the fuller our hearts become as she draws on the past to make music as fresh as rain falling into snow, it’s like listening to time singing to itself.

About Great Lake Swimmers · Wainfleet, ON

Doubt, followed by discovery. Demos that ended up as finished tracks. New beginnings, rear-view reflections, and ruminations on the fluidity of time: Uncertain Country captures these feelings and much more. 

This 11-song celebration follows a prolonged period of collective anxiety. Though recorded in different acoustically distinctive locations close to Dekker’s home in the Niagara Region —and with a variety of musicians—a theme of questioning runs throughout. Even before the world turned upside down, singer-songwriter Tony Dekker felt mired in uncertainty: from the climate crisis and the ever-changing political landscape to deep shifts within the music industry. The “uncertain country” Dekker chose as the album’s theme is a territory humans inhabit in the 21st century.

The long journey started over three years ago, when Dekker took an immersive trip to the north shore of Lake Superior with Adam CK Vollick (who filmed the experience) and Joe Lapinski (who co-produced Uncertain Country) to soak in the beauty of the landscapes and learn the stories of the people who have inhabited them since time immemorial. 

The music morphed from hushed and folky to a more comforting, curated listening experience, acting as a kind of salve, capturing the album’s themes of the elasticity of time and processing change. It includes echoes of some of Dekker’s early 1990s propeller-pop and indie lo-fi band influences.

Long-time Great Lake Swimmers member, multi-instrumentalist Bret Higgins is featured on many of the songs, as is keyboardist Kelsey McNulty. Guests include newcomers and old friends: the group Minuscule, an all-woman identifying choir and JUNO Award-winner Serena Ryder.

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