Dates 6 August 2007, 8pm Venue WISE Hall, 1882 Adanac, Vancouver
Reviewer John Jane

Winnipeg band, the Wyrd Sisters (pron. Weird) showed up at the WISE Hall in East Vancouver on Monday to wrap up Vancouver’s Pride weekend celebrations to give a wonderful evening of folk music in front of a great turn-out of faithful fans.

Since this six-member folk group came together under the inspired leadership of Kim Baryluk in the early nineties, they have built up a solid fan base, despite some recent unfair bad press over the sole use of their name. Their self-penned, jazz inflected folk songs convey some potent social issues; such as the environment, feminism and human rights.

Kim Baryluk, Dem McLeod and Baryluk’s niece, Johanna Hildebrandt provide the most compelling three part harmonies you will ever hear on a Canadian stage. Laurie McKenzie on keyboards and Rick Lee on guitar, make up the male component of the line-up and lend effective back-up to the female voices.

I was particularly impressed with bassist, Marie Josée Dandeneau. The most physically striking member of the band is the de facto musical leader, boldly outlining the song’s strong melody lines with some hard-grooving bass licks.

Baryluk’s bawdy banter between the songs is almost as entertaining as the music itself and generally applauded by an already converted audience. Baryluk is very much a democratic leader who generously allows her bandmates to show their individual talent. Classically trained, Johanna Hildebrandt’s solo on the slightly spiritual, “God” and Marie Josée Dandeneau’s dazzling display on the introspective “The Angels Tell Her” were easily worth the bargain admission price alone.

The “Sisters” are at their best however, when Baryluk, McLeod and Hildebrandt blend in close harmony on the anti-war anthem, “3000 Million” and “Farewell to Clayoquot Sound” – a song that was written long before “tree-hugging” was fashionable. But not all of the band’s repertoire is so serious. “The Faucet” – a novelty song about frequent “hydrasexual” adventures with a bath tub faucet brought guffaws from the predominantly female audience.

The “Sisters” certainly have the talent and material to play much larger venues, but Kim Baryluk is satisfied for now, to take her band on a road less travelled.

© 2007 John Jane