Photo contributed Award-winning saxophonist and bandleader, Jane Bunnett brings the young, vibrant, all-female Cuban quintet Maqueque to the Salmon Arm Fairgrounds for the 2017 Roots and Blues Festival, which runs August 17 to 20 at the Salmon Arm Fairgrounds.

Fierce, fine and female

Three female acts added to Roots and Blues slate

Music lovers take note: Three fierce, female acts will be joining the 2017 Roots and Blues lineup.

These outstanding Canadian acts are from three decidedly different roots genres, but what they have in common is that they will play to enthusiastic crowds.

Making her first appearance in Salmon Arm is award-winning saxophonist and bandleader, Jane Bunnett. Bunnett brings with her, the young, vibrant, all-female Cuban quintet Maqueque.

This multiple Juno winner and Grammy nominee has been exploring the melodies of Afro-Cuban music for years. Bunnett and Maqueque recently released their second album, Odetta, to glowing reviews. An educator and social activist, Bunnett is one who remains unafraid to explore uncharted territory in her quest for artistic excellence.

Along with her new and exquisite all-female sextet, Jane Bunnett and Maqueque, she will reveal the band’s fresh sound and unveil the new self-titled CD with summer festival stops in Winnipeg, Toronto, Saskatoon, Calgary, Edmonton, Stratford and more.

Already a national treasure, Bunnett certainly doesn’t sit on her laurels. She’s too busy creating music, touring and championing Cuban artists, and making sure visas are in order, for that. A long-time jazz musician on the scene, Bunnett began digging deep into the music of Cuba during a trip there in 1982, and falling in love with its intricate folkloric Afro-Cuban rhythms, blending them with contemporary jazz sounds.

Bunnett has been credited with introducing a lot of great Cuban musicians to North American audiences over the past couple of decades, including Dafnis Prieto, Yosvanny Terry, Pedrito Martínez and David Virelles. Her latest project is an assembly of all-star Cuban musicians, a sextet which includes herself and five extraordinary young females.

Fiddler, singer and step dancer, April Verch, knows how to transform old classics into modern masterpieces. Raised in the Ottawa Valley, she was heavily influenced by her father’s country band, the lively music at church, and the sounds of their community dances.

Verch was raised surrounded by living, breathing roots music. She thought every little girl learned to stepdance at the age of three and fiddle at the age of six.

Verch knew nothing else and decided early on that she wanted to be a professional musician. She took that leap, and for over two decades has been recording and captivating audiences worldwide, exploring new and nuanced places each step of the way.

On February 17, 2017, she released The April Verch Anthology (Slab Town Records), an 18-track collection celebrating her life’s work.

Hand-picked by Verch, the songs on this compilation offer an enchanting mix of regional Canadian, American old-time, bluegrass, country and Americana tracks. The songs of her youth are now evident in her award-winning fiddle performances.

For more than two decades, Verch has been recording and captivating audiences worldwide – case in point, Rolling Stone Magazine has called her “one of the 12 best things we saw at MerleFest in 2016.”

Festival-goers will experience the uplifting, groove-based, global rhythms of Vancouver’s Coco Jafro. This group, fronted by Montreal-born and raised vocalist Karina Morin, was nominated for a 2016 Western Canadian Music Award for Urban Artist of the Year, and continues to wow audiences with their unique sound and international perspective.

The group’s collective perspective comes naturally by way of bandmates who were born in exotic locales, including Morocco, France, Mozambique, and Quebec. Look for Coco Jafro to light up the Roots and Blues Barn stage.

Coco Jafro is a hard hitting force to be reckoned with, unifying the masses with their electrified, funky global rhythms. They bring together the schools of funk, soul, jazz and Afro-beat providing a unique sound that flows from a foundation of deep set grooves.

The Roots and Blues roster continues to grow, shaping up to be a festival not to miss. From 14-time Grammy winner Ricky Skaggs, to Cuban-Canadian Grammy winner, Alex Cuba, Canadian roots music performers like Kaia Kater and Dylan Menzie, to the all-star UK Celtic act McGoldrick, McCusker &Doyle and reggae greats, The Talking Dreads, there is a world of music to celebrate.

For additional information on Salmon Arm’s hottest and biggest festival and to buy your tickets, call 250-833-4096 or visit