Part storyteller, part historians — folk/roots duo Saskia Overbeek and Darrel De La Ronde are bringing their tour Song of the Prairies to the Shatford Centre.
Overbeek said they became interested in writing Canadiana songs while doing a historical album for the Columbia Basin Trust.
“It is really fun because you start talking about real people and when you sing theses songs you meet real people and they relate to it,” said Overbeek.
Living on the Prairies, Overbeek said she got more than she bargained for.
“It’s stark, it’s beautiful and there are a lot of incredibly wonderful people from the prairies. There is an older type of culture almost among the people. They are just very, very kind,” said Overbeek.
Overbeek and De La Ronde have toured with Canadian music icon Gary Fjellgaard, a musician who is well known for being fussy about his sound and the integrity of his show. Years of touring with the icon has rubbed off on the duo’s live shows. Fjellgaard has even called De La Ronde one of the truly great songwriters of Canada whose “Metis background has given him an historical as well as a romantic touch to his well-crafted songs.”
“Playing a lot of years with Valdy and Gary Fjellgaard we’ve learned how to relate to an audience and how to set up a song,” said De La Ronde. “I think that setting up a song, the story behind is just as important as the song itself. When you hear a good story and the song starts you know you are in for something. Interesting songs make for interesting stories, there is no doubt about that, and we learned that from the pros that is for sure.”
For De La Ronde, the Prairie’s are majestic. The singer/songwriter was born there but grew up in British Columbia. When the couple returned to live on the Prairies on a “social writing” experiment he said he discovered a lot of things about himself.
“I think it is the starkness, the micro-beauty that there is involved. There is always something to see and your eye is drawn to it. I think in the mountains there is too much for me to write about, do and look at. In the prairies it focuses you and I like that,” said De La Ronde.
Together they have hit the No. 4 spot on MSN Radio’s national top 30 countdown and been nominated for the Saskatchewan Country Music Association awards. De La Ronde said this tour will showcase the time they spent on the Prairies and give a real feeling of what life is like there.
“The theme song, Sailing Saskatchewan, is about driving across the Prairies and seeing how the wind plays in the fields of grain. It looks like ocean currents and it is quite a thrilling site to see the wind tossing like waves on a sea of grass,” he said.
The Songs of the Prairies tour is at the Shatford Centre on Aug. 30 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for seniors and children.