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EXCLUSIVE: Interview With Canadian Singer-Songwriter, Dana Sipos

Sipos recently played Toronto’s NXNE and looks forward to a musical bike tour in August.

By: Anthony Marcusa
Published: June 18th, 2013 in Culture » Music » Interviews
Dana Sipos

A Canadian wanderer, musically self-taught, Dana Sipos has played across the country and to the northern part of The Great White North. This past weekend, she took on Toronto for something decidedly different.

The Hamilton native, who has found herself studying in Nova Scotia, recording in Whitehorse, and once living in Yellowknife, is now living in Ontario’s capital, bringing with her a folk style and Northern sensibility.

When she went off to school in Halifax, Sipos’ parents moved north, offering the young musician her first taste of a different way of Canadian living. “It got under my skin,” said Sipos during a phone interview from Toronto.

“It’s a very extreme place,” she added, discussing the Northwest Territories. “You have long cold winters, and long hours of daylight, and so it’s really intense. You feel things intensely.” There is plenty there to compel a singer and songwriter, explains Sipos, a musician who has returned to Whitehorse to record her albums and support the artistic community.

“There is incredible inspiration, from the Aurora Borealis to what happens to you at 40 below,” she continues. “It’s a lot of inspiration to draw from: the landscape, as well as the people and the incredible diversity.”

Her northern exposure as it were earned Sipos a slot at the Northern Scene Festival, a musical and artistic exploration of culture from regions around Canada. This iteration brought in 250 artists from across the territories and northern Quebec to descend on Ottawa for a celebration of expression in its many forms.

Having performed among singer songwriters from up North, Sipos will has now performed in her very first North by Northeast music festival, a week-long extravaganza that has grown yearly in size and scope, and now boasts comedy acts, interactive installations, film, and conferences.

While a bit overwhelming, Sipos was looking forward to a live show that looks to be a welcome escape from some of the darkened halls filled with loud rock. It should be something far more intimate. “In a live show, I like to tell stories, give context for my songs, and ask for audience participation. I like to engage my audience.”

Part of Sipos’ love of singing and storytelling comes from her Jewish heritage. “There was a lot of singing in my family. One of things about Jewish get-togethers other than food and family coming together is that you do a lot of singing.”

“My mom always sang to us [kids],” added Sipos. “My sister and I would put on elaborate plays in the kitchen.” Sipos would then go on to teach herself how to play piano and guitar, and with each subsequent show, as well as the discovery of a supportive Yellowknife community, Sipos gained confidence.

She won’t be staying put for long, however. The end of August brings about a musical bike tour, as Sipos and others will trek to Ottawa, performing at least eight shows en route that are powered by bicycles. For three years the Bicycle Music Festival has taken place in Toronto, and this looks to build on that concept, taking the idea to the road. The roughly-two week trip will feature Sipos alongside Abigail Lapell and Jessica Moore, with the event departing on August 13.

Sipos will head back to Toronto, very deservedly so via train, however she looks to always keep with her a love for Northern Canada.

For more info, visit http://www.tuneyourride.com/ and http://danasipos.ca/

Related articles: Dana Sipos, NXNE, Toronto, Canada, Interview, Jewish, Yellowknife, Ottawa, Bike Festival, Music Festival
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