Chad VanGaalen

Amber is the artistic director of Regina Folk Festival. Along with guest curators Music Declares Emergency Canada, she’s worked hard to line up all the great local and touring musical talent that will be performing at the festival which runs Aug. 11–13 in Regina. With the festival fast approaching, we asked her to pick six songs by six artists on the bill that are special to her. /Gregory Beatty

“The Returner”
Allison Russell, The Returner (2023)

Allison is a powerhouse singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, performer and poet who leads an incredible all-female backing band. This track is her latest single release, a soulful song about “Black liberation, Black love, Black self-respect”. She melted my face in Montreal last September while wearing the most amazing butterfly-print dress and I can’t wait to be obliterated by her immense talent anew. (Main Stage, Sunday) YouTube

“Spider Milk”
Chad VanGaalen, World’s Most Stressed Out Gardener (2021)

Our theme this year is ‘Web of Life’ so I couldn’t NOT choose this song off VanGaalen’s latest album. The song is all skittering psychedelics and indie pop; the strings of the song web reverberate! There are a lot of flutes on the album, too — you should check it out! (Main Stage, Friday) YouTube

“Black Averageness”
Shad, TAO (2021)

Shad delivers a head-bopping jam exploring the freedom in celebrating Black averageness alongside Black excellence. Listen carefully to Shad’s delightful flow. He talks about being a Dad, gardening, and name-checks Canadian Tire. (Main Stage, Sunday) YouTube

“Milky Way”
The Steves, To The Band (2023)

This track off The Steves’ long-awaited album is an instant Queen City classic, much like a banana split ordered from the Milky Way takeout window: equal parts silly, sweet and dark, layered deliciously. (Main Stage Tweener, Friday) YouTube

Polky, Songs From Home (2020)

Polky’s enthusiasm and innovation of Eastern European musical traditions is exciting. Centered around haunting harmonies and sing-along melodies, this song reveals one darkly sparkling facet of their multi-dimensional esprit. (Main Stage, Friday) YouTube

“One More Latch (Give It To Ya)”
Pantayo, Ang Pagdaloy (2023)

Get ready to boogie on down to this minimal booty-shaker in RFF’s ‘Boogie Zone’! Featuring an understated, grooving vocal melody over percussive metallophones and drums from kulintang traditions of southern Philippines, this jam is all about closed-eye, arms-up shimmying under open skies. (Main Stage, Saturday) YouTube