Breakwater breakout

New Kootenay band sets off on inaugural tour around the region

Breakwater plays Cranbrook March 12. Left to right: Ben Johnson

Breakwater plays Cranbrook March 12. Left to right: Ben Johnson

Barry Coulter

A new Kootenay-based band is launching its touring career and its repertoire of eclectic cross-over music with a series of upcoming concerts, including Cranbrook and Kimberley next week.

Breakwater is the brainchild of Aurora Smith and Jeff Faragher of Nelson — the latter familiar to Kootenay residents as the Music and Artistic Director of the Symphony of the Kootenays. Along with Rob Fahie on bass and Ben Johnson on percussion, Breakwater is playing the Key City Theatre in Cranbrook on Saturday, March 12.

Breakwater brings a very eclectic style to new arrangements of existing music.

“The music is a mix, and the mix is because of the different training and genres each of the players in the band brings,” Faragher said. “I of course am a classically trained cellist, Aurora Smith is a fiddle player primarily, Rob Fahie is a jazz bass player and Ben Johnson focuses on world music, but is sort of an all-round percussionist.

“We do what we call cross-over music, which blends all these different styles — you’re going to hear Bach mixed with fiddle tunes, you’re going to hear some John Coltrane mixed with some waltzes. It’s a fun mix, mainly focussed on the folk genre — lots of fiddle tunes, lots of upbeat songs.”

As a cellist, Faragher plays a lot of Celtic music himself, “which is what gave me the idea of doing this.”

Faragher and Smith started the project about a year ago, originally playing Celtic fiddle tunes and eventually switching it up with Bach to see what would happen.

“We played with Ben for a brief period of time, then he went on to other projects. But when we decided last summer to make this happen we brought Rob in, because he’s such a musical force — a lot of knowledge and experience.

Breakwater’s first real performance was at Kaslo Jazz Festival last summer.

“It was a trial by fire,” Faragher said. “We had to throw a show together real quick.”

In the fall of last year, the group decided to move ahead, and the upcoming tour would be Breakwater’s launch.

“As it stands, Breakwater is actually a trio, with Rob, Aurora and myself, and Ben gets involved when he can. On this tour we’re happy to have him.”

The tour is kicking off in Kaslo, Smith’s hometown. Breakwater then hits the road east, playing Creston on Friday, Cranbrook on Saturday, Kimberley on Sunday, and then back to Nelson with the Selkirk musical program on Shambala Hall.

“It’s great all ages event,” Faragher said. “It’s also a concert that will entice people to get up and dance. It’s a really fun show with really diverse music. There’s something for everyone on the program, whether it’s folk, classical, Celtic.

Breakwater is looking ahead to more touring — certainly regionally, Faragher says, but maybe even nationally. “But this (the Kootenays) is home base, so we’ll be presenting concerts here regularly.”

Breakwater plays the Key City Theatre in Cranbrook, Saturday, March 12 at 7:30 p.m.