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Victoria, British Columbia, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2012 | SELF

Victoria, British Columbia, Canada | SELF
Established on Jan, 2012
Band Folk Rock




"Environment Close to Band's Heart"

For some bands, the prospect of heading into a three-week, three-province run with a few intangibles still in play would be a concern.

Loose ends don’t appear to faze Carmanah, which got its start three years ago in impromptu fashion. The Victoria roots rockers begin their first in-depth tour as a band on Friday with a performance at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, one which will see them play songs from their new album, with new members and a revamped mindset.

“We’ve matured a lot as musicians,” said singer and fiddler Laura Mina Mitic, who co-founded the group with singer-guitarist Pat Ferguson when she was just 20. “That’s what I like about the new record. It shows how much we’ve changed since we first formed. We’re excited to show that off.”

Carmanah’s full-length debut, Out of the Woodwork, is their first effort with new members Cody Alan Gregory (bass) and Steve Biggs (drums), who joined at separate times over the past year. Both had been in the Carmanah circle for some time, so their addition to the lineup caused barely a ripple in terms of band dynamics, Mitic said.

That helps, especially heading into a 20-date tour that also stops in Tofino on Saturday, Saltspring Island on Sunday and Campbell River on May 21. “It has been very gratifying to have people stand beside us and believe in what we’re doing,” she said.

“Those days when you're frustrated with being a musician — because it’s not always easy — it’s really heartwarming.”

Mitic and Ferguson formed the group after meeting at the Tall Tree Music Festival. Though Mitic had considerable experience on the violin at that point, having started on the instrument at age nine, neither she nor Ferguson were playing in a professional capacity at that point.

In some ways, that helped Carmanah come into being in the most natural way possible, she said.

“Our two groups of friends happened to camp beside each other, so as soon as the jams began we met.”

The two acquaintances were invited on stage the next day by performer Kuba Oms, who overheard them jamming and asked them to appear during his Tall Tree set that night.

The on-stage chemistry was such that Carmanah was essentially formed right then and there, Mitic said. “The next year we were asked to play Tall Tree, and we’re playing it again this year, which will be really cool.”

Included in their upcoming tour is eight shows as part of The Jellyfish Project, an environmental awareness campaign that uses musicians to educate high school students about ocean sciences. Carmanah has played high schools before.

The group performed at Claremont Secondary three weeks ago at the Off the Grid Festival — an event powered with solar and people power — and have appeared at Easter Seals Camp Shawnigan.

Concerts of that nature are a big part of the fun for Mitic, who is overjoyed when the environmental conversation is brought into area schools.

The music of Carmanah only helps matters in terms of keeping kids interested in the issue. That the band’s music has also changed as a result is a bonus, she said.

“We get to play a set of our music and then discuss with them what is going on the oceans today and what kids can do to get involved. Because of that, some of our lyrics have started to be a bit more in-depth and includes our beliefs and things we are practising as well.

“For us, that is what it’s about.”

- See more at: - Mike Devlin - Times Colonist

"Peaceful sound creating connection within the real world"

Downstairs among old barrels in a historic tavern during the Canadian Music Festival in Toronto originators of Carmanah, singer songwriters Laura Mitic and Pat Ferguson, both describe their experience as a Dejavu. As it turned out, their contact set them up to perform in a music lovers venue and the crowd gave an overwhelming welcome. Carmanah’s Folk Roots sound is a compilation of fiddle, old Rhodes organ, sax, mandolin, and djeme melded with Laura’s devilishly sweet voice. Their popularity has steadily gained news worthy recognition in the West Coast music scene. For certain sounds, they often incorporate other featured musicians, however the core members (Laura, Pat, and Mike Baker) plan on playing multiple Canadian festivals to showoff their EP. Carmanah's song, Shelter, favoured by the ZONE 91.3FM as Band of the Month depicts home as a safe haven from the rest of the world with their sultry charm. - Teresa Lindsay - Vic42

"Band of the Month (May 2013)"

It all began at a music festival, when Pat heard Laura singing nearby but couldn’t connect the voice to a face. Later she overheard him playing music at the neighboring campsite and went to join in. Before introductions had been exchanged, the two were making music together. Their sound drew an impromptu crowd and at the end of each song, even people already cozy in their festival tents were applauding. A passing musician liked what he heard and invited them to play with him on the main stage the following day. The positive reception from the audience convinced the two to form a band once returning to hometown, Victoria, BC.

Carmanah, formed in January of 2011, is a combination of eclectic musicians who come from many different backgrounds. Each member brings something different and dynamic to the five-piece group. Pat, with a voice that can both growl and soothe, also plays a mean guitar and an unrelenting African djembe. Laura, with a “honey-sweet howl,” is also a classically trained violinist who’s taught her instrument how to rock and roll. Mikey, a incredibly gifted University of Victoria music student, can rip on the electric guitar, keys and saxophone. Brian brings an incredible knowledge of jazz style drumming, and since he’s a perfectionist, also succeeds at every other genre the band desires. Dennis, with both the electric and acoustic stand-up bass, brings a love for rockabilly and experimental folk-rock to the band’s sound. The band has since also added a mandolin, a flute and an accordion to the sound.

Since its formation, Carmanah has taken large strides into the music scene of Vancouver Island and Vancouver. The band has played numerous west coast music festivals, including Victoria’s Rifflandia 2012, and has performed in front of 5000 people at Kelowna’s Canada Day celebration. As well, the band has played shows with artists such as Said the Whale, Jon & Roy, Vince Vacarro and the Boom Booms. In December of 2012, they were awarded second place in the “Top Local Artist Moments of 2012″ contest, by Victoria Music Scene. As well, the Times Colonist Newspaper gave them an honorary mention as “Bands to Watch” in 2013. In March of 2013, Carmanah will be headed to Toronto to play at the Canadian Music Fest. Following that, they will be adventuring on a two-week tour of British Columbia and Alberta. During the summer they will be playing at Victoria’s VicFest.

Carmanah has captivated audiences of all ages and musical preferences with a sound that incorporates folk, funk, rock, reggae and country, abounding with musical energy, original writing and the dedication to do whatever it might take, Carmanah is excited to be growing into the Canadian music scene - The Zone 91.3


ROOTS, released June 2015

Recorded by Daryl Chonka at Old Growth Studios

Mastered by Adam Sutherland at Infiniti Studios

Produced by Carmanah

1. Roots - written by Laura Mina Mitic

2. Red Wine Gasoline - written by Pat Ferguson

3. Drunken Sailor - re-written by Laura Mina Mitic

4. First Generation - written by Pat Ferguson

5. I Did It All For You - written by Laura Mina Mitic

6. You Deserve More - written by Laura Mina Mitic

OUT OF THE WOODWORK, released May 16, 2014

Recorded and Mixed by Steve Biggs

Mastered by Andy Meyers at Allowed Sound Studio

Produced by Carmanah

1. You and Me Alone - written by Laura Mina Mitic

2. Hold On - written by Pat Ferguson
3. Never Goin' Back - written by Laura Mina Mitic
4. Within - written by Laura Mina Mitic
5. Burn Slowly - written by Pat Ferguson and Laura Mina Mitic
6. Shelter - written by Laura Mina Mitic
7. Pumpkins - written by Pat Ferguson

CARMANAH, released April 2011

Recorded, mixed and mastered by Mike Baker

10 song demo



Carmanah embraces the energy of Canada’s beautiful west coast and chose their name to honour the ancient rainforest on Vancouver Island, the Carmanah Valley. The band delivers an eclectic sound that incorporates elements of folk, funk, rock and reggae. Clear vocals and strong songwriting, supported by a grooving rhythm second, fiddle playing, guitars and a lap­slide, give Carmanah their genuine and captivating sound.

According to Jonathan Williams, radio host on The Zone 91.3, Carmanah band members “curate music from the heart and perform it with such zest and passion each and every time. . . Put them in a small intimate venue and they’ll have the hairs on the back of your neck stand. Put them on a Victoria Celebrates Canada Day main stage, with 40 thousand looking on, and they’ll still have the hair on the back of your neck stand.”

Carmanah has shared the stage with Ziggy Marley, Spirit of the West, Said the Whale, Wake Owl, Clinton Fearon and Current Swell, among others. The band has played at numerous music festivals, including Toronto’s Canadian Music Week and Victoria’s Rifflandia Music Festival. In 2014 the band performed in Ottawa at the closing event for Canadian Olympian Clara Hughes’ cross-­country bike ride in support of mental health awareness (Clara’s Big Ride).

This past spring Carmanah completed their own cross-­Canada tour and while on the road released their third album, Roots. In keeping with the band’s commitment to sustainability, the journey was powered by vegetable oil gathered from local restaurants along the way. The tour’s grand finale was performing for a home crowd of thousands at Victoria’s Canada Day Celebration.

Carmanah is a dedicated member of The Jellyfish Project, an environmental initiative that brings musicians and bands into schools across Canada. Through the power of music and live performance, students are drawn into the environmental conversation and encouraged to become active participants in the movement towards sustainability.

Increasingly known for their original songwriting and energetic delivery, Carmanah is a growing presence within the Canadian music scene.

Band Members