Carmel Mikol

Carmel Mikol

 Halifax, Nova Scotia, CAN

Female Solo | Pop | Rising Star
WINNER John Lennon Song Contest Folk
WINNER Great American Song Contest Folk

If there's any power left in a folk song, Carmel Mikol is out to find it. And write about it.


Carmel Mikol is a Cape Breton born songwriter and touring artist. Her songs occupy dusty corners, middle pages, and worn suitcases. At the heart a lyricist, Mikol weaves non-ficiton, commentary, and beat-poet influenced prose into contemporary folk melodies.

Mikol tours in Canada and the USA and has shared stages with the likes of Garnet Rogers, Jimmy Rankin, Matt Andersen, Ben Caplan, and David Francey. She is cowriter to east coast artists as diverse as John Campbelljohn and Kim Wempe and leads songwriting & poetry workshops for youth. Her awards include Grand Prize in the Folk Category of the 2012 John Lennon Songwriting Contest and the 2011 Great American Song Contest, and triple 2011 ECMA nominations: Rising Star Recording, Female Recording, and Folk Recording.

Mikol is the creator of "Roots to the Future", a collaborative new creation project presented by Celtic Colours International Festival that fuses contemporary folk and traditional celtic elements to create new work. It has been staged at both the 2010 and 2013 Festival and a condensed version has toured into the USA. She also co-produces and curates the Music Shapes New Glasgow Concert Series, now in it's third year.

Her recent album 'Creature' was released in 2011 on Sound of Pop/Fontana North with a companion book & e-book of poetry and prose.
An Americana-tinged confluence of acoustic and electric guitar, banjo, mandolin, and unaffected vocals, “Creature” was recorded live off the floor with her band at Cape Breton’s award winning Lakewind Sound Studio (Gordie Sampson/Fred Lavery). From the overtly political Twenty Something Girl to the deeply personal I Miss The Moon, “Creature” is a fresh take on traditional folk song fodder: wayward politics, social change, and poignant, fictional “true” stories. “I’m not sure which takes more courage for me – singing honestly about my losses or taking on newspaper headlines,” Carmel admits. Either way, the album reveals her as a truly unique voice in the Canadian songwriter landscape.

A fan favourite at festivals in Atlantic Canada and the US (Folk Harbour, Lunenburg, Nova Scotia; Deep Roots, Wolfville, Nova Scotia; 30-A Songwriters Fest, Florida), Carmel has shared stages with Garnet Rogers, Connie Kaldor, David Francey, David Myles, Meghan Smith, Jimmy Rankin, and Matt Anderson. In 2010, she performed in CBC’s Studio H for Concerts on Demand and developed and produced “Roots to the Future”, a new creation project for Cape Breton’s Celtic Colours International Festival. Carmel also participated in a month-long artist residency alongside four internationally acclaimed artists in the 2011 Escape To Create program.

What They Say About Carmel Mikol:

"Carmel Mikol is an artist who may be a "twenty something girl," but she is a twenty something girl with something important to say. If she keeps writing songs like those on this album, a lot of people are going to be listening."
(Jack Goodstein,

“Mikol's sure way with a melody, straddling country and folk traditions, is warm and organic… It announces her as a hardcore troubadour and a softcore cynic, winning either way.”
(Carsten Knox, The Coast)

“She reminds me of Judie Tzuke or Joni Mitchell… An impressive start, with hopefully more to come from this talented lady.”
(Phil Edwards, AmericanaUK)

"Full of life and personality, while her voice is clear, expressive and direct without overselling the emotion in her soul-bearing songs"
(Stephen Cooke, Halifax Chronicle Herald CD Pick of the Week)

"Great songs and a great new voice...not a bad track in the bunch."
(Dave Clarke, London Scene)

Keep in touch! Visit Carmel at and follow Carmel on


Twenty Something Girl

Written By: Carmel Mikol

Twenty Something Girl
Copyright Carmel Mikol, August 2007

we can talk the politics of war
but it’s all been said before
this earth is just a bloody floor
soaked and stained in metaphor
built on the bones of patriotic lore

and you can sit in television screens
inventing nationalized dreams
but it’s all a corporate scheme
to go in dirty and come out clean
colonize them and call them free

all the money you’ve been spending
on building lies and building weapons
I’d take your scraps I’d take your seconds
to pay the bills they’ve been sending
hard working women aren’t worth defending

corruption hides behind the steeple
religion cannot save the people
we may have been created equal
but this world has become evil
it kills the brave, enslaves the feeble

there’re people going hungry on the streets
people dying from the love disease
people killing their own babies
people drinking, sunk in revelries
people being born infant fatalities

now there’s this academic scam
that says the world is what I am
I can change the shape with my two hands
just claim the people then claim the land
democracy is on demand

but I don’t see it, I’m not seeing
what you’re selling as believing
the weather’s changing without season
and you’re still trying to spin the reason
you beat the truth down till it’s not breathing

all the ills that ail this nation
health care and immigration
the welfare state and education
interest rates and inflation
pedophiles on probation
a sexualized liberation
evolution or creation
and congressmen in conversation
blame this bloody situation
on a miscommunication

but cancer’s killing my own father
invisible cellular slaughter
and he still smiles at his granddaughter
says, “it must be something in the water.”
and she just laughs, says “let’s play doctor.”

and I’m just a twenty something girl
a citizen of this hot world
I’m just a twenty something….


Written By: Carmel Mikol

Copyright Carmel Mikol 2008

There’s a sweet little mama on the radio
Singing to America
She’s the blondest little bombshell you’ll ever know
And she’s bound to make you stare at a
Picture of her standing next to Mr. So and So

There’s a skinny little chick on a paperback
She’s got a story worth a million bucks
She’ll take all of her clothes off if you turn our back
While she shows it to the rest of us
And we’ll pay her for the pleasure of giving us a laugh

There’s a thousand little people on the street
Waiting for the next big show
Somebody wants to put them all on TV
And they’re dying just to let us know
That most of us are busy wasting our humanity

You better, better take your money better put it somewhere safe
I hear the boys are undercover and the banks are on the take
And the whole wide world’s about to be made
Yeah the whole wide world’s about to be made

There’s a fortune five hundred watching me
They’ve been writing my habits down
They got a pretty little packaged guarantee
They can buy me and then sell me out
Cause everybody wants to be what everybody wants to be

There’s a satellite sailing overhead
Disguised as a shooting star
It’s breathing like a bully down your neck
And it knows just who you are
And there’s a pack of wild dogs just waiting to be fed
So if you want to stay alive you better play dead

There’s a world full of trouble and hypocrisy
I don’t even want to know about
The profiteering patriarchs are fast asleep
They leave the rest of us to figure out
Who to trust like a brother or treat like an enemy

Sunny Days

Written By: Carmel Mikol

Sunny Days
Copyright Carmel Mikol 2008

Found a letter I wrote to you
more than a few years back
I sounded so sure of myself
and I just had to laugh

It could have been anyone
I would have fallen just as flat
Playing balance beam on the rusty rails
And dancing on the tracks

On sunny days
Of street parades
Summer’s coming never gonna go away
Sunny days
When love awakes
The city’s buzzing heating up and seeking shade
On sunny days

We spent our nights hanging out
Planning our escape
And the skyline lit up like a carnival
Like the whole world was ours to take

I couldn’t help but fall in love
And looking back
At what we had
I still feel like that
I still feel like that

In My Bones

Written By: Carmel Mikol

Spend This Night Alone (In My Bones)
Lyrics & music by Carmel Mikol
Copyright 2009

We’re young then we’re old
Born with a fire that burns to coals
The path of hungry living is a one and only road
We’re pressed to make decisions
That divide and conquer souls
It’s a pity we’re forgiven cause it makes our sinning bold

In my bones I just know
This is nothing but a heartache
But I’d rather have my heart break
Than spend this night alone

We’re born and raised and buried
On somebody else’s land
The sum of our existence is counted on a stranger’s hand
The infinite distance
Between God and mortal man
Is traveled in an instant that we’ll never understand

In my bones I just know
This is nothing but a heartache
But I’d rather have my heart break
Than spend this night alone

I’m not trying to make any kind of sense
I just want to breathe somebody else’s breath
I want to hear the pounding of somebody else’s chest
And wake up in the morning before he has left

Lion or Lamb

Written By: Carmel Mikol

I was born in the middle of the night
the sound of my voice screaming for life
My mama just a body pale and white
giving her spirit to the golden light
My daddy shot dead by a jealous gun
me just a’wailing oh an orphaned son

Old Fort Betty was a coward’s town
cut through by a river and nearly drowned
No good man dare stick around
for fear he’d be sold off pound for pound
My mama was a sweetheart, a caged little bird
the only sweet sound that town ever heard

My Daddy was born in that heartless place
with the wounds and the scars and the lines on his face
Set like a hound in a hunting race
steal your last penny and kill for your ace
He’d never sweet talk you and he’d never dance slow
took my mama like a freight train whistle blows

I was raised on a maple switch
taught good from evil with forty licks
Till that widow took me home from the orphanage
saying “No God’s son oughta live like this”
The swallows just hummed in their nesting eaves
and I slept like a baby ‘neath her warm pine trees

Now folks they whispered and carried on
saying I must be the lucky one
Then they held their breath for the years to come
Fearing I’d be my father’s son

A child grows up into a man
whether he wishes or whether he can
He don’t choose the blood coursing through his hands
beast or beauty, lion or lamb
They say my mama prayed hard on her dying breath,
“Let him lead a short life and have a peaceful death.”

Somewhere Else

Written By: Carmel Mikol

I keep your secret, I won’t breathe a word
I know sometimes the truth hurts
But I’ve been wondering what it’s all worth
To stay alive when the pain survives
Longer cause it’s stronger than I am

I find myself somewhere else when you’re around
Cause loving you is the hardest thing I do
Day in and day out
Loving you

I never listened when they told me to
I never believed I’d ever go through
Something like this, if only I knew
When I was young, looking for someone
I was younger, I was stronger than I am now

Sometimes I want to hide
Instead of stare down your pride
And tear your heart from my hands
I know you’ve never been easy, you’ve never been kind
You had me dizzy, you had me blind

I find myself somewhere else when you’re around
Cause loving you is the hardest thing I do
Day in and day out
Loving you


March 30, 2010: "In My Bones" full length album
June 28, 2011: "Creature" album and "Creature of Habit" ebook

Set List

Two 45 min sets
(Carmel performs solo or as a duo, trio and full band)

Set 1:
In My Bones
Twenty Something Girl
I'll Never Find You
Somewhere Else

Set 2:
Sunny Days
Black Crows
Shallow Swimmer
Into The Desert
Spirits & Good Luck