Corbin Keep
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Corbin Keep

Duncan, British Columbia, Canada

Duncan, British Columbia, Canada
Solo Pop Singer/Songwriter


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Folk Festival"

“Corbin was a joy to have at Musicfest. As a performer, he was loved by the audience and challenged his fellow performers with some of the best workshop stuff we have ever had. He is also a nice guy... something that I feel is very important to the vibe of our event. He is fun. I received numerous positive comments from our festival audience about Corbin and highly recommend you hire him!”

- Doug Cox, Artistic Director, Vancouver Island Musicfest, Comox, BC

"Folk Festival"

Corbin’s a keeper! When he came on stage, we wondered about the competing drum workshop across the field. Perhaps we’d made a scheduling error as the driving percussion would detract from the cello music. Once Corbin began to play, the drums were forgotten. Who could ever guess that the cello was such a percussion instrument? How did he pull all that sound from one cello? He also pulled the crowds from the far corners of the park and held their attention with the creative vigor of his playing and his witty repartee. As well as being a versatile, accomplished musician whose remarkably creativity is evident in the soundscape he creates with this one instrument, his repertoire is varied and original. By his second performance in the local area, he already had a following calling for his original tunes by name. Opening bars of “Aliens” were met with wild cheers.
Later in the day, Corbin wowed us all with his participation in the jam. He partnered up with a jembe player, a banjo player and an erhu player for a half hour improvised piece that had the crowd howling for more. This performance is cited as the highlight of the festival for many of us.

- Allan Hughes, Moonbelly stage manager, Starbelly Jam, Crawford Bay, BC


Corbin manages to respect tradition while leaping lightly over his instrument's traditional limitations. Sometimes sweetly melodic, sometimes fiercely aggressive, he has a knack for capturing emotions in sound...

- Alexander Varty, Arts Editor, The Georgia Straight, Vancouver BC


Listen up—it’s Corbin Keep, Wild Cellist

As a kid, Corbin Keep just wanted to play guitar. Unfortunately for him—but fortunately for anyone with ears—the 44-year-old Bowen Island-based musician was forced to take up the cello in his sixth grade band class. “It was the closest thing to a guitar,” says Keep, who performs under the moniker “The Wild Cellist.” “Guitar wasn’t an option. You could have a band instrument, or you could have a violin or a cello.”

What began as a marriage of convenience has transformed into an all-consuming love affair, with Keep pushing boundaries and transforming this thickly traditional instrument into a tool for musical experimentation. “To some extent it’s simply a much more unexplored instrument than, say, guitar,” he says. “If you look at guitar as being one mine shaft and cello as another, really a lot of it has been mined out by guys with guitars.”

His music is schizophrenic in scope: humour gives way to intense introspection about the nature of our existence before jumping into a tune that drives like a train with a choo-choo beat. It’s often cinematic, and sometimes strange. One of his songs (“Aliens”) blends no less than three musical genres and features a voice reminiscent of Dr. Who’s Daleks, stimulating the unmistakable urge to leap up and dance like a robot, Michael Jackson-style.

Unlike other experimental cellists, Keep doesn’t rely on any external effects or electronic devices for the strange noises that he coaxes from his instrument. With the exception of his vocal renditions, everything at his solo shows—from the sound of waves crashing on a beach to the seagulls flying overhead—is generated entirely on an acoustic cello.

“You know when you’re in a kitchen and you’ve got limited ingredients, you’re not able to go to the store to get everything you want . . . the lima beans have to substitute for the fish,” he laughs. “It’s a little bit like that for me. I like keeping the limitation of the acoustic cello.”

In spite of these limitations, or perhaps because of them, Keep still manages to discover novel approaches to creating new sounds using nothing but a cello and his imagination, and he doesn’t see it stopping any time soon.

“The reason I’m so motivated with it is that I keep finding so much more to do with it.”

- Jason Gondziola, Monday Magazine, Victoria, BC


If you never thought a cello could be an instrument of intense music beyond the bounds of a string ensemble, you need to hear British Columbia's Corbin Keep. He attacks the cello like a rocker on folk-based romps such as "The Feast" and "Flavour of the Minute." He produces hauntingly beautiful sounds in "Common Thread" and a frenetic intensity in "Aliens." Add to his talents the passionate vocals, intelligent and often humorous lyrics and solid writing and you have a unique treat.

- Mark E Waterbury, Music Morsels


'Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail'.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

I think that Corbin Keep, hiding himself away on Bowen Island, just west of Vancouver (BC) is all too familiar with both Emerson, and Emerson’s forest. His debut CD is nothing less than completely unique and engaging. As he is basically creating his own genre of music here, there really is nothing and no one to compare him with, and that’s the beauty of what he has created.

Corbin’s music and his perspective are very refreshing, and the musical moods that he creates, starting with his Cello, are amazing. Add to this Corbin’s unique vocal stylings, which is a worthwhile acquired taste, and you have plenty to contemplate as you listen. You will be challenged both musically and lyrically. One moment, we are seduced into a beautiful world where we all could get along as in ‘Common Thread’ (with the lines ‘we are woven of a common thread, indivisible but for our heads’), and the next we are contemplating the bizarreness of our existence through the words and lyrics of the very catchy ‘Aliens’. And, just like with aliens, you’re going to have to hear to believe.

I always knew I liked the cello, but now, as it is pushed to new heights, I like it even more. It’s beautiful to hear what one man can do with one instrument. The songs are decorated with other instruments, but it is always the cello masterminding the songs. That, and Corbin’s words, insights and humour, make each song an all around delight.

It’s hard to not recommend this CD to just about anyone, but what it does best is offer a shining example of what fun it is to discover what it’s like to do your own thing, with no apologies to anyone.

Keep it up Corbin, we could use some more of you down here.

- Steve Allat, The Muse’s Reviews


The cello is beautiful. Most everyone agrees on that. It is often the instrument of choice in movie soundtracks to evoke beauty, serenity or sadness. But what is often overlooked is how, in the right hands, the cello can evoke joy, exuberance, even ecstasy. Corbin Keep has just such hands.

On his CD, "Call of the Wild Cello", Corbin (the self-proclaimed wild cellist) tears through nine original tunes, one instrumental and the rest with lyrics, playing acoustic cello, guitar and singing in his rich baritone. He is also accompanied by electric bass, drums and percussion, giving him the freedom to go soaring freely into the nether-regions of the cello’s upper register. This is not to say that Corbin isn't capable of holding down a funky driving groove, because he can do it like nobody's business.

Lyrically, Corbin tackles environmental and social concerns ("Pulse of the Forest", "Common Thread") as well as just good fun about wild beasts and aliens. He offers a nice variety of sounds and textures and, happily, doesn't take himself too seriously. He knows how to have some fun. The song, "What's Up" has the refrain "what's up today is nothing's gonna bring me down" which seems to truly capture the mood of this optimistic, energetic disc. Every note is played with passion and conviction and you just know that Corbin cares about what he's doing. And Mr. Keep is indeed capable of chilling out. Some of the music on this disc is calm, moody and beautiful.
After all, that's what cellos were made for right?
- Gideon Freudmann, Cello City Ink, Quarterly Publication of the New Directions Cello Association


“ … on the topic of astounding, here’s an act for you: Corbin Keep. He plays the cello and sings, but that’s like saying the first rocket to the moon simply “went up”. His cello makes the sounds of a violin, guitar, bass, synthesizer, percussion and some sounds that defy categorization without any effects added. His lyrics are funny and he has a totally engaging personality.”

- Dan Silakiewicz, The East Shore Mainstreet, Crawford Bay, BC


Call of the Wild Cello - 2003
Bad to the Bow - 2009



Corbin’s act is part singer-songwriter, part cello-centric variety show. His repertoire includes hilarious original songs, sent-up classical numbers & familiar cover tunes, all delivered with spontaneous wit. He creates sounds heretofore unheard from a cello (with no electronic effects) which always have a musical purpose in the context of his performance.

“Whether it’s alien spaceships, wild beasts in the night, blue grass ditties, or rock and roll, Corbin Keep can do it all – on a cello. Corbin’s mastery of his instrument is so complete that he regularly astounds people with the sounds that he can extract from it. His stage presence and outrageous humour often raises the excitement level of the audience to a fevered pitch, which he then sustains throughout the show, throwing himself completely into his performance.”

- Don Bowes, Artistic Director, Sunshine Music Festival, Powell River, BC

Corbin has been wowing audiences on the festival scene, performing at Vancouver Island Musicfest, North Country Fair, Sunshine Music Festival, Midsummer & Kispiox, to name just a few. He also has performed at, and is a co-director of the New Directions Cello Festival, an event in the US that is like Mecca for non-classical cellists.

Corbin has three solo CDs, “Call of the Wild Cello” (2003) "Bad to the Bow" (2009) and "UnBowed" (2013). He currently has another CD of songs for cello & voice in the works, titled "Bowin' to be Wild", scheduled for a 2015 release.

Band Members