Dana Sipos
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Dana Sipos

Yellowknife, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2012 | INDIE | AFM

Yellowknife, Canada | INDIE | AFM
Established on Jan, 2012
Duo Folk Singer/Songwriter




"Dana Sipos - Roll Up the Night Sky"

This Canadian singer and writer’s second album features an acoustic band that has drums and percussion which add a sense of rhythm to a wide range of instruments, including those of producer Jordy Walker who is credit with ten different instruments, alongside the strings, lap steel and French horn also credited. Sipos herself plays guitar, mandolin and bouzouki and delivers her thoughtful songs with a distinctive vocal sensibility that feels both old and new, drawing from many inspirations, not least a sense of Appalachian mist and mountains. She has a style and searching approach that reminds, at times of Natalie Merchant.

Sipos’ songs are at times tinged with surrealism that allows for individual interpretation to misinterpretation. A Line from Old Sins “Holes in the ice, filled with longing and doubt” illustrates that there is a poetic element involved that goes beyond a simple structure. Shadows has a beguiling sound that matches the lyric portent of “shadows for eyelids, broken down shutters for lips, spine aligns to allow time to travel through”; words that create a strange landscape to explore. Many of these songs pass the four and five minute mark and could not be considered as easy listening folk. Rather, they are at the forefront of a musical exploration of the possibilities of acoustic instruments to consider the amalgamation of trip-hop in a new setting.

Dana Sipos is not laying out these songs on a clear linear path that offers an easy interpretation, rather she asks the listener to follow the signs to where these words and music point and to find your own place in the scenery. There are highpoint such as Holy People that has a memorable vocal and musical balance that works on a more immediate level that some of the other songs. This is an album that shows its true nature with repeated listening as the subtleties of the arrangements and vocal give depth to the lyrical qualities of the songs. While not everyone’s obvious choice for consideration, Dana Sipos will doubtless find her own place and audience with her original music and creative collaboration. Here Sipos and Walker seem like a perfectly matched set of visionaries. All you need to do is see things as they do. - Lonesome Highway

"Dana Sipos"

Rolling up the night sky is perhaps an appropriate metaphor for what singer-songwriter Dana Sipos does. Originally from Yellowknife, she has spent the past few years on the road in some of the most unique ways (touring by tall ship and bicycle and currently planning a few by train and, of all things, canoe). Her latest release — yes, Roll Up the Night Sky — emulates this nomadic existence, drawing on a range of musical and landscape influences from the arctic to Nashville.

The album starts on an understated note with "Old Sin," a simple tune containing a subtle bass line, quiet drums and Dana's lilting voice, which acts as a sort of introductory paragraph to the rest of the more heavily-produced songs. "My Beloved" stands out with its sing-along lyrics, Dana's recognizable mandolin picking (which weaves its way throughout the whole album) and the overall feeling of a summer bike ride down a country dirt road. It's on tunes like the blues-inspired, melancholy "Shadows" where Natalie Merchant comparisons shine through, while the almost title track "Night Sky" channels a bit of the early Be Good Tanyas with its old-timey feel and soulful but quirky lyrics ("Roll up the night sky… hang the moon in your bedroom").

And it's not just Dana's songwriting and influences that makes this album a well-traveled experience. Recorded in Montreal, produced by Yukon-based Jordy Walker (Tanya Tagaq) and now released on Nashville's Muddy Roots Records, Roll Up the Night Sky is bound for a long-life on the road. (Muddy Roots) - Exclaim!


Roll Up the Night Sky is the third album from folk songstress Dana Sipos, and it is already scoring unanimous rave reviews. Add us to that list, as we find her literate songs and pure voice a beguiling combination. Those crucial elements are then enhanced by the stellar musicianship of such guests as Pietro Amato (Bell Orchestre), Michael Feuerstack, and John Tielli and the clean production work of Jordy Walker (Whitehorse). Interesting piece of trivia: the album was recorded in the Montreal home studio of Arcade Fire member Richard Reed Parry. Sipos is signed to a U.S. roots music label, Muddy Roots Music Recordings, and it does seem she's generating a little more attention south of the border than here. Time for us to catch up!

Sipos toured extensively in Canada and the U.S. in April and May. Upcoming Canadian gigs include the KIAC Ballroom in Dawson, YT on July 3 and Atlin Arts and Music Festival on July 10. - New Canadian music

"Dana Sipos - a powerful folk statement made through restraint"

The songs on Dana Sipos‘ Roll Up the Night Sky fit the album title well. Almost to a tune, these folk compositions feel like an apt accompaniment to staring up into a clear night sky, feeling the gentle sense of awe that comes from looking at great beauty. Sipos’ ability to set a mood without losing track of the song allows her to create striking individual tunes within an excellent whole.

The impact of Sipos’ sound is not that far from the mystic, hazy folk of Gregory Alan Isakov; however, where Isakov uses gentle distortion and reverb to create his sound, Sipos plays with empty space in her clear-eyed arrangements to invoke an ethereal sense. “Old Sins,” “Morningside,” “Full Moon Sinners” and more imbue stark arrangements with a sense of romance and mystery via Sipos’ engaging, controlled voice. Sipos is the opposite of a belter: she commands attention through tiny inflections here and there, specific phrase lengths, and delicate melodies. There’s drama all throughout Roll Up the Night Sky, but it’s not theatrical in the ostentatious sense of the word. The album is a thoughtful art house film, not a Michael Bay joint.

But let us not lose sight of her instrumentation amid her vocals and careful use of space. She knows how to intricately work an arrangement so that nothing feels cluttered or crowded: “Night Sky” includes fingerpicked mandolin, stand-up bass, percussion, and a horn. Instead of being a jubilant, full-throated blaster, it’s a regal, dignified, calm tune. It reminds me of the sorts of beautiful work that Damien Jurado and Matt the Electrician can put together in their starkest moments. It exemplifies the sorts of arrangements that exist all throughout the album; due to this consistency, Roll will reward you if you listen to it all at once.

Every song on Roll Up the Night Sky is commendable. “Road to Michigan” shows her vocals and guitar at their most Isakov-ian, while “My Beloved” is a poignant, traditional-sounding gentle bluegrass/country ballad. “Holy People” opens with a string section that counts as some of the heaviest work on the album (which points firmly to how quiet this whole work is). Further bonus: these songs are all long. Only two of 12 fall under four minutes, and five are over five minutes. And I haven’t even had time to mention the lyrics, which are shot through with astronomy and loveliness.

Roll Up the Night Sky is a powerful statement made through restraint. It’s a gorgeous, evocative, delicate folk album that shows off Dana Sipos’ formidable talents as a vocalist, songwriter, and arranger. Fans of serious music, female vocalists, or romantic-leaning folk will find themselves with a brilliant talent to enjoy and watch in the future. - Independent Clauses

"Review - Dana Sipos/Roll Up the Night Sky"

If somebody said to you I know this Canadian female singer who was raised in the Northern Territories near the Arctic Circle, whose song writing is influenced by the supernatural experiences of the area and her lyrics represent this by being somewhat quirky. Not sure, OK then, I'll tell you more. This singer has had a nomadic last of couple of year apart from being the musician in residence at the world renowned Banff Centre in Alberta has toured by bicycle and tall ships and whose tour for this album is planned around using canoe and trains as transportation. As an inquisitive kind of bloke, I was intrigued to know what she sounded like. Welcome to the world of Dana Sipos.

Her first for Nashville-based indie Americana label Muddy Roots Music, 'Roll Up The Night Sky' was recorded in the home studio of Arcade Fire's Richard Reed Parry and the Barr Brothers' Montreal studio. This is her third album following on from 2011's offering 'Lay of the Land' and the 2009 'The Moonshine Brigade' which were both recorded in the Yukon wilderness. 'Roll Up The Night Sky' features some of Montreal and Canada's finest music makers :- Ben Hermann, Mark McIntyre, Pietro Amato, Michael Feuerstack and John Tielli; who along with composer, sound designer, sound artist and multi-instrumentalist Jordy Walker on production and assorted instruments, bring out the warm charm of Sipos's compositions. The cherry on top comes from the mastering of the album by Philip Shaw Bova at the vintage time capsule which is Bova Lab in Ottawa giving that tonal warmth that only analogue equipment can give.

Although Dana Sipos has a fairly unique vocal style and at times sounds similar to Elephant Revival's Bonnie Paine, her influences seem to bridge different musical genres from Icelandic artist Sóley to Sam Amidon and early Natalie Merchant. If you could imagine Portishead playing acoustic Americana you wouldn't be far from the overall sound of the album.

It kicks off with the minimalist "Old Sin" a simple melody with a subtle bassline embroidered by staccato drums and percussion. There is a change of pace and feel with the second track "Morningside" which sounds like a reworking of an old English folk song and features the violin of Michael Feuerstack and Jean-Christophe Lizutte's cello. The song introduces Sipo's three fingered mandolin picking style as it starts to weave its way throughout the rest of the album. If Philip Glass composed on mandolin I think it would sound something like this, combining harmonic and three note progression with the rhythmic structure of each song.

Other outstanding tracks include "Portraits" demonstrating the classic minor key hallmarks of singer songwriter territory, underscored by a Danny Thompson like double bass line; the title song "Night Sky" with the soulful surreal chorus:- 'Roll up the night sky, replace the stars with your fire eyes, roll up the night sky… hang the moon in your bedroom'; the REM sounding "Holy People" which I would love Mr Stipe to cover and contains a wonderful cello, pump organ and violin refrain and the dirge like "Full Moons Sinners" which closes the album.

Is it Americana or Canadiana? I'm not really bothered as 'Roll Up The Night Sky' is an album I will continue to dip into. - FATEA (UK)

"Dana Sipos - Roll Up the Night Sky"

Canadian folk artist Dana Sipos has released a new twelve-song album, Roll Up the Night Sky, on Muddy Roots Recordings. Sipos is a consummate singer/songwriter whose wholly distinct sound is as purely organic as the wild flowers of spring in rural America, as warm as a small fire burning somewhere on the windswept snowy landscape of the far north, as impossibly beautiful as strings of white lights wound around the branches of naked trees under the night skies of early autumn, as haunting and gentle as a ghost and yet as powerful as the bluish gray waves pounding against a rocky shore on a stormy day.

Throughout Roll Up the Night Sky, the compositions are carefully arranged so they don't drown out Dana's vocals; instead the extensive instrumentation serves to accentuate the poetry and conveyances of her lyrics as well as the quality and expressiveness of her stunning voice. Quite simply, Dana Sipos' songs on Roll Up the Night Sky don't just touch upon the surface and fade away; they work their way into the fertile soil of one's heart and soul like the mighty roots of an ancient tree.

While the entire album is tremendously worthwhile, the tracks that stand out the most to me are "Old Sins," "Morningside," "Road to Michigan," "Night Sky," "Holy People," and "Full Moon Sinners." - The Examiner

"Dana Sipos - Roll Up the Night Sky"

Roll Up The Night Sky is the third album released by Dana Sipos, for me it’s the introduction to her music and on the strength of this release I will definitely be familiarising myself with the Canadian singer-songwriters back catalogue, the nomadic artist spent her formative years in the subarctic city of Yellowknife in the Northern Territories but has travelled unconventionally through Canada for the last few years, touring by tall ship and bicycle and she’s currently making plans to continue her adventures by canoe and train.
Dana sites musical inspiration for the album from artists including Sóley, Portishead, Agnes Obel and Gillian Welch, the result is beguiling combination of haunting vocals and ethereal arrangements wrapped around her sometimes angular and oblique lyrics, highly recommended. - The Beat Surrender

"A Coronary Tale - Song of the Week"

There's nothing like a good mystery, from Sherlock Holmes to crime shows to how Dolly keeps her hair so big. But the mysteries we tend to know the best are intimate and our own -- namely, the complexity and range of feelings we experience every day. On her song "A Coronary Tale," Dana Sipos cracks at this intricate concept with an eerie grace that hits home immediately.

"I was into the idea of exploring different components of the heart, bringing it outside of the body and breaking it down, and also weaving the physiological aspects with the emotional, the human experience," she says.

"A Coronary Tale" is tense in all the right ways, teasing and building intrigue. Sipos' mandolin twinkles above a darker, oozing bassline and a plucked violin. That enigmatic quality of the music came directly from a real-life ancient conundrum that Sipos discovered during her time in Banff, Alberta.

"I was led down a rabbit hole late one night to Ovid, the Roman poet (who is connected to Cupid and might even initially be responsible for the concept of his love bow and arrow), who got exiled from his home to the Black Sea for something 'worse than murder, more harmful than a poem,'" she says.

"There is no more information on what he had actually done (trust me, I looked for it), but I wanted to bring the strangeness and mystery of that charge into the song.”

Give "A Coronary Tale" a try and see if you can figure out what could possibly be "worse than murder, more harmful than a poem" -- but maybe don't follow through on it. - The Bluegrass Situation

"Songs You Need to Hear This Week - Holy People"

The epic, otherworldly folk of Dana Sipos will appeal to fans looking for something new to scratch itches for acts from Neutral Milk Hotel to Stevie Nicks. Largely recorded at the home studio of Arcade Fire's Richard Reed Parry, "Holy People" is worth some space in your ears. "'Holy People’ is about the sadness and strangeness of the world these days and the equally sad and strange, yet gentle and beautiful things we do as humans to cope and to do what we can and make it more beautiful," Sipos says. - CBC


The image on the cover of Dana Sipos’ new album Roll up the Night Sky shows the singer standing beneath the vast semi-dome of a Port Hope, Ont. bandstand. She looks tiny, alone with her mandolin in front of a backdrop painted like a starry sky. Taken during a bicycle-propelled tour of Ontario, the photo is an apt choice for the nomadic Yellowknifer’s third release: she’s on the road, there’s the night sky – special to all northerners – and there’s a melancholy to the shot, a melancholy that pervades the album.

“I think I’m definitely a minor-key kind of person, with major-key elements,” she says with a subdued laugh, sitting at the dining room table of the house she’s staying in while visiting Yellowknife between touring dates. “I think there’s like two songs in a major key on the whole album.”

The 31-year-old singer/songwriter has been in and out of Yellowknife since leaving for teacher’s college in 2011. And though she still considers it home, in recent years she’s spent most of her time on the move, touring Canada and the U.S. and working Roll Up the Night Sky, which was released in April on the Nashville record label Muddy Roots, in various places around the country.

‘Shadows’ – Dana Sipos, from the new album. Shot in Yellowknife and directed by Jay Bulckaert and Wade Carpenter

The album was born during a musicians’ retreat at the Banff Centre in the fall of 2013. The retreat was initially meant to last two weeks, but six weeks on and Sipos was still there, with an album’s worth of songs – some new and some old ones polished up in preparation for the studio. She’d been in touch with Whitehorse producer and multi-instrumentalist Jordy Walker, and after Banff the two headed to Walker’s cabin outside of Ottawa with a couple of other musician to begin recording.

“It was fairly rustic, in the middle of nowhere… And it was November, so the snow was up to the windows and it was really cold. We went out there for about a week and it was really nice to have that time just to be figuring things out, didn’t have those restrictions of in and out of the studio, just living together for this short time in this very creative bubble.”

After laying the bed tracks at the cabin, she spent the next few months recording at several home-based studios in Montreal, including one owned by Arcade Fire’s Richard Parry. Parry himself isn’t on the album, but the liner notes of Roll Up the Night Sky show a who’s who of the Montreal music scene: John Tielli of CLARK the Band and Michael Feuerstack of Wooden Stars, among others.

“Jordy knew all these amazing musicians in Montreal, so that was a really fun process. Then I essentially ran away with the circus for six months.”

With the album mostly done, Sipos joined a theatre company called Caravan Stage Company which – unexpectedly – operates from the deck of a 90-foot tall ship: “There’s aerialists and big puppets at the top of the mast, the whole ship turns into a stage and the audience comes to port and watches. The way the show opened, me and some other characters ziplined from the sound booth onto the ship, and I’d have moments like, ‘This is my job right now?!’

She spent the next six months sailing from Florida to New York, stopping in ports along the East Coast for a week at time to perform and communicate with Jordie and other musicians back in Montreal who were recording the final tracks and starting to mix the album. “It was a terrible challenge of trying to send mixes back and forth. The internet service was literally dependent on the wind sometimes… Whenever I could get to port and download the files then I would just listen and send back comments.”

When the album was finished, Sipos and Walker approached the Muddy Roots label about releasing it. She’d played a showcase in their room at the Folk Alliance Conference in Kansas City the previous year, and despite the label being mostly “hardcore Americana, like punky folk and roots in blues,” they signed her. She retained complete artistic control over the album, but the label has been something of a godsend in managing mundane things like manufacturing and paying for a publicist

So far the album – densely instrumental, atmospheric, and quite distinct from her earlier works – has been getting very positive reviews. (One reviewer mentioned her in the same breath as Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan as one of “the artists who are taking us on journeys of not just their lives but of others, connecting the listener with the protagonists of their stories and making them feel empathy for them or to be them.”) Sipos considers it her most accomplished work to date. That said she’s eager to start working on new things: “Recording an album is a snapshot of where you are in time or over a period of time. The funny thing too, I don’t necessarily want to hang around with these songs that much more. I’ve spent the time with them, I’ve brought them to life, recorded and now released them, and now I’m writing new songs and I’d like to be singing these new songs.” - The Edge YK


We found Sipos and her band in a lonely Canadian-themed room during Folk Alliance's guerrilla showcase at the Westin hotel. She's got a whispery vocal style reminiscent of Natalie Merchant (10,000 Maniacs). But her lyrics reflect the bleak beauty of her Yukon heritage and the band's current home of Toronto. Watch out for Dana this year -- she's going to be huge. — Cameron Matthews - The Bluegrass Situation

"Herd of NWTers heading to Ottawa's Northern Scene"

Nearly 70 artists from the Northwest Territories will descend on Ottawa along with cohorts from Nunavut, Yukon, Nunavik and Greenland for the first ever Northern Scene festival taking place at the end of April.

The official lineup for the festival was announced on Monday, along with announcements of program details, including concerts, theatre performances, food and craft fairs and art exhibits taking over the nation’s capital from Apr. 25 to May 4.

Musicians, actors, storytellers, visual artists, authors and fashion designers make up the diverse group coming from the NWT.

Festival highlights include a “Circumpolar Soundscape” featuring contemporary music by Leela Gilday and three other women artists from the Arctic on the festival’s opening night.

Other musicians making their way to the stage will include Yellowknife’s Dana Sipos, Digawolf, Grey Gritt, Leanne Goose and the sounds of fiddlers Wesley Hardisty and Richard Lafferty.

I Count Myself Among Them, a radio play adapted from NWT author Richard Van Camp’s short story of the same name, will be performed by a live cast of Aboriginal actors on the night of Apr. 28. Directed by Yellowknife actor and playwright Reneltta Arluk, the play features sound design and a live score by fellow Yellowknifers Travis Mercredi and Brendan Callas.

Ben Nind is bringing his play, Taste of the Wildcat, to be performed at the replica Wildcat Cafe in the Canadian Museum of Civilization.

Nind is also organizing a storytelling showcase from the Northwest Territories, including the yarn spinning talents of Anthony Foliot, Jim Green, Moira Coleman, Pat Braden, Ria Coleman and Scott McQueen.

Aaron “Godson” Hernandez, also of Yellowknife, will be ramping up the party vibe with his hip hop at the SWARM party and fashion show on Friday, Apr. 26.

The Dehcho Drummers and Inuvik Drum Dancers will be part of a musical performance spectacle on Apr. 28, teaming up with the Dakhkà Khwàan Dancers of Yukon to share the diversity of drum dancing traditions throughout the North.

The hot, meaty eats of Yellowknife’s Wise Guy Foods truck chef Robin Wasicuna will be featured as part of the North-South Fusion culinary event on the evening of May 1.

Over 30 artists will have their work showcased in art and film exhibitions and fashion shows around the city.

The Northern Scene is the sixth in a series of biannual national festivals produced by the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, which kicked off with Atlantic Scene in 2003.

With 250 participants, it promises to be the largest gathering ever of Northern artists south of the 60th parallel.
- Northern Journal

"What rhymes with Tuktoyaktuk?"

....SOMBA K'E/YELLOWKNIFE - The work Yellowknife songwriter Dana Sipos is doing to connect with audiences in other parts of Canada on tour and online is going to get a big boost later this year. The 25-year-old performer is scheduled to debut a new Northern song during a concert at the Glenn Gould Studio in Toronto on Dec.15. The song will broadcast live around the country.
Sipos will share the stage with many of the country's best known young and emerging recording artists, including Kim Barlow from the Yukon, Lucie Idlout from Nunavut, Hawksley Workman from Ontario, Martha Wainwright from Quebec, Joel Plaskett from Nova Scotia and Hey Rosetta from Newfoundland and Labrador.
The musicians are all winners of the Great Canadian Song Quest contest on CBC Radio 2. Online voters chose Sipos to represent the NWT in song last week. They also selected the theme she will write and sing about – the Tuktoyaktuk pingos.
"They are quite something from a scientific point of view," said Tuk-born guitarist Greg Nasogaluak of the Yellowknife-based blues-rock band, Priscilla's Revenge.
Pingos are natural formations created when ground water freezes and pushes permafrost up into a mound. Tuktoyaktuk has about 1,350 of them, including the second tallest pingo, which stands 49 metres high and stretches 300 metres along its base.
"I hope Dana has an opportunity to capture the pingos in a song and I hope she has the resources to do the North proud," Nasogaluak said. "I like her music and I'm sure that she'll do great. This might be a good opportunity for her to go (to Tuktoyaktuk). I'm sure there would be a lot of elders in the community who could talk to her about the significance of the pingos. For me, and I’m sure for many people from Tuktoyaktuk, when we see the pingos we see home."
Sipos is planning to head to Tuk next week. It will be her second visit to the community since last spring.
"I loved it there," Sipos said. "It's a really special place. It's so vast and beautiful and the people are so kind. I look forward to going back to get re-inspired by the pingos and to talk to the people about what the pingos mean to them."
She said she will pull together a small concert for the community while she is in town. In the meantime, Sipos continues to concentrate on building her music career.
"I'm just trying to ride the wave here a bit, movin' and shakin'," she said.
This weekend Sipos is participating in the third annual business of the performing arts workshop series hosted by the Northern Arts and Cultural Centre. It is the second year Sipos has participated in the professional development initiative for Yellowknife artists.
On Monday at 8 p.m., Sipos is on stage at Northern United Place opening for folk and roots influenced Canadian recording artist Barney Bentall.
"I'll be interested to see (Sipos perform)," Bentall said. "It should be a fun night."
The concert will broadcast later this year on CBC North's revamped weekend morning program, Skinner at Random. - News/North


Still working on that hot first release.



Originally hailing from the industrial landscape of Hamilton, Ontario, Dana Sipos' formative years were spend in Canada's north and her captivatingly nuanced songs continue to be infused with a wild wind and a haunting, slightly hypnotic surrealism. Her strength as a songwriter lies in shining a tenderly skewed light into the darkness and drawing the listener in to the strange and mystical space occupied by the shadows.

Sipos toured extensively across North America and Europe in support of her 2015 release, Roll Up the Night Sky, described by fRoots UK as “beautifully-crafted, darkly romantic folk-indie with real substance.” The album was released on underground Nashville label Muddy Roots Records and nominated for a Canadian Folk Music Award in the Pushing the Boundaries category, celebrating innovation in creating new folk sounds.

The ten songs that make up her new album Trick of the Light, travel to the Blue Ridge mountains of Appalachia, the Kentucky foothills, the wilds of Tennessee, the rolling hills of Virginia. It is partly by chance and partly by choice that rural, mountainous regions of the US inform so much of of the music, along with hurricanes, palm readers and lighthouses. These are tenuous times and there are gentle, tenuous threads that tie this evocative collection of sonic stories together. 

Sipos employed the help of experimental Toronto producer Sandro Perri. The album is rounded out by an impressive cast of characters - Mary Margaret O’Hara is a featured guest as well as Jesse Zubot, Doug Tielli and Brodie West.  Dana attended the inaugural songwriter residency at the Banff Centre for the Arts in the spring of 2017, where she recorded one of the album’s songs, produced by Howard Bilerman and featuring Nashville strings master Fats Kaplin.

Trick of the Light was released in Toronto's Roaring Girl records in the spring of 2018 to critical acclaim - it has been described as a "luminous and compelling work" (Exclaim!) with "the air of a breakthrough recording" (GreenMan Review US) was nominated in the English Songwriter of the Year category at the 2018 CFMAs.

{funded by FACTOR, Canada Council for the Arts and the Toronto Arts Council.}

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