Elena Yeung
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Elena Yeung

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada | SELF

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada | SELF
Band Americana Bluegrass


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"Elena Yeung, Dandelion"

Elena Yeung doesn’t know the meaning of sophomore jinx. The second album from this Creston, BC, singer/songwriter/banjo player is chock full of new ideas that moves her to a new level. Her feet are planted in both the bluegrass and old-time genres but her head defies boundaries to give a truly “Yeungian” sound. The woman knows no limits.
Take, for example, the a cappella gospel song Gonna Build Me Boat. Would it sound good with a gospel group backing her up? Sure as the rain’s gonna fall, and who does she get but The Persuasions, and goes all the way to New Jersey to record the track.
Yeung plays the rolling Scruggs style of banjo but how about a duet with a clawhammer player? I’ve never heard it done, and her interaction on Banjo vs. Garden with Chris Suen works beautifully. Definitely not duelling banjos.
In the old-time tradition, she delivers servings of crows, sparrows, trains, tragedy and a delightful kids’ tune about popcorn. And Yeung’s playing is more solid than ever. Clearly she’s been spending too much time playing banjo and writing songs to get at those dandelions in the garden. - Penguin Eggs

"No fences...no boundaries..."

I love my “JOB!” And, I know just how Forrest Gump feels concerning a box of chocolates…… I’ll get a new CD in the mail, have not a clue who or what is waiting inside for me, I’ll open it….. and it’ll end up being Christmas morning!!!

When Elena Yeung’s new CD, “Dandelion,” arrived, it came with a very polite, hand-written request to be reviewed. How nice, in this age of e-mails, texting and twitter to get correspondence personalized in the author’s own hand! A strong, but delicate and legible cursive….. with an attention to detail, etiquette and correctness like I haven’t seen in years. You bet I’ll review it Ms. Yeung!

I immediately got a sense of 60’s folk music when I listened the first time. Elena’s voice is so reminiscent of those lovely ladies I grew up with. Joan Baez, Buffy Saint-Marie, Joni Mitchell, Judy Collins, Mimi Farina…..

But, hers has a simple sweetness all it’s own. Elena would stand out even among those celebrated voices. And she knows how to use her voice for maximum affect. She may be from British Columbia, Canada, but her control, delivery and style are very much “up town.” Yes, she’s bluegrass… and old timey…. and gospel…. and traditional….. but, eclectic seems to best describe Elena Yeung.

All the songs, except a banjo and vocal excursion using “Get Along Home Cindy, Cindy,” are originals. And that 60’s innocence and naiveté is present here, also. Listen to “The Flagpole,” and you’ll hear the story of that kid in your class who had to touch his tongue to the flagpole to see if it would, indeed, stick. And she must love trains, because both “I’m Gonna Be An Engineer” and “Train, Black As Night,” couldn’t be better written about the subject. Her wordplay is simplistic, but far from simple. In reading the lyrics in her liner notes, she could just as well be in a Greenwich Village coffee house reciting them as poetry as singing them. Case in point, “Promise Of Silver And Gold,” is as haunting and sweet when read as it is in its musical form. The song is one of the CD’s highlights.

The most interesting, “knock ME out” track, is a gospel one….and a very GOOD one at that. On “Gonna Build Me A Boat,” Elena sings with the a cappella group “The Persuasions.” These gentlemen have been together for fifty years now, and hearing them here is a sweet treat! Absolutely SUPER! Elena traveled to the East coast, got these men into Take 5 Studios in New Jersey, and with their help, recorded a GEM! To hear their harmonies, along with Elena, is worth the price of admission. AND…. it seems so natural for her to work with them. New York City meets Creston, BC! AND… it fits right in on an acoustic music CD. The crowds at “Merlefest” or “Telluride” would go crazy if they got the chance to hear this song done LIVE by Eleana and The Persuasions. No fences… no boundaries………

Besides her songs and her voice, her banjo is the other constant in this audio Polaroid. She definitely is a bluegrass girl when she kicks off one of her songs. Dexterity, feel and timing are her forte. She has obviously spent years listening to and learning from the best. And she surrounds herself with really solid friends, pickers and singers that make “HER” sound a reality. No less that eighteen people make up the musician roster here. And on the production side, she has co-producer Ben Winship and tech support from Jason Deatherage. She and Jason also recorded several of her banjo tracks at her home studio, “The Pillow Fort.” Learning to record on your own is like learning a new instrument….. and with all the equipment now available, teaching yourself to use all the available “toys” falls under the category of “Necessary Knowledge.” Elena shows on this CD that she has no lack of courage and fortitude. Her “make it happen” attitude could be her most important talent. All she needs now is for the rest of the world to get a chance to enjoy her music……. Why don’t each and every one of you reading this get a copy of “Dandelion” and you’ll be in - Prescriptionbluegrass.com


“…Yeung nails the old-timey/bluegrass genre to the wall. (The Gravedigger’s Daughter) shows off a fine songwriter and banjo player who musically harkens older, gentler times” - The Province, John P. McLaughlin


"In her debut CD, Elena serves up a heapin’ helpin’ of original recipes. Well-crafted lyrics tell simple yet vivid stories, while her infectious melodies and tasty 5-string banjo will keep you coming back for more." - CJSR FM 88.5, Prairie Pickin' with Doug Ritchie


"(The Gravedigger’s Daughter) is the sound that comes to you in a sleepless night…it’s the freight train in the blizzard" - Radio 2 Drive, Rich Terfry

"The Gravedigger's Daughter"

Elena Yeung seems so comfortable with the rhythms and melodies of American bluegrass you might think they ran through her veins. A first-generation Chinese-Canadian raised in small town Manitoba, Yeung currently resides in the heart of BC's Kootenays, where she plays a mean banjo and sets her searing voice on the age-old themes of murder and heartbreak. The 11 original compositions on the disc cover a lot of ground stylistically, from the dark, driving bluegrass of opening track "Gravedigger's Daughter" to the mandolin-laced balladry of tunes like "Howl Away" to the bouncy fiddle work on songs such as "Skipping Stones." The disc's minimal production and occasional rough spots only serve to contribute to its air of authenticity. This is a nice little debut for a voice that just might be on the verge of finding its place in the world. (Independent) - Exclaim! Magazine - Rachel Sanders


The Gravedigger's Daughter - 2008
Dandelion - 2011



When you first listen to Elena perform, you’ll probably wonder from which old folk record or songbook she dug her repertoire. Elena Yeung taps into timeless themes of the human condition, echoing the roots of folk, bluegrass and mountain traditions while emphasizing her driving banjo style.

Born and raised in the farming community of Carberry, Manitoba by immigrant parents from Hong Kong, Yeung wandered across Canada over the past decade, living in Regina, SK, Kingston, ON, St. John’s, NL, and even briefly in Inuvik, NWT, before settling most recently in the far reaches of interior British Columbia, in an old farmhouse with the howl of the coyotes and the occasional ghost story to keep her company.

Following the 2008 release of The Gravedigger’s Daughter, Yeung toured across Canada and has performed at Dawson City Music Festival, Coombs Bluegrass Festival, Kaslo Jazz Etc. Festival, and the Salmon Arm Roots & Blues Festival.

Released in November 2011, Dandelion showcases Yeung’s ability to once again capture the sound of the classic American folk song, beginning with familiar bluegrass themes but also exploring earlier influences including old-time piano waltzes and swing. In a dramatic departure from her typical bluegrass instrumentation, the track Gonna Build Me A Boat follows the tradition of the negro spiritual, sung in a cappella with The Persuasions. Playful themes of a rural childhood, accompanied by infectious sing-along melodies strike a chord with listeners of all ages.

Elena is joined by Karl Sommerfeld on fiddle and vocals, presenting an energetic fiddle/banjo duo including a sample of traditional instrumental pieces. Steve Jones (bass) and Keith Larsen (guitar, vocals) complete the full band line-up.

Reviews for The Gravedigger’s Daughter:

“…She plays a mean banjo and sets her searing vocals on the age-old themes of murder and heartbreak…This is a nice little debut for a voice that just might be on the verge of finding its place in the world” – Exclaim! magazine

“…this album could get you through the end of a long Canadian winter” – Penguin Eggs

“…Yeung nails the old-timey/bluegrass genre to the wall. (The Gravedigger’s Daughter) shows off a fine songwriter and banjo player” – The Province

Reviews for Dandelion:

“Absolutely SUPER!...Why don’t each and everyone of you reading this get a copy of ‘Dandelion’ and you’ll be in on one of Canada’s best kept secrets” – Prescriptionbluegrass.com

Band Members