The Wheat in the Barley
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The Wheat in the Barley

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 1996 | SELF

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada | SELF
Established on Jan, 1996
Band Folk Celtic


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



"Can't Draw the Curtain"

In The Wheat in the Barley, Steve Gidora provides vocals, mandolins and guitar. In recent years, a passion for songwriting has overtaken him, resulting in many new originals, some of which are featured on the band's new fourth CD entitled "Can't Draw the Curtain".

Can't Draw the Curtain is music to dance to, and I dare you to try and keep your feet still while listening to the infectious sound. The inventive arrangements and eclectic array of instruments puts an exciting spin on the Celtic tunes, but their repertoire runs the gamut right down to the Cajun "Crawdad Fiasco".

The CD is aptly named — you wouldn't want to draw the curtain on this hooley! - The Celtic Connection by Catholine Butler February 2009

"Curtain Opens on New Wheat CD"

By Alex Browne - Surrey Leader

Published: January 1, 2009

It doesn't matter if you don't know what to call it, as long as the music moves you.

That's the consensus of members of popular local band The Wheat In The Barley, who have tried to come up with various descriptive terms over the years, including woodwind and harmonica player Mark Dowding's cheeky "folk 'n' roll".

The simple truth is that, during its more than a decade of playing, The Wheat In The Barley has always been about adding contemporary energy to folk traditions – and seldom saying no to an interesting idea or musical juxtaposition.

Loyal fans have claimed they always stay interested because they never know what's coming next. But whatever the band plays is bound to be compelling and almost hypnotically danceable.

It's that free-form approach to acoustic music that will be on show Saturday, Jan. 10 (8 p.m.) and Sunday, Jan. 11 (2 p.m.) at Coast Capital Playhouse, 1532 Johnston Rd. in a concert to launch The Wheat In The Barley's latest CD, Can't Draw The Curtain.

"We're basically going to perform the whole album from start to finish, with a couple of additional numbers thrown in," said mandolinist/group founder Steve Gidora, who will be joined by the band's consistent line-up: Dowding on winds, fiddler Nicole Scoffield, accordionist/percussionist/vocalist Victor Smith, bassist/ guitarist Mickey Hovan and percussionist/bassist Ed Johnson.

On the CD, traditional fiddle tunes like Ellen O'Grady – featuring blues harp and driving rhythm – rub shoulders with such toe-tapping specialties as Smith's Cajun-inspired Crawdad Fiasco and the Klezmer jazz classic Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen, featuring Dowding's wailing soprano sax.

On the ballad side, Scoffield once again gets into vocal mode with an excellent cover of Blue Rodeo's Five Days In May, while Gidora's songwriting continues to flower with a new batch of sensitive originals, two of which are voiced – as they will be at the concert by singer, and old friend, Medderick Crotteau (he wrote and sang the title song of the band's 1998 CD Grandad).

The band's genesis (in 1996) was in a Sunday night jam organized by Gidora at White Rock's Charlie Don't Surf, and at which he found the right kindred spirits for the kind of band he had in mind.

The personnel has remained remarkably stable since – and even Scoffield, the most recent addition, has been there for more than five years.

The Wheat In The Barley has established a strong following over the course of hundreds of community concerts, special events, and school appearances throughout Western Canada.

A Nov. 7 concert at the Rogue Folk Club in Vancouver was recorded by CBC Radio 2, which aired selections on its Canada Live concert series nationwide late in December.

The band's music cuts across generational boundaries, Gidora said – a fact that's reflected in the decision to make the Jan. 11 show a matinee to accommodate all ages.
- Surrey Leader

"Wheaties Wow Local Audience"

By Ian Webster
March 10, 2004

A full house of over 150 patrons was treated to a wonderful evening of "Eurasian roots music" this past Saturday evening, as The Wheat in the Barley performed an ethnically diverse mix of Celtic, Slavic, Middle Eastern, South American and Mediterranean tunes in front of an appreciative audience at the Merritt Civic Centre. The concert, by the BC-based folk group, was the third of four in this year's Nicola Valley Community Arts Council series, which will conclude April 16 when renowned classical pianist Alexander Tselyakov takes centre stage.

Jo-anne Portman, NVCAC spokesperson, was delighted with the turnout, "one of the best that we've had in our annual concert series." She attributed the success of the event to the "broad-based appeal of the entertainment," noting that the audience included young and old alike. "It was a real family evening."

The "Wheaties", as they are affectionately called, displayed brilliant musicianship throughout the evening, showcasing their tightly arranged instrumentals, sparkling improvisations, and compelling rhythms, while playing an array of instruments from guitar and mandolin to the bohdran drum and bones, from the penny whistle to the saxophone and violin. Their repertoire on this two-set night included, amongst others, spirited Irish jigs, haunting Celtic ballads, and African percussion jams.

The members of the Wheaties are a veritable who's who of the folk scene in the Lower Mainland over the past ten to fifteen years. Founder Steve Gidora, who shares his Irish-Ukrainian heritage in several of the group's numbers, has performed with the likes of Charlotte Diamond and Ann Mortifee, and opened for legendary Pete Seeger and Odetta. Another well-known member of the group, Victor Smith, has worked with a plethora of Vancouver folk groups, including The Paperboys, The Stoaters and Shenanigan. Capable of playing an arsenal of instruments, he was at his best this night on accordion and bohdran drum.

Woodwind specialist Mark Dowding contributed exhilarating leads and counterpoints on various silver and wooden flutes, and did some mean 'howlin' on both the blues harmonica and soprano saxophone. The newest member of the group, Nicole Scoffield, rooted much of the evening's music with her beautiful violin playing, switching easily from soulful traditional renderings to up-tempo dance reels.

It was indeed, a night of beautiful music.

© Copyright 2004 Merritt Herald
- Merritt Herald

"The Wheat in the Barley Dazzle"

The Wheat in the Barley, as the name might suggest, is a folk music band. What exactly is folk music, you ask? Good question —when we hear the term ‘folk music’, most of us think immediately of Celtic music, or Appalachian or Yiddish or Cajun or the great ‘Folk Scare’ of the 60’s. The term also brings to mind political subject matter through songs of working people and songs of protest.

The Wheat in the Barley combined elements of all these traditions and styles in their Friday night concert. The audience was taken on a whirlwind musical vacation to a variety of cultures: from the British Isles to Eastern Europe to French Canada to the southern USA to South America and back home again to Western Canada. With remarkable skill on a wide variety of instruments, the group is able to explore and faithfully express the sounds from all these folk music traditions.

A highlight of the show was a beautiful 300 year old Irish tune by Turlough O'Carolan featuring the flute mastery of Mark Dowding. As he said in the introduction, "It is a testament to the staying power of a good melody". Another audience favourite was an original Cajun song called Crawdad Fiasco, written by accordion player and percussionist Victor Smith. He called it a 'folkadian' song - explaining that Cajun music in Louisiana has a Canadian connection from the displaced Acadian people. Still, what is perhaps most surprising about The Wheat in the Barley is that all the eclectic musical dabbling comes together in a coherent and satisfying concert experience.
Photo: Guy Scott

People who are not familiar with the current folk music scene sometimes have the impression that musicianship is not a high priority in the genre. But that certainly does not describe all folk music, and the stellar musicianship in this band is proof. Improvisational solos came from all band members — on violin, quena, whistles, guitars, accordion, flute, sax and mandolins — and rarely failed to lift the appreciative audience to a new level of enthusiasm. Founding member Steve Gidora commanded the stage with a quiet authority earned by experience, as band members took their turn in the soloing spotlight. Nicole Scoffield ... provided excellent violin soloing and also stepped up to deliver an occasional lead vocal.

As a folk musician myself, I’m happy to see that accomplished folk bands like The Wheat in the Barley are out there representing so many great folk music traditions — and opening minds and hearts to the wealth of down-to-earth artistry within the many folk cultures.

Andrew Smith is a Kelowna-based musician, songwriter and music producer.

Concert: Friday, May 1, 2015 at the Kelowna Community Theatre
Presented by Kelowna Community Concert Association. - Kelowna Daily Courier (May 4, 2015)


1) Acres of Clams (1997)
2) Grandad (1998)
3) After the Battle (2004)
Many tracks from this third disc are getting heavy rotation on western Canadian campus and alternative radio stations, such as CITR, CKMO and CKUA.
4) Can't Draw the Curtain (Jan. 10, 2009)
5) 5 Days in May - single drawn from release #4 above edited for broadcast purposes. (4:14)

Presenting the Wheat in the Barley (2004)
Band interviews and videos of 5 tunes, live in concert



"The Wheat in the Barley are absolutely one of the very best groups I have heard in recent years. A great mixture of both original and traditional songs, plus outstanding instrumentals from the Celtic countries, Eastern Europe, Latin America and more, all performed with great virtuosity on a huge range of wind, string and percussion instruments."
Denis McMaster, President, Rocky Mountain Folk Club, Calgary, AB

The members of this all-Canadian roots music powerhouse have decades of big stage experience behind them, and are still picking up speed. Festival appearances alongside folk music headliners such as The Chieftains, The Cottars, Valdy, The Paperboys and The Wailin’ Jennys have proven their depth of musical talent, their professionalism and their rollicking showmanship. The electricity that this group generates at every performance sparks the kind of glowing endorsements that they have earned over years of touring western Canada, just a few of which are quoted here.

With four CDs and a DVD to their credit, and more due out in the coming year, this high energy group are truly at the top of their game. With poignant original songs and high-energy instrumentals both classic and original, these masters of funk–folk fusion will pop festival audiences up onto their feet instantly.

Amidst brilliant arrangements, the improvisation never stops — it’s like one big roller coaster with a great view of shifting musical terrain. No matter which style they choose, they have a particular shine that is instantly recognizable:  “Celtic Blues in Gypsy Shoes.”

"North America has witnessed the melding of many cultures and musical traditions in the past 100 years or so, and here in Western Canada this confluence is especially strong. Oddly enough, very few musical groups have explored this fertile ground. The Wheat In The Barley are one of the few exceptions, and they blend these musical grains into a very hearty meal indeed. The "Wheaties" bring the music of various cultures together and sprinkle them liberally with original songs of ordinary people and their exploits, stirring them up with excellent musicianship and creative arrangements."
Steve Edge, Artistic Director, Rogue Folk Club, Vancouver, BC.

The group is based out of greater Vancouver, BC, Canada, and are available for touring anywhere in the world as a quartet. Stage technical requirements, promotional material, videos and music samples are all available on this Sonicbids EPK, and also on their own website at

“A great performance --- they really reached the audience and brought them to their feet. They had just the right combination of artistry and professional presentation to draw the audience in and give them a really memorable show.”
Ted Osborne, Vice President, Osoyoos & District Arts Council

And one final note, from a respected industry veteran:

"Live or on disc, The Wheat in the Barley is an altogether superior ensemble.

"Folk, world, jazz, a little funk, reggae and Cajun, all co-exist peacefully and passionately on their latest CD, Can’t Draw The Curtain. There are few bands that can move from a traditional Celtic tune to a Yiddish theatre gem, to a Blue Rodeo cover, to more-than-solid originals. These folks can.

"With one foot in the tradition and the other somewhere in the future, The Wheat In The Barley keeps getting better and better. This is music to make you exercise both your feet and your brain!"
Gary Cristall, Arts Management

Artistic Director (1978 – 1994), Vancouver Folk Music Festival

Band Members