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Listen to Ian's latest CD - My Pious Frends & Listen to Ian's CD - Shallow Water

Read the Greg Quill's review of Shallow Water published in the Toronto Star, Nov. 30, 2006 - Click here

Always a part-time musician, Ian Bell has none-the-less performed professionally across Canada and in the United States for over a quarter century. On his own and with a number of ensembles he has appeared at numerous folk festivals (Winnipeg, Mariposa, Edmonton, Ottawa, Yellowknife, Owen Sound, Lunenberg , Montmagny, and others) and in concerts in every sort of venue. With his group Muddy York, and along with Wade Hemsworth (composer of the Blackfly Song, Log Driver's Waltz), Ian performed for two weeks in the Folklife Pavilion at Expo 86 in Vancouver, BC. In 1993 Ian was named "Folk Artist in Residence" for that year at Joseph Schneider Haus Museum, in Kitchener, Ontario. In 2004 Ian performed as part of the "Roots of American Music" Festival at Lincoln Centre in New York City. In July 2005 Ian travelled to Estonia with long-time collaborator Anne Lederman to perform at the Viljandi Folk Festival. Ian appears on dozens of recordings as sideman as well as several under his own name. Ian's most recent CD is Shallow Water which was released in November 2006.

For much of the past 30 years, Ian Bell has taken his music from coast to coast through concerts, broadcasts, and recordings. Ian captivates audiences by introducing some of Canada's seldom-heard musical traditions into his music. He has been the leader of The Dawnbreakers, and Professor Chalaupka's Celebrated Singing School, and with Anne Lederman was part of the seminal Canadian folk group Muddy York. Ian still plays regularly for old-time square and contra dances across Southern Ontario.

For years, as a singer/songwriter and storyteller, Ian Bell has been introducing audiences to themselves, with original words and music rooted in the fields and townscapes of Southwestern Ontario. Ian's repertoire ranges from old songs and ballads, to Celtic/Canadian dance tunes, as well as original compositions inspired by anything from blacksmiths and bikers to Charles Atlas, from woolly mammoths and fishermen to... love. He has performed in venues ranging from the CBC's Glenn Gould Theatre to rural church basements. In concerts on his own or with The Dawnbreakers, Ian performs on guitar, button accordion, harmonica, mandolin, smallpipes and fiddle. Ian continues to draw inspiration from his full-time work as the curator of a small town museum.

Ian's music is invariably interwoven with his trademark stories: funny, touching, unlikely, mostly true, and always entertaining.

Ian has been a part of Toronto's "Mariposa in the Schools" program for years and has developed several captivating and educational programs. Ian enjoys sharing his knowledge and love of traditional music with young people. His school programs have been taught to classes ranging from Kindergarten to Gr. 8.

  1. Canadian Heritage Music - "Breathe life into Canadian history"
  2. Sound Production Program - "How do instruments work?" and instrument building classes
  3. From There to Here, From Then to Now - "celebrating our past through songs, dance, music, and humour"
  4. Unplugged but Resonant - "light-hearted exploration of the physics of sound on many traditional instruments"
  5. Tamaracker Down - "Old-time Ontario Step Dancing"

As a long-time freelance broadcaster, Ian has worked on many occasions with Stuart McLean on CBC Radio's Vinyl Café. Ian has co-written and served as musical director for five Vinyl Café national concert broadcasts. For seven years Ian was a regular contributor to the weekend Fresh Air program on CBC radio. Over the years, Ian Bell has been a regular contributor to many CBC programs including Ideas, Gabereau, Crossroads, This Morning, and Radio Noon. He also appeared numerous times on Peter Gzowski's Morningside.

Ian has also contributed to numerous film scores and performed period music for and occasionally appeared in the TV series, The Road to Avonlea.

Ian's Recordings and Past Performances

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