Bio

Named Traditional Singer of the Year at the Canadian Folk Music Awards for her album “Know the Mountain” (2017)

Hannah Shira Naiman combines her powerful songwriting and impressive musicianship to deliver exciting contemporary versions of traditional music she was raised on.

Hannah has travelled coast to coast in Canada and the US promoting “Know the Mountain” and her debut album, “Tether My Heart” (2013). Since moving to Northern Ontario four years ago, she has continued to develop her songwriting with support from the Ontario Arts Council, and grown her career as a children’s musician and music educator. Hannah has begun work on her third record, “Wheels Won’t Go;” featuring songs inspired by her move from Toronto to northern Ontario, the COVID pandemic, and her experience of new motherhood. Whether performing in concert, penning a murder ballad, or calling a square dance, Hannah Shira Naiman is uniquely positioned to make a lasting mark on the Canadian music landscape.

More About Hannah

Hannah has performed at Merlefest (North Carolina), Ozark Folk Centre (Arkansas), Club Passim (Massachusetts), Northern Lights Festival Boreal (Sudbury, ON), Summerfolk (Owensound, ON), Blue Skies Folk Festival (Perth, ON) Full Circle Festival (Newport, NS), and Harrison Festival of the Arts (Harrison Hot Springs, BC).

Hannah says that growing up, music was a given. Naiman’s parents are both musicians; and, as a child, they brought her to folk music festivals and traditional music and dance camps that remained constants in her life. Eventually, Hannah took ownership or those experiences, and began to lead songs and dances, contribute to them, and create them.

Hannah says that from the first time she stole her father’s banjo, she intuitively understood how it worked. She found the instrument to be a natural fit and wrote her first song within weeks of picking it up.

The music Hannah writes borrows stories, images, and language from traditional Appalachian music. She plays a style of banjo called “clawhammer,” which is based in syncopated rhythms. Hannah says these rhythms and phrases naturally drive her songwriting towards a traditional style.

With an Ontario Arts Council creation grant, Hannah has again used this approach to develop songsfor her upcoming record, “Wheels Won’t Go.” These most recent songs are reflective of the challenges of new motherhood, cold winters in northern Ontario, and the coronavirus pandemic – including hersingle, “Vinegar Pie,” which capturesthe struggle, and powerlessness of waiting. Hannah says these new songs are not candy coated, but they are honest and authentic. And there’s a love song in there, too, plus a spirited tribute to her daughter.

Hannah also records and performs as a children’s musician. Hannah’s kids’ albums include Savez-Vous Planter des Choux (2001), which was distributed through the Ontario Government’s literacy program from 2001-2003, Here We Go Zodeo (2012) (winner of Parent’s Choice Gold), and, It’s a Beautiful Day/C’est une Belle Journée (2017).

Full Band 

ARNIE NAIMAN, guitar
Arnie Naiman wears many hats within the American oldtime music scene, and although he has earned much respect as a guitarist and fiddler, he is most known for his clawhammer 5 string banjo playing- which earned him 2nd place in the West Virginia Appalachian Stringband Festival within the senior clawhammer banjo category in 2015. Arnie has written over two dozen banjo tunes which have been recorded, and published worldwide. Arnie performs with Uncle Henry's Favourites, Hannah Shira Naiman, and Ragged But Right. His first album 5 Strings Attached With No Backing (Merriweather Records Ltd., 1997), recorded with Chris Coole, has earned him great recognition within the Appalachian old time music scene—he has since recorded and co-produced 5 oldtime music albums. Arnie has recorded with Erynn Marshall, The Albermarle Ramblers, The Marigolds, Hannah Shira Naiman, Ragged But Right, Jim Childress, and Kathy Reid-Naiman. He is the VP and co-founder of Merriweather Records Ltd., a homegrown record label dedicated to oldtime music and quality children's music since 1995. Along with Chris Coole, Chris Quinn and Brian Taheny, he has been producing an annual banjo showcase in Toronto, The Banjo Special.

 

ROSALYN DENNETT, fiddle
Rosalyn is a leading old time musician, and folk/roots artist in Canada. Her fiddling and singing was showcased through her 6 years performing in the all-female quartet Oh My Darling, and her recent work has included recordings with Ken Whiteley, The Living Daylight Stringband, Hannah Shira Naiman, and Frank Evans. She has been nominated for a Western Canadian Music Award for Best Roots Album "Oh My Darling" and "Sweet Nostalgia”. Rosalyn has performed sold out shows across Europe and Canada including performing for Canada Day at Trafalgar Square in London (UK), Mainstage at the Winnipeg Folk Festival and Tønder Festival (DK). She has opened for Tegan & Sarah, and Blue Rodeo with the band Oh My Darling, shared the stage with Tim O'Brien, Dirk Powell, Le Vent du Nord and many more fine artists.


RACHEL MELAS, bass
Born in New York City, Rachel Melas started playing Bass in 1976 at the age of 16. She worked her way through 2 Mel Bay for Bass books and learned the basslines off of a pile of blues, jazz and reggae records and since has played music continually in many different settings. She has been a bump on the log of Canadian music for about the last 20 years performing every thing from the post punk groove music of the Animal Slavesto the World beat of Mother Tongue and the atmospheric Folk of the Courage of Lassie, amongst others. Playing string bass in a Cajun Dance Band is the logical culmination of a long and varied career. She currently performs with Klezmer band, The Horables, singer songwriter Max Woolaver, French pop jazz outfit Amelie et les Singes bleus, and vintage swing specialists Moo'd Swing, as well as Appalachian roots singer songwriter, Hannah Shira Naiman.