Although Manitoba is over a thousand miles away from their home base in Toronto, indie-folk band The Wilderness of Manitoba radiates the muted serenity of a gentle snowfall on the Canadian landscape. Lead by vocalist Will Whitwham, the five-piece band's minimal, multi-instrumental arrangements produce cascading, dreamy songs where every tiny tinker is crucial. Members Scott Bouwmeester, Stefan Banjevic, Melissa Dalton and Sean Lancaric round out the band--I won't even get into what everyone plays; it'll be too much text.
Freshly formed from Craigslist, local shows and comedy clubs, TWOM released a five-song EP Hymns of Love and Spirits in 2009, and released their debut album When You Left The Fire this past May. You'll see from the live videos we were lucky enough to get that their "studio" sound (they recorded at home and at a local church) doesn't deviate much from their live sound. That lack of disparity adds to the wonderfully authentic quality of their music. A very cute tidbit to note: Their song "Evening" was originally written by Whitwham's mother in the 60's and then performed by TWOF for their Hymns EP. She apparently has more songs, but the band hasn't recorded more as of yet.
If you don't already know, I'm a sucker for classical instruments played outside a classical piece. I love that The Wilderness of Manitoba has a cello, along with a banjo, ukulele, harmonica, tambourine, piano, drums, that toilet paper roll/can thing and a metal pestle and mortar looking thing (as you can tell, I really know my musical instruments). Their music is the perfect soundtrack to a contemplative trip to a mountain cabin, an evening at home during a winter chill, or just if you want to feel a little serene wilderness in the city.
Watch The Wilderness of Manitoba perform their songs "Hermit" and "November" live from their debut album:
Check out the official video for their first single "Orono Park":