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Art Beat: JUNO award-winning world ensemble Avataar playing High Beam Dreams

Also, on the eve of Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day (June 23), a special prayer service with organ and choral music will take place at Christ the Redeemer Church in Madeira Park. 
The national tour for the world music band Avataar touches down at High Beam Dreams this weekend.

The JUNO award-winning world ensemble Avataar will perform at High Beam Dreams in Gibsons during its first national tour this June.  

The dynamic ensemble melds the music of India, Brazil and modern jazz with atmospheric landscapes and world grooves. Deeply textured and cinematic in scope, the music drives and swirls through a sonic palette that draws comparisons to the jazz fusion band Mahavishnu Orchestra and American jazz virtuoso Charles Lloyd. 

Avataar will perform at High Beam Dreams on June 23 and offer a workshop the following day. The artists have just three performances in B.C. as part of their national tour. 

The group features some of Canada’s finest jazz, world, funk and pop musicians, including bandleader Sundar Viswanathan (saxes, flutes, bansuri, vocals), Laura Swankey (vocals), Michael Occhipinti (guitar), and Ravi Naimpally (tablas and percussion). Rich Brown (bass) performs with the ensemble in Western Canada and Derek Gray (drums) will join the band for Vancouver-area performances.  

Band members share an eclectic range of musical expertise. Hard bop, pop, rock, electronica, free improvisation, world, rhythm and blues, and soul filter into the interpretations of their tunes. 

More information and tickets are available at 

Full immersion vespers 

On the eve of Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day (June 23), a special prayer service with organ and choral music will take place at Christ the Redeemer Church in Madeira Park. 

Vespersong, a choir founded by local organist and choir director David Poon, will be joined by the Suncoast Viols to present music by Orlando Gibbons, including his famous This is the record of John. 

Choral accompaniment using a consort of viols was typical of the private chapels of royalty in the era of King James I. 

“All are invited to experience some respite from modern society by plunging into slowness of the past, contemplating the beauty still extant today, and hoping for brightness in the future to overcome the dark,” said Poon. 

The musical service takes place at Christ the Redeemer Anglican Church in Madeira Park on June 23 at 5 p.m.

From zero to hero 

A four-day summer fiddle and violin camp on the Sunshine Coast will offer fledgling string players a chance to learn the instrument from the ground up. 

The Serena Eades Academy of Music has scheduled a four-day camp from July 22 to 25, complementing similar offerings provided by the academy in Vancouver and Qathet/Powell River.

Fiddle from Scratch for Kids was first offered in 2022, when 15 young learners aged four to seven enlisted. No prior experience is required, and rental fiddles are provided. 

“It is the perfect age because that’s when kids are just starting to learn to read,” said Serena Eades, director of the academy. “They’re getting a little bit more dexterity in their hands and their bodies and getting interested about music and instruments. It’s a really fun way to start because you’re in a group and you make some new friends.” 

Instructor for the Sunshine Coast cohort will be Brigitte Ouellet, who was raised playing the Acadian style of fiddle music. 

“Often it’s by seeing somebody, either their age or a little bit older, like a young person playing, that becomes an inspiration for a new player,” added Eades. 

More information and registration are available online at