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Sarah Slean, Atlantic String Machine make joint Indian River Festival appearance

Sarah Slean
Sarah Slean - Contributed

Star studded ensemble perform on June 22 at 7:30 p.m. at historic St. Mary’s Church in Indian River.

INDIAN RIVER – Modern-day renaissance woman Sarah Slean is partnering with popular Island ensemble Atlantic String Machine for a night of music at Indian River Festival.

Slean, a three-time Juno nominee, signed her first record deal at 19, and has since released 11 albums in over 10 countries across the globe.

Even more astonishing, over her 20-year career, Slean has published two volumes of poetry, starred in short films and a movie musical – spawning two Gemini Award nominations – penned two string quartets, exhibited her paintings and shared the stage with eight of the country’s professional orchestras.

Citing diverse influences for her work, her music borrows aspects of cabaret, rock, pop and orchestral woven together with her lyrics, piano playing, and a voice described as a “19th century Kate Bush.”

On June 22, Slean will take the stage with Atlantic String Machine, which was formed in April 2015.

Comprised of five musicians with musical experience in a variety of genres, the group has performed worldwide with internationally recognized symphony and chamber orchestras, ensembles, bands and individual artists.

Sean Kemp and Karen Graves will take to their violins with fellow group members, Jeffrey Bazett-Jones, violist, Natalie Williams Calhoun, cellist, and Louis Garson, bassist.

Recently Atlantic String Machine joined together to present a wide range of music from jazz, pop, world music and their own compositions. 


Their album “Lost Time” was nominated in 2017 for an East Coast Music Award, as well as the title composition receiving a nomination with its composer, Kemp, for best classical composition.

Kemp, has performed across the globe with a multitude of groups and ensembles including the English Chamber Orchestra, as well as artists like Anne Murray and Barbara Streisand.

Graves has played with orchestras across Canada and the United Kingdom, including Canada’s National Ballet Orchestra and Belfast, Ireland’s Ulster Orchestra.

Violist Bazett-Jones is a recent addition to the Maritime provinces. The Schulich scholar and graduate of the McGill Schulich School of Music now teaches for Sistema New Brunswick in Moncton, and performs with Symphony New Brunswick, Tutta Musica and Atlantic String Machine.

Calhoun, a cellist that currently freelances with the Island’s Symphony Orchestra, Symphony Nova Scotia and Charlottetown Festival Orchestra. Prior to living on P.E.I., Calhoun worked with the National Ballet Orchestra and other Canadian and international groups.

She also directs the Senior Singing Strings Orchestra in Charlottetown.

Garson, bassist, has performed with the Windsor Symphony, Hamilton Philharmonic and Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Orchestras as well as performing in the Phantom of the Opera orchestra in Toronto.

Slean with Atlantic String Machine perform on June 22 at 7:30 p.m. at historic St. Mary’s Church in Indian River.

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