Artists & Performers 2018

Alan Syliboy & Lukas Pearse

Alan Syliboy was born and raised in Truro and lives at Millbrook First Nation. He looks to the indigenous Mi’kmaq petroglyph (stone etchings) tradition for inspiration, and developed his own artistic vocabulary out of those forms. 

Alan’s band, The Thundermakers,  are  Guitarist/Vocals Hubert Francis star of Brookes Diamond production, “Drum” from Elsipogtog First Nation, Lead guitarist Evan Syliboy formerly with Alan’s band Lonecloud, and bassist, composer, sound designer, video/sound editor,  Lukas Pearse of Halifax NS, plus group leader, percussionist/spoken word artist Alan Syliboy. The show consists of songs, spoken word and stories accompanied by multi-media art film and live performance.

Multi-faceted musician / composer / media artist  Lukas Pearse (b1971) from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada) works with basses, sound, image and technology in many ways, using acoustic, electric and electronic instruments; mechanical, analogue and digital sound recordings, sound diffusion techniques for installation, modern dance and concert performance. Lukas also explores live visuals and interactive projections using both analogue video and computer vision. As a performer in improvised music, new music, indie rock, jazz, folk and “world” music, he also works as a film sound designer, Foley artist and film composer. Lukas studied intermedia art at Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, classical double bass at Dalhousie University, and electroacoustic music at Goldsmiths College, University of London, with residencies at STEIM in Amsterdam, Banff Centre for the Arts, and private studies with double bassist/composer Barry Guy.  

Lukas Pearse is the Artistic Director of Upstream Music Association.

an organization dedicated to the creation and promotion of pan-genre music celebrating the intersection of improvisation and composition.  He is instructor at the NSCAD University Film Academy and longtime affiliate of artist-run Centre for Art Tapes.  

AQUASOCKS (Aquakultre & Ghettosocks)

AQUASOCKS is the highly anticipated musical collaboration between Halifax mainstays, Ghettosocks (Juno Award Nominee and ECMA Award winner), and up-and-coming, Aquakultre (CBC Searchlight Award winner). These two artists fuse and intertwine their distinctive lyrical stylings on the forthcoming full-length album, HOLOS, set to a jazzy and vibrant musical backdrop. The rhymes are witty and poetic touching social commentary, concepts of community, and social justice - without coming across as didactic. AQUASOCKS is a rap group whose members' friendship can be felt throughout the songs. 

Ashley McKenzie

Ashley McKenzie lives on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. Her debut feature, Werewolf, is the latest winner of the Rogers Best Canadian Film Award. It screened at TIFF (’16), the Berlinale (’17), and was released theatrically in the US and France. Her short film work includes Rhonda’s Party (‘10), When You Sleep (‘12), Stray (‘13), and 4 Quarters (’15), and Martha Brook Falls (’17). McKenzie is a recent recipient of the Jay Scott Prize, which recognizes an emerging talent who is positively affecting the direction of Canadian cinema. She formed grassfire films with lifelong friend and producer, Nelson MacDonald, in order to bring personal dramas from their own slice of the world to international audiences.

Carrie Allison

Image courtesy of Holdfast 2018 - Dan Smith

Carrie Allison is an Indigenous mixed-race visual artist born and raised on unceded and unsurrendered Coast Salish Territory (Vancouver, BC). Situated in K’jipuktuk since 2010, Allison’s practice responds to her maternal Cree and Metis ancestry, thinking through intergenerational cultural loss and acts of resilience, resistance, and activism, while also thinking through notions of allyship, kinship and visiting. Allison’s practice is rooted in research and pedagogical discourses. Her work seeks to reclaim, remember, recreate and celebrate her ancestry through visual discourses. Allison looks to Indigenous, mixed-race, antiracist, feminist and environmental theorists to critically examine the world around her.

Allison holds a Master in Fine Art, a Bachelor in Fine Art and a Bachelor in Art History from NSCAD University.


Devin Huang

Eleven-year-old, Devin Huang, is a Grade 7 student at Sacred Heart School of Halifax, and has been studying with Lynn Stodola (Fountain School of Performing Arts) since 2016. Since Devin was introduced to piano at the age of seven, he has shown great enthusiasm towards piano performance, both solo and chamber. 

Devin has captured numerous awards. He participated in 2018 Nova Scotia Kiwanis Music Festival and captured first place in all of his piano repertoire classes, including an unprecedented mark of 98 in his Chopin class. He was recommended by the adjudicators to perform at the Festival’s Gala night. At the Gala, he received the Presidents’ Cup Award. He represented the Nova Scotia Kiwanis Music Festival as a Junior Pianist and Chamber Pianist to compete at the Provincial Finals early June and won first prize in both categories. Devin was one of the winners of the 2017/18 Chebucto Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition, an honor for which he won the privilege of performing with the Orchestra. In June, Devin competed at the Canadian Music Competition National Final at McGill University in Montreal. He won the first place in his age category and also won the Grand Prize in the 11-14 age category for all instruments. He won first place too at the 2017 Canadian Music Competition National Finals in Gatineau, PQ, in his age category.

Devin has received tremendous support from the music community. He was honored to receive the 2017 & 2018 Halifax Ladies’ Music Club Award as well as a scholarship from the Nova Scotia Talent Trust in 2018. The generosity of the music community inspires him to help others too.  

Devin’s other interests besides piano include chess, math, skiing, swimming, listening to classical music, and shooting basketball!

Eastern Eagle

The Eastern Eagle singers are a proud Mi'kmaq powwow singing group originating from the Indian Brook First Nation with current members from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.  They have been singing together for 25 years and currently have 10 albums released to date.  Because of their love, respect and honour for the Drum, they have been fortunate enough to travel North America, coast to coast, sharing their beautiful yet exhilarating sound and music.

Karin Cope & Co.

Karin Cope is a poet, sailor, artist, scholar, rural activist, blogger and an Associate Professor at NSCAD University who often works collaboratively and nearly always on water. Her publications include Passionate Collaborations: Learning to Live with Gertrude Stein, a poetry collection entitled What We're Doing to Stay Afloat, and, since 2009, a photo/poetry blog entitled Visible Poetry. With her partner, Marike Finlay-de Monchy, Cope runs a sailing blog entitled West by East; they have also co-authored an illustrated material history of the Lunenburg Foundry (Casting a Legend), as well as numerous policy documents and travel articles. This fall, Cope has been teaching a course called Poetry as Social Practice on Tuesday evenings at NSCAD's Art Bar, where in collaboration with students, poets and artists, she has been exploring the activist and visionary potentials of an interdisciplinary approach to poetry.

Co. are collaborators from the Poetry as Social Practice class.

Liliona Quarmyne

Liliona is a dancer, actor, singer, community organizer, and activist committed to progressive social change. Her eclectic background and experiences have taken her through many performance styles on four different continents. She choreographs and dances across Canada and internationally, creates and performs original works as an independent artist, facilitates community programming, and is the Artistic Director of Kinetic Studio. Liliona sees her body as a link to past and to future generations. Her scope of work is broad, but is particularly focused on the relationship between art and social justice, on the body’s ability to carry ancestral memory, and on the role the performing arts can play in creating change.

Rebecca Thomas

Photo by Hannah Jackson

Rebecca Thomas is a Mi'kmaw poet and activist. She has captained the Halifax Slam Poetry team three years in a row, taking HaliSlam to the semi finals in 2016. The former Poet Laureate, she has performed with a Tribe Called Red and has spoken and lectured at conferences and coffee houses from coast to coast. She has written for the CBC and Washington Post but has yet to make a chapbook. She pays her bills by working as Senior Consultant on Diversity and Inclusion for the provincial government. She'll be doing some cool symphony stuff with Kitchener Waterloo Symphony and Symphony Nova Scotia but does not play a musical instrument, so we'll see how it goes! She's done some other things here and there but has reached her tolerance for hearing her accomplishments listed off. 

Sandy Moore & Michael Donovan

Sandy Moore is an award-winning composer and sound designer for theatre, dance, concert, site-specific and film music. He is currently composing a film score for John Walker’s next feature documentary. Creative collaborations with national award winning poets, choreographers and performers, as well as internationally acclaimed musicians, have made him a versatile and inventive composer and his repertoire includes compositions for solo instrument and voice, small chamber ensembles, opera and orchestra. He is thrilled to premier 5 out of 17 selections from BARE BONES, a Haiku Cycle for Piano and Voice, written while looking over the Minas Basin in Kingsport NS. He is delighted to be working with baritone, Michael Donovan, Assistant Voice Professor at the Fountain School of Performing Arts. 

Zuppa Theatre Co.

Photos by Scott Munn

Stewart Legere, Susan Leblanc, Ben Stone, Alex McLean

Zuppa Theatre Co. is an ongoing collaboration between theatre practitioners Ben Stone, Alex McLean, Susan Leblanc (on leave), and Stewart Legere. This group works in collaboration with like-minded individuals from various disciplines, prioritizing questions over answers, and possibility over the tried and true. With a background in 'le jeu' tradition of performance creation, Zuppa aims to playfully shake up habitual ways of experiencing things. 

The company's work has travelled across Canada, in the U.S. and the U.K. In 2018 Zuppa celebrated its 20th anniversary.