Musicians

Bob Birnie

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Bob was born in Medicine Hat, Alberta but lived most of his formative years in rural Quebec. When he was six years old, Bob first picked up the piano. Ten years later, having learned his lesson, he picked up a ukulele, a guitar and a banjo. Music has followed him ever since, oh lucky man. He’s played guitar in East Africa, mandolin in Northern B.C., and banjo in the highlands of Papua New Guinea. Now he basks in the light of the wonderful Toronto music community. Bob can often be caught playing with a quartet of swing-era song interpreters known as Moo’d Swing.

Kate Murphy

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Kate’s work history includes teacher and manager at the Toronto Folklore Centre; office manager and volunteer coordinator at the Mariposa Folk Foundation; briefly a columnist for The Canadian Bluegrass Review; teacher for a good number of years at The Woods Music and Dance Camp. She has played/plays banjo and/or piano in numerous Toronto stringbands and square dance/contradance bands such as Murphy’s Law, and folk bands Muddy York, Professor Chalaupka’s Celebrated Singing School, and The Dawnbreakers; she learned and has taught Ontario century-style stepdancing; and she’s performed at many Canadian folk festivals, including Edmonton, Winnipeg, Mariposa, Toronto, Hamilton, Cambridge, London, Owen Sound, Montmagny PQ; at the Wheatland Music Festival in Michigan; and in several Stewart McLean’s Vinyl Café concerts. Strong encouragement has brought Kate into some modest songwriting, and no encouragement at all was needed for harmony singing. She is deeply grateful to her mentors.

John Glover

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John was born in the heart of southern Ontario’s tobacco belt. As a teenager he moved to Toronto and made a living busking at Yonge and Dundas before being recruited to perform and record with the Humber River Valley Boys, first as their guitar player, and later switching to mandolin. After stints as a back up player for singer/songwriters, most notably Willie P. Bennett, John ventured into the world of academia and was soon swept up by a passion for biomolecules, eventually becoming a professor of Biochemistry at the University of Toronto.  In the last few years he has started taking songwriting seriously and has been featured on the Ryerson Radio show SongTalk Radio, and contributed to a CD called “Best of the Free Times Café”.

Dave Harvey

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David was born in Whitstable in the county Kent, UK and emigrated to Canada in 1966. He helped form the Humber River Valley Boys in the 70s. Dave has performed and recorded with Sharon, Lois and Bram, the great Sneezy Waters in “Hank Williams, The Show He Never Gave” (he was also in the film by the same name), and toured with Winnipeg’s Kathy Fink and Duck Donald. After a stint in New Zealand and Australia raising a family and playing tuba in an award-winning marching band (!), Dave returned to Canada and currently plays “serious” music in the bass section of The Cathedral Bluffs Symphony Orchestra.

Neil Affleck

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Neil was born and grew up in Montreal where he studied animated film at the National Film Board and theatre at Dawson College. He started to play and write music sometime around 1983 while working as an actor. In 1985 he relocated to California to study film at UCLA. He spent fifteen years in Los Angeles, most notably ten seasons on “The Simpsons”. Returning to Canada in 2001 Neil worked as a Supervising Director in the Toronto animation community. From 2012 Neil has divided his time between a reinvented acting career, filmmaking, animation and teaching at Seneca College. He continues to play music, write and perform. 

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