CBC Saskatchewan

  | Bookmark and Share

Saskatchewan Belles

belle-plaine thumb.jpgIf Patsy Cline and Blossom Dearie had a love child she would sing like Belle Plaine. Belle's voice is old timey and jazzy. It has twang, crystal bells and swing. You listen to this voice, and all of a sudden your cheatin' heart has a very dry martini in hand, and you're hearing something both timeless and brand new. And we've got her on the X this week, recorded live at the "Girls are Back in Town" CBC concert, along with the funny observational poems of Sharon MacFarlane, read by the amazing Maggie Huculak, and a feature interview with General Fool and Red Hot Riot-er Jayden Pfeifer.

Belle ext.jpgRegina's 'Best Singer' and 'Best Solo Act', Belle Plaine, released her first full-length album Notes From A Waitress Jan 29 2012. Her own brand of jazz fusion unites swing with vintage country and feminine pop.


Belle is an acoustic guitar-playing, storytelling vocalist who Grant Lawrence declared his "musical discovery" at the 2010 Regina Folk Festival. Audiences will hear three-part harmonies and experience a set list that includes Belle's original music, sensual jazz standards such as Fever and Bye Bye Blackbird, in addition to country classics such as Mamas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys.

Belle grew up on a farm near the village of Fosston SK, population 57. Though raised on AM country radio, she was always drawn to Motown and the unforgettable voice of Ella Fitzgerald. Belle studied jazz at Edmonton's Grant MacEwan University. Adventure soon drew her to Victoria and then love pulled her Australia. Music brought her home to Canada where she has since performed over 100 shows.

The title track and theme for Belle Plaine's first full-length album Notes From A Waitress blossomed from one of Belle's more memorable jobs in Sydney, Australia. She was making a living as a waitress in a dodgy restaurant, complete with cockroaches, overly friendly cooks and the nocturnal visits of rodents. What else would a songwriter need for inspiration?

Belle describes the album: "I wanted the songs to read as a travelogue from the other side of the world and back. They're like souvenirs from each journey. It's my throwback to the vocal jazz of the 1960s. Think of Peggy Lee and Julie London. I created Notes From A Waitress in the spirit of these artists."


Sharon MacFarlane was born 1939 in Beechy, Saskatchewan where she has lived all her life. She and her husband live on a farm. She began writing in her 40s and has published a book of short stories: Driving Off the Map.

Driving Off the Map is a collection of tales that have either appeared in various regional,national, and feminist publications or been broadcast on CBC radio. The author displays an awareness of western problems. The theme of rural depopulation is a consistent thread, as characters cope with its consequences. In "Ice Road," a bank teller must cross an ice road because "[t]here is no doctor in her town now and no hospital."Abuse, unemployment, and aging are other problems that challenge MacFarlane's westerners. "Sharon MacFarlane is a formidable observer of, and advocate for, theCanadian West. Given the correct medium, she could become W.O.Mitchell's successor." (Canadian Book Review Annual)

She began writing poetry about 5 years ago.

Last seen in Regina in The Black Bonspiel of Willie MacCrimmon, Maggie Huculak brings almost 30 years of extensive experience in theatre, television and film performance to our studio. She has performed in most theatres in Toronto, with leading roles at Stratford and Shaw Festivals. She is a six-time Dora Mavor Moore Award nominee. And she was the iconic voice of television documentary series, Canada: A People's History.


Red Hot Riot.jpgJayden Pfeifer is a one man comedy machine. He is a longtime member of the General Fools, the host and creator of The Red Hot Riot--Regina's live talk show, the host of Talkies, he teaches improv, is a concert producer, a writer, oh my, I'm getting tired just typing this. Oh and he's REALLY funny. Follow him at @jaydenpfeifer and listen to the master teach here: