Dawn and Marra: The Festival of Friends hidden gem

This folk duo has strong songs and even stronger voices. Click here to hear them.

One of the best things you'll hear at the Festival of Friends this year is nestled away on the acoustic side stage, not on the booming main stage. 

And folk duo Dawn and Marra are just fine with that.

"The main stage? We don't want to do that anyway," Dawn laughed, thankful the smaller stage was keeping her dry during the weekend's torrential rain. 

Dawn and Marra — or Dawn Larsh and Marrakech Koren — play wistful, playful folk music. 

The Dundas duo has been performing together for about three years, but their music sounds like the two grew up singing together. 

Their songs are lilting and catchy, cobbled together by sparse instrumentation — usually a guitar, piano, or ukulele. 

But that's for the best, because their voices need plenty of room. The two sing together effortlessly, with intricate, dense vocal harmonies bursting out of their tunes. 

Oh, and they're still teenagers. Just barely though — Dawn turns 20 on Sunday. 

"And I'm freaking out," She told CBC Hamilton. "This is my last day of being a teenager." 

Marra is even younger — she's just 17. 

And the secret to their musical success?  "We just play a lot," Marra said. "Through that, we've developed a really well-blended harmony." 

The two come from musical backgrounds — both spent time in choirs — Dawn in the Hamiltion Children's Choir and Marra in a home schooled choir.

Even though they sound like seasoned performers, both can be a little on the shy side. 

"I wouldn't even sing a solo in choir if they asked me to," Dawn said. "But in the end, it really brought me out of my shell. I don't think I'd be doing this if it wasn't for them." 

And like any young female duo, the two have to deal with quite a bit of male attention when their sets are done. "So I just mention my boyfriend into the microphone a lot," Dawn laughed. "But soon Marra will be 18, so they'll be swarming her next."

Dawn and Marra are playing around Hamilton as much as they can, and have managed to garner some label interest. Their next step is to find an agent and start to tour, they say.

"I just want people to have a really good feeling after our sets, and want to listen to the songs again," Marra said. 

Dawn agrees. "Having people come out of a show with shivers — that's the goal for me.

For more on Dawn and Marra, check out their website here.