Manitoba·MUSIC

Local band Hearing Trees grows audience for its music

Graham Hnatiuk is a triple threat musician, poet and visual artist and all of his passions come together in his new four-piece rock group called Hearing Trees. The band performs as part of New Music Wednesdays at Ozzy's on Nov. 6 at 8:30.

Hearing Trees performs as part of New Music Wednesday's at Ozzy's on Nov. 6

Hearing Trees performs at Ozzy's on Nov. 6 (Darron Field)

Graham Hnatiuk is a triple threat musician, poet and visual artist and all of his passions come together in his new four-piece rock group called Hearing Trees. The band performs as part of New Music Wednesdays at Ozzy's on Nov. 6 at 8:30.

Their name, by the way, came to the drummer one night in a dream.

The group in its current lineup has only been playing together since June. "That's when things really took off and we really connected with each other," he said. 

Hnatiuk grew up in a very musical family, saying there was always music around the house, greatly influencing him. Being a poet, it's no surprise that his other influences are poet-musicians like Gordon Lightfoot, Gord Downie and John K. Samson.

Hnatiuk says he has a constant urge to write and even keeps up a blog on which he posts a poem day. His poetry finds its way onto the stage, too, in a unique way. They call their show "Poetry-Rock Journey."

"I have so much poetry in me and I want to use it so we came up with the idea to play instrumental tracks live, almost like improv -- it's unique to every show. I do slam-style poetry over top of the instrumental track in between songs and we try to link our whole show together in that way."

Hearing Trees in the Secret Show Room ... Studio 421. Featured on the wall behind the band is artwork by Graham Hnatiuk. (courtesy Hearing Trees facebook page)
Anxious to perform as often as possible, the band decided to take their jam space on Osborne Street and literally transform it into a pop-up venue. They built a stage, painted a wall with Hnatiuk's art and invited people to come. Once a month they invite other artists to put on a one-night art show, as well as another band to perform with them.

They call it "The Secret Show Room ... Studio 421," secret because the venue is so small they can't open it up to the general public.

Hnatiuk says the band is thrilled to perform as part of New Music Wednesdays. "It feels like a long time coming to me because I've been trying to put a band together for years, I've been going to Manitoba Music for quite awhile as well, and now I get the chance to perform, so that's exciting for me."

Manitoba Music presents a musical showcase every Wednesday evening at Ozzy's and the first Wednesday of the month highlights Manitoba acts. Hearing Trees performs on Nov. 6 at 8:30.

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