Raise the Roof with Faouzia, BARTA and Rainy Day Apparel

Emily Distefano

Faouzia will be headlining the Golden Prairie Arts Council's upcoming Raise the Roof benefit concert in Carman. (SUPPLIED PHOTO)

Faouzia will be headlining the Golden Prairie Arts Council's upcoming Raise the Roof benefit concert in Carman. (SUPPLIED PHOTO)

Fans of amazing local talent should mark their calendars for the Golden Prairie Arts Council’s Raise the Roof Benefit Concert to be held on May 25 in Carman.

The show will feature some of Southern Manitoba’s best singer-songwriters. The Rainy Day Apparel and Barta will both be performing before seventeen-year-old Faouzia takes the stage as the main event.

Faouzia, who signed with international music agency Paradigm last year, has been making her own music and writing her own songs since she was little. As Paradigm puts it:.“combining catchy pop rhythms, heartfelt lyrics, and powerhouse vocals, this young sensation could make Adele blush.”

Among her ever-growing list of musical achievements, Faouzia was recently shortlisted for several awards by the International Songwriting Competition for her singles “My Heart’s Grave” and “Knock on my Door,” which you have probably heard on the radio.

She won the competition’s grand prize last year, along with Winnipeg Artist Matt Epp. They were the first Canadians to do so.

The Rainy Day Apparel and Barta have been fixtures on the local and provincial music scene for a while.

The Rainy Day Apparel, AKA Carman resident Nathan Strange, is known for the raw, indie-folk flavour of his music characterized by mellow guitar and acoustic sounds.

Barta’s music incorporates a “dash of folk, a pinch of bluegrass, and a splash of country” with a good dose of rustic charm to boot.

The concert is in support of the Golden Prairie Arts Council’s roof replacement project, with all proceeds going to the cause. GPAC is housed in the historic CN train station in Carman, where they average 350 visitors per month. The facility is gaining a reputation as a great place to display and sell artwork.

Since the early 2000s, GPAC has been working on much-needed renovations to the building, including creating the gallery space, installing a new furnace and central air system to help regulate temperature in the art gallery and make music and art students more comfortable, putting in new windows and updating the exterior with repairs and paint.

Now, the roof is the last big capital project they expect to have to take care of in the near future.

“The roof has reached a critical stage,” said GPAC director Brenda Major.

Major said the new roof has become an urgent need. The current one leaks, causing water damage to the building. They are lucky that so far no artwork has been included in the damage.

Until now, the expense has kept GPAC from pursuing a new roof. Since the building is designated as a historic site, the arts council expected to have to purchase authentic (and expensive) cedar shakes. Recently, though, they were given approval to use asphalt instead, which cuts their budget to a third of what they originally thought would be needed.

Major said preserving the CN station is important to the arts council.

“We’re invested in our community, and we feel that it’s a very valuable part of the community,” said Major. “The building itself represents the history of the town…it was a hub of the community. Just to restore history is very important.”

GPAC expects the roof project cost to be around $35,000. So far, through grants and donations, they have raised around $25,000. They are hoping to be able to finish the roof replacement this year, and they still need at least $11,000 more.

That’s where this concert comes in, as a way to support the local arts council and fulfil its mandate to showcase local talent all in one big event.

“We wanted a big event and we wanted something where we could have the name out there…and something where we could reach the whole community,” said GPAC Board Chair Haley McIntosh. “We wanted something fun that people could come to, something that could be a family thing. We wanted to try and reach a new crowd. We want to bring new people to our performances and reach different audiences.”

McIntosh said the group has also been hoping to be able to feature Carman Collegiate student Faouzia for a while, and this was the perfect opportunity.

“Faouzia is someone we’ve always wanted to reach out to, to work with,” she said. “She’s been really great to work with.”

Faouzia performed with her band at the Carman Country Fair last year. This concert will be all her, and her powerhouse voice.

“It’s going to be her and her piano,” said McIntosh.

And Rainy Day Apparel and Barta are both long-time crowd favourites in the Carman area, where they often perform for GPAC.

“Rainy Day Apparel and Barta have both been wonderful to work with,” said McIntosh. “They’re both huge supports of our organization and huge supports in the community.”

The audience can expect a more intimate, acoustic performance from all three singer-songwriters.

“We tried to stay as bare bones as we could,” said Major.

“We want people to hear them as the artist,” added McIntosh.

The Raise the Roof concert will be held on Friday, May 25 at the Carman Collegiate Community Theatre. The doors will open at for rush seating and the music will start at 7:30 p.m. Only advanced tickets will be available; you can find them at the Golden Prairie Arts Council Gallery, Carman CIBC, Knockabouts and Louise’s Hairstyling. Nathan of Rainy Day Apparel also has tickets if you’d like to contact him directly.

For more information, contact the Golden Prairie Arts Council at 204-745-6568 or gpaccarman@gmail.com.