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Daisies bloom early in Yk

Jennifer Geens
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Mar 11/05) - Edmonton's Painting Daisies are rocking into Yellowknife this weekend.

First off they'll perform for Sir John Franklin high school students this afternoon and tomorrow they're the headline act for the Folk on the Rocks fundraiser at the Elks Hall.

Above all else, the Daisies want the complete Northern experience.

"If anybody wants to take us dog sledding, we're game," said Rachelle Van Zanten.

Van Zanten and Daisy Groff formed the band 10 years ago and do the vocals and play guitar. Carolyn Fortowsky and Kim Gryba play bass and drums.

The other thing Van Zanten wanted to do while she's here was play a song she heard at The Cave back in 2002 - Whitefish, sung to the tune of Wild Thing.

Van Zanten wanted to play it at The Cave, and was crestfallen when she heard that bar's been gone for almost two years.

"We'll have to find someplace else then," she said, determined to have her "Whitefish" moment.

For a hard rocking band that describes their sound as "the Dixie Chicks meet Led Zeppelin," the Painting Daisies have a soft spot for smaller towns.

"I was playing Athabasca, Alta., a few weeks ago and they gave me all this pea butter and baked cookies and these sweet little things," she said. "They're so proud of their towns and their culture."

That's unlike the big cities, she said. Fans in places like Toronto don't bring her cookies or pea butter. "I did see a stabbing there once," she noted.

Many of the songs they'll be playing Saturday night are off their new album, so far unnamed but due out this summer.

"We have yet to come to a consensus on what it should be called," she said. "If you think marriage is hard, you should try a band."

Parts of the album were recorded at Randy Bachman's studio on Salt Spring Island and of course the band took the opportunity to blast the picturesque community with a few Guess Who classics.

"We played them really loud so the whole neighbourhood could hear," she said.

Aside from rocking their audiences, the Painting Daisies aim to inspire girls to put their doubts aside and jump into music, if that's what they like to do. "You can be a woman and rock and roll," said Van Zanten. "We went and played a northern British Columbia tour and there are so many female drummers and bass players coming out of that area now, it's great," she said.

Folk on the Rocks has booked most of its southern acts for the 25th anniversary festival this summer.

Avant garde throatsinger Tanya Tagaq Gillis is coming back; Taima, a band from Nunavik, will perform. Also confirmed is Random Order, a reggae/ska band, the Rick Fines trio and Chirgilchin, a Tuvan throatsinging group. Past fave Al Simmons will emcee.

Folk on the Rocks has also managed to snag a very well-known Canadian band, and will announce the band's identity Saturday night.

Northern bands have until March 15 to register their interest in performing at Folk on the Rocks by calling or e-mailing the festival office.