About Annabelle Chvostek
Toronto, ON, CA
Singer/Songwriter, Adult Contemporary
Chvostek is a versatile multi-instrumentalist who was born and raised in Toronto, and who made her professional debut with the Canadian Opera Company at just seven years old. She earned a degree in interdisciplinary fine arts at Concordia University and stayed on in Montreal after graduation. There, unencumbered by the expectations of the Anglo roots world and surrounded by Montreal's avant-garde arts scene, she began composing for dance and film, playing in bands and performing solo shows on the Montreal-Ontario-New York circuit.
Between 1997 and 2004, she released three independent albums and an EP, toured Europe with a new-media performance piece called the Automatic Prayer Machine, a collaboration with Anna Friz, and performed across North America with artists like Po'Girl, Rae Spoon and Barlywick.
In 2004, she was selected to replace Cara Luft in the Juno-winning Wailin' Jennys, a gig that took her from obscurity to international acclaim. Chvostek's songs were repeatedly singled out by critics as highlights of the Jennys' Juno-nominated CD, Firecracker. "Devil's Paintbrush Road" was the most downloaded song from the album on iTunes for months. It was also the #1 Canadian song at U.S. folk radio in 2006, and it remained at #3 in 2007. During her two and a half years with the Jennys, Chvostek toured Europe, performed on A Prairie Home Companion, sang on the Juno Awards telecast and earned a Juno nomination for Best Roots and Traditional Album ? Group.
Then, in 2007, she left the Jennys and reprised her solo career, signing to Borealis Records and releasing what many see as her solo debut: Resilience.
It was nominated for a Canadian Folk Music Award for Contemporary Album of the Year and became the second most-played Canadian album at U.S. folk radio at the start of 2009. Since the album's release, Chvostek has done yearly tours of the U.K., criss-crossed Canada and the U.S. and completed a 2009 tour through Poland and Slovakia. She also released a Live from Folk Alley live album in 2010. And last year, her two co-written duets with Bruce Cockburn were released on his Juno-winning album Small Source of Comfort.
"The Wailin' Jennys' loss is the world's gain", declared the Saskatoon Star Phoenix in response to Chvostek's post-Jenny debut, adding, "her original compositions are full of aching desire dressed in poetry and rendered with a musical imagination that seems to know no bounds".
That same musical imagination is in evidence on Rise, for Chvostek has managed to take a decades-old art form, the protest song, and completely reimagines it for a new era of activism.