By Filip Terlecki
There is popular music and unforgettable music. O&AL belong in the latter category.
An acronym for Olenka and the Autumn Lovers, O&AL is a London, Ontario band fronted by singer/songwriter Olenka Krakus and members Sara Froese, Evan Brodie, Christian Hegele, Simon Larochette, Jeff Moon and Kelly Wallraff.
Influenced by her Polish roots and Canadian upbringing, Olenka delivers songs that resonate with passion. The songs don’t just play for you, they speak to you. And many of them relate specifically to her Polish heritage, especially her memories of Communist Poland and the country’s folklore.
Supported by a mix of instruments such as the cello, violin, accordion, trumpet, saxophone, lap steel, mandolin and glockenspiel the music resonates with an eclectic mix of traditional Eastern European ballads and North American country and folk tunes.
It’s a sound reminiscent of Arcade Fire, Cat Power, Tom Waits and Gogol Bordello but which manages to exist entirely on its own.
When Olenka and her band recently played at Toronto’s Gladstone hotel (as part of the NXNE festival) the crowd gave them a rousing ovation. And rightfully so.
Here is a taste…
It’s the sort of music that you can listen to over and over again and with every listen it creates a deeper impression.
The band’s newest album And Now We Sing is packed with memorable songs. It’s really worth checking out.
The band is also set to play a string of shows later this summer and fall so, if you get an opportunity, make sure to go. The truly great thing about small concert gigs is that they are so intimate and the bands always give it all they’ve got.
In the meantime you can listen to some of the tunes online on the CBC Radio 3 website.
And have a look at this interview that we conducted with Olenka during her NXNE show.