The Hark Raving Sirens played at Infinitea on Valentine's Day.

The Hark Raving Sirens played at Infinitea on Valentine's Day.

A memorable night with the Hark Raving Sirens at Infinitea T-bar

The semi a cappella trio Hark Raving Sirens put on what was an all-round night of fun, charm and a refreshing set.

Submitted by Hywel Davies

A well-established name in Fernie, the semi a cappella trio Hark Raving Sirens put on what was an all-round night of fun, charm and a refreshing set that included a rich back catalogue of toe tapping classics, both old and new.

In the homey aesthetic of Infinitea T-Bar, the warming sounds that these young ladies produced was undeniably a well-suited soundtrack to Valentine’s Day.

To call the Hark Raving Sirens a cover band would do the group an injustice and grossly understate their musical purpose. Strongly keeping to a country/folk formula – “folk stoke” as Siren singer Rachel Butterworth has dubbed their genre – it isn’t every day a band can arrange a set that encompasses songs from Ray Charles and The Human League and be able to pull it off with gusto. Trying to contain a smile whilst a ukulele-backed rendition of Soft Cell’s 1981 electro classic “Tainted Love” simply became too vibrant to resist.

The closed and introverted nature of the couples-themed evening such as this would challenge any seasoned musical veteran. These ladies kept it professional and cool without overpowering the mood. Call it old fashioned, but there’s something truly infectious about the harmonisation of multiple human voices.

It can be incredibly enviable to watch when performed so precisely right in front of your eyes; especially when the Sirens make it look so easy. Seamlessly weaving through the music, it becomes apparent why there’s a buzz surrounding these gals.

Previous shows with local folk/bluegrass giants Shred Kelly would only suggest that these ladies are used to rowdier settings, distinctly when a crowd begins to form in the backroom. The second half unleashed a wave of classic drinking songs that anyone familiar with the winter Fernie experience were only too happy to hear and throw themselves into. Relaxed and in the zone, the confidence of seeing old faces only pushed the band forward. Encouraging words from Siren voice and ukulele-shredder Kate Pollock, engaged the audience, breaking that intrusive fourth wall that loomed earlier in the evening. A resonating spirit could be felt throughout all corners of the venue, transforming a hustling-bustling restaurant of romantic sophistication into a tasteful gathering reminiscent of a vitalised 1920s underground jazz club.

With a line up of shows on the horizon, these Fernie singers are gathering momentum culminating this winter with an end of season appearance at Fernie Alpine Resort and opening for Shred Kelly on March 28 at the Community Centre. This promises to be an all-out musical feast for hungry ears and itchy feet.

Anyone out there looking for some easy listening and an alternative party scene, the Hark Raving Sirens will deliver with heart and soul, leaving you humming hours after the final curtain has been drawn. A class act through and through.