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96.9 FM Radio Humber

Birds of Bellwoods: Flying Higher Across the Nation and Beyond

birds of bellwoods

“Birds of Bellwoods are known for their lyrical storytelling, lush harmonies, and tight musicianship” This is a Toronto based band that plays in the realm of alternative music. They play live and they are known for their acoustic music.

The group consists of four members: Stephen (Stevie) Joffe, who is the lead vocalist of the band and who also plays the mandolin. The mandolin, for those who do not know, is a musical instrument that is pear shaped and has four to six pairs of strings. On the guitar and vocals is Adrian Morningstar. Chris Blades adds his vocals, banjo and electric guitar to the group. Finally, Kintaro Akiyama seals the group by playing the upright bass and brings his vocals. This group came together from knowing each other from when they were younger and leading up to adulthood, with the exception of Chris Blades bring from Halifax, Nova Scotia. The group has mentioned that Trinity Bellwoods Park is a place that they enjoy hanging out at and playing music, which led them to help pick their band name. The rural but urban park also relates to the vintage instruments that they use to create their music. Their genre of music has transformed from alternative folk to alternative indie rock.

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The Fifth was their first album that was released on August 11, 2015. This album fell into the genre of folk music. This album has five songs: Sky, Come Home, Roll Your Stone, Grey Ghosts, and like the title of the album The Fifth.

Birds of Bellwoods is currently signed under eOne Music Canada after the relase of their first album. In the fall of 2018, they released their second album Victoria, which has been labeled as being more emotional in the song writing and nicely done with great hooks. The genre of their second project is alternative rock. This album has 10 songs: Melatonin, A Year Ago, Don’t Look Back, Hey Hey, Catching Up, Something Good, My Heart is Yours, Kiss Me, Let You Go and Leaving Song.

Their Youtube page features their official videos for Let You Go and A Year Ago, along with a lyric video for Melatonin.

A Year Ago -

This is a group that is known for their energetic live performances. They enjoy surprising people with their music because of the use of unsuspected vintage instruments such as the mandolin, banjo, and upright bassThey have been performing at many events, and festivals over Canada and also visiting the United States for some performances. They have played at The Mod Club, Yonge and Dundas Square, Boots and Hearts, North by North East (NXNE), Osheaga and Canadian Music Week. 

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Here is a list of Awards that Birds of Bellwoods have been nominated for or have won listed on their Facebook page:

2019 Music Express Award Nomination (Best New Band)
2018 Canadian Beats Award (Best New Band)
2018 Canadian Beats Award (Best Interview)
2016 Independent Music Award (Best Acoustic)
2015 TIMA Award (Best Folk)
2015 TIMA Nomination (Best Song)
2015 Canadian Beats Award Nomination (Best EP)
2016 ISC Winner (Honourable Mention)
2015 John Lennon Songwriting Contest Finalist
2015 Boots and Hearts Emerging Artist Finalist
12th Annual International Acoustic Music Awards Nominee (Best Group)
June 2016 Akademia Music Award Winner (Best Folk)

One thing that stands out from other music groups is that they share the credit of their work. This is a band that knows that each member does their parts equally to make them who they are. Birds of Bellwoods is a group that began with an ultimatum. To either get life in order or to start a band with some friends. The answer is clear, and it’s of course a band that is continuing to work its way around the country and beyond.

To keep up with this group and their successes musically, check out their website, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram page to stay connected.

Danielle Owusu