Pedal power

Sunday Brunch Collective returns with singer-songwriter Rayannah


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Rayannah is making her first five recorded songs count.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 15/02/2017 (2302 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Rayannah is making her first five recorded songs count.

The response to the Winnipeg singer-songwriter’s debut EP, Boxcar Lullabies, has been strong enough to keep her on the road for the two years since its release, including playing 26 shows in the last month as part of a European tour alongside fellow Winnipegger Matt Epp. 

Rayannah’s slowly winding down the promotion of the record, but has been announced as the next performer at the Free Press’s Sunday Brunch Collective series, which takes place March 5 at Kitchen Sync (370 Donald St.) in the Exchange District. (Tickets are $49, on sale now at

There are a few things that help Rayannah — a formally trained jazz vocalist — stand out; one is her inclusion of loop pedals, which she uses to combine layers of her voice manipulations — lyrics, breathing, scatting — with synthesizers and percussion to create equally dense and delicate moments of music.

“I think it was my gateway to becoming more of a producer as well as a performer. And I always have been intrigued to be part of the band as well as singing and carrying the melody,” Rayannah, 27, says. “Using the pedals allowed me to start doing that because I was able to use my voice as an instrument, which I had never really done before. Of course you use your voice as an instrument all the time, but never as an accompaniment necessarily.”

Rayannah is also a bilingual songwriter, penning songs in both English and French, which is her first language. Boxcar Lullabies consists mostly of English songs (the exception being the glittering, ethereal final track, Tempête), but she says her next project will be primarily written in French.

“French is my first language and being a Winnipegger born and raised, it’s a lot of people’s reality that are francophone in this city because, of course, we live in both languages, and as much as French is a huge part of our lives having grown up in it, so is English because a lot of our relationships, a lot of our friendships and life experiences are in English,” she says.

“It never really was a choice. Of course I’ve had to think about it more concretely now that I have a project and marketing and all these things, but from a visceral standpoint, it never really was something I had to think about, music was written in both languages naturally for me.”

Winnipeg singer Rayannah.
SUPPLIED Winnipeg singer Rayannah.

Rayannah notes her travels have provided a lot of inspiration, but the topic she continues to gravitate toward is the idea of being a woman, and what that means in the current social landscape.

“A lot of my music comes back to that, especially in these times that area little bit difficult and where we’re kind of seeing some things slip back, I’m finding myself coming back to this theme a fair bit because I feel it pretty viscerally,” she says.

Rayannah is working on some new material, but wasn’t able to reveal too many details about when fans can expect to hear a fresh collection of songs. She does say, however, she’s interested in releasing individual tracks “as their own entities.” 

“The material is there, it’s just deciding how to put it together in a way that I find is inspiring and artistic and makes sense,” she says.


Twitter: @NireRabel

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Winnipeg singer Hugh Scanlon.
SUPPLIED Winnipeg singer Hugh Scanlon.
Winnipeg singer Rayannah.
SUPPLIED Winnipeg singer Rayannah.
Erin Lebar

Erin Lebar
Manager of audience engagement for news

Erin Lebar spends her time thinking of, and implementing, ways to improve the interaction and connection between the Free Press newsroom and its readership.


Updated on Wednesday, February 15, 2017 7:50 AM CST: Photos fixed.

Updated on Wednesday, February 15, 2017 10:04 AM CST: Corrects typo

Updated on Wednesday, February 15, 2017 2:47 PM CST: corrects typo.

Updated on Monday, February 27, 2017 11:27 AM CST: Ticket sales expanded from subscribers to public.

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