Playing piano is Winnipeg songwriter’s forte

Chantal Kreviazuk joins WSO for Unite 150 concert at Shaw Park


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Chantal Kreviazuk’s life in music began sitting at an old piano at her grandparents’ place.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 27/08/2021 (571 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Chantal Kreviazuk’s life in music began sitting at an old piano at her grandparents’ place.

Those memories returned about a week ago when she posted a video on her Instagram account of her playing and singing the first verse of Imagine, the John Lennon classic, on a vintage piano she just bought. She had been looking for an instrument like the one she grew up playing on for years, she says.

“It was at Gigi’s and Baba’s farmhouse in Lockport,” the Winnipeg-born Kreviazuk says over the phone while vacationing in Ontario’s cottage country. “I remember playing that piano on Sundays, and I was always the one who played while everyone gathered around and sang.”

Those early notes on the old ivories eventually grew into a musical career that includes two double-platinum records — Under These Rocks and Stones in 1997 and Colour Moving and Still in 1999— six top-10 singles in Canada, two Junos and being named to the Order of Canada.

Kreviazuk will be at the piano in Manitoba again on Saturday to perform, along with members of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, during the afternoon session of the Unite 150 concert that takes place at Shaw Park and is being livestreamed free at

Tickets for the afternoon lineup, which also includes William Prince, Tal Bachman and Fred Penner, are available at Ticketmaster for $8.49, including fees. Tickets for the evening concert, which has Tom Cochrane and Bachman Cummings headlining, are sold out, according to Ticketmaster’s website.

Attendees must present their Manitoba vaccination card or its digital counterpart containing a QR code that can be scanned to provide proof that the holder has received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, as well as a photo ID. Children under 12 are not required to have a vaccination card but must be accompanied by someone who does.

Out-of-province ticketholders must provide a government document that provides proof of vaccinations to attend. Canadian military personnel may present a travel immunization record and COVID-19 vaccine record card to enter the gates.

The concert remains the centrepiece of Manitoba 150, events marking the 150th anniversary of Manitoba’s entry into Confederation. Almost all the events scheduled for 2020, including the Unite 150 concert, were postponed from last June, owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Like most artists, Kreviazuk has had scant opportunities to perform in front of live audiences in the past 18 months during the pandemic, but she’s taken the stage, actually and virtually, when she can.

The Leaving on a Jet Plane singer was able to make a short tour of small Canadian venues, including Winnipeg’s Park Theatre, last summer and has played some small shows in Ontario this year. She’s also been a fixture on her Instagram account, performing for her nearly 25,000 followers on a regular basis.

“It’s a little bit like riding a bike,” she says.

Kreviazuk has also found success writing for other artists — Kelly Clarkson, Avril Lavigne and Drake are among those she’s penned songs for — but she’s also found a musical partner at home.

Raine Maida, the frontman for Our Lady Peace and her husband of 21 years, teamed up with her to form Moon Vs Sun; they released the album I’m Going to Break Your Heart in February.

Its songs come from a 2019 documentary of the same name, in which Kreviazuk and Maida share some of their feelings about the ups and downs of their relationship. The film also focuses on respect, integrity and equity within a marriage.

“I really love that project,” Kreviazuk says, adding that Moon Vs Sun strengthens their family by combining their music.

Kreviazuk is also looking forward to performing with WSO musicians again and seeing other Manitoba artists in the Unite 150 lineup on Saturday. She says performers from the province punch above their weight in the music world.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing William Prince,” Kreviazuk says of the smooth-singing roots songwriter and fellow Juno winner. “I’ve heard his songs but I’ve never seen him live.”


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Alan Small

Alan Small

Alan Small has been a journalist at the Free Press for more than 22 years in a variety of roles, the latest being a reporter in the Arts and Life section.

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