● Saturday, 8 p.m.
● West End Cultural Centre
● Sold out
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This article was published 19/9/2019 (532 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
There were plenty of notable and memorable performances at this year’s Winnipeg Folk Festival, but one singer-songwriter continually popped up as a folk-fest favourite: Ziggy Alberts.
The 25-year-old Australian made quite an impression on Manitoban music lovers — so much so, he’s already returning for a solo show this weekend at the West End Cultural Centre, which sold out well in advance.
Alberts has built up a strong career in his native Australia, having released three full-length albums and three EPs in just six years and spending the majority of that time on the road cultivating a loyal fanbase. Now he has started focusing more of his efforts on making the leap over to North America.
"I started touring North America last year for the first time. I’m just treating it like the ways I started in Australia/New Zealand and Europe — from little things, big things grow. If you just start touring and connecting with people, the rest will come," he says.
"The fact it’s only my second year here and there are plenty of cities that I already play to 1,000 people a night... that’s incredible. So, I’m super happy with where I am at."
Alberts’ music has a raw, organic quality to it.
Whether he’s writing about love or loss or his surroundings, there’s a warmth that emanates from his work, both within the lyrics and the natural, relatively minimal sonic landscape he creates.
"I think the nature-inspired titles and songs reflect a lot about humanity," Alberts says when asked about the obvious theme that crops up in his catalogue.
"We record in really unconventional places that are also very lively. It makes it a challenge, but I love all these sonic details in recordings. The chair creak, the rain, the motorbike, the birds singing... I think they give a recording a lot of character."
Alberts is also open about his passion for social and environmental causes. He often discusses those topics in his music (especially on his 2016 EP Four Feet in the Forest) and has worked alongside various environmental groups, saying he’s "pro-living," which includes access to clean water, clean air, clean food and a stable ecosystem.
"I’m an advocate for responsibility, in how each of us can contribute positively to protecting these things, wherever possible," Alberts says.
Alberts has been working professionally as a musician since the age of 19, and though only a relatively short time has passed since his first releases, he already sees a change in his songwriting.
"I definitely feel a refinement, and that’s really cool. I hope to keep exploring and finding new sides of my songwriting in the years to come."
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Erin Lebar is a multimedia producer who spends most of her time writing music- and culture-related stories for the Arts & Life section. She also co-hosts the Winnipeg Free Press's weekly pop-culture podcast, Bury the Lede.