O n October 11, the Karpinka Brothers are playing at Mahtay Cafe in downtown St. Catharines. The cafe regularly hosts great bands and the Karpinka Brothers are no exception to that.
“We have never played in St. Catharines before but we are really excited to go play there,” said Shawn Karpinka.
The Karpinka Brothers are an acoustic folk band hailing from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. The duo has been writing and playing music since 2008 and have produced three albums since.
“I would describe it as folk music in the style of the Everly Brothers or Buddy Holly and it’s hopefully a reflection of two different personalities with my brother and I,” said Karpinka. “There’s lots of emphasis on harmony and song writing.”
Shawn and Larry Karpinka have been touring across Canada following the release of their newest album, You Can Count on Me. This album is following hot on the heels of their last hit record, There’s A Light.
“The inspiration for [You Can Count On Me] was my brother and I going through two different stages of our lives,” said Karpinka. “I had just gotten married and was writing a lot about the joy and happiness I found, and my brother was going through a lot of searching in his life for peace and happiness and many of the songs he wrote aren’t necessarily sad but are hopeful and searching through the darkness that people encounter in their lives. We hope that people relate to all of it.”
The duo’s musical presence is easily heard alongside their ability to compliment each other while they play. This is due to their closeness as brothers, which they incorporate into their music.
“Being in a band with my brother is probably the best job in the world for me because we’re best friends and we get along really well,” said Karpinka. “I know some brother bands are the opposite, but we certainly love it and we’re a great team who works really well together.”
Although they are a brother band, they have also utilized the skills of other musicians during touring and recording. This has given them more variety in their music since they are no longer restrained to only the two acoustic guitars they began with.
“We started as just an acoustic duo, but now there’s a band that we travel with sometimes and we record with,” said Karpinka. “Two very talented musicians, Malcolm White on bass, who plays in a lot of different bands in Saskatoon, and Dean Summach on drums, who plays in the group called Economics and was nominated for a West Coast Music Award for album of the year. They are talented musicians and we are blessed that they share their talents with us. We like to feel a brotherhood with all the people we play with. It’s a really good thing.”
The Karpinka Brothers are a joy to listen to. However, the real winners of their music are the brothers themselves. They love playing music for people and want nothing more than to let others enjoy what they wrote and to connect with people.
“My favourite part of our music is when we’re playing to a crowd we’ve never played to before and people start to smile,” said Karpinka. “Then they get up and start to dance. It’s just the best feeling in the world to play for strangers and then make friends through them hearing songs that we wrote.”
Their sincerity in song writing definitely adds to their appeal to all listeners. This is especially true among the students they play for. The Karpinka Brothers’ best asset is their relatability. Their music is natural to them, and audiences immediately connect and realize that their music is genuine.
“My brother and I are just who we are and I’ve noticed that students really just want to let loose and see two people that are just happy doing what they do,” said Karpinka. “We wouldn’t know how to be a ‘cool’ band if we tried. Maybe that does make us cool because we just are who we are and were just thrilled to be playing music. Anyone who likes positivity and a joyous music experience would relate to us. I think that’s what makes students connect with us.”
Those interested in seeing the Karpinka Brothers play can see them at Mahtay Cafe, located at 241 St Paul Street, in the afternoon on October 11. For more information check out their website at k-bros.ca.