Ex-Victorian finds inspiration on Cowichan Valley homestead

What: Genevieve and the Wild Sundays with Ivonne Hernandez, Tasia MacKay and Jeremy Walsh
When: Friday, 7:30 p.m. (doors at 7)
Where: Norway House, 1110 Hillside Ave.
Tickets: $15 at Larsen School of Music and BrownPaperTickets.com; $18 (door)
Note: Genevieve and the Wild Sundays also perform Saturday at Duncan’s The Hub at Cowichan Station


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Had she remained in Victoria, singer-songwriter Genevieve Charbonneau would not be the performer she is today.

The former Oak Bay High and University of Victoria student moved to the Cowichan Valley a little over a decade ago to better enjoy a back-to-basics lifestyle. She now lives on a 10-acre homestead in the Cowichan Valley, near Duncan, where she and her husband are raising three boys and a collection of chickens. Thanks to the lifestyle of Twisted Vine Farm, Charbonneau has uncorked a creative outlet to express herself on and off stage.

Evidence of this can be heard on Fine Line, the debut from all-female folk quartet Genevieve and the Wild Sundays. Charbonneau’s group came together in 2013; its members got to know each other from various projects over the years, including the Balkan Babes and KivaBEAT. With a batch of songs written mostly by Charbonneau, the group — including Kelly Sherwin (bass), Laura Carleton (percussion) and Chandra Crowe (mandolin) — hit the studio with Harry Manx producer Wynn Gogol. The album arrived last week, and will be supported by a pair of CD-release concerts, Friday in Victoria and Saturday in Duncan.

The performances are but two of the many things on her plate at the moment, Charbonneau said. She works part-time at Blue Grouse Estate Winery in Duncan and, when she has the time, attends to her solo career as a singer-songwriter. Her house, garden and property — at which she hosts music workshops and the occasional concert — are also time-consuming projects, but they provide Charbonneau with much of her inspiration.

“I write a lot of songs that have to do with my life so I can more honestly express myself,” Charbonneau said.

“There are songs of ecology and eco-preservation, and community, so I cover a lot of bases.”

Charbonneau said it wasn’t until they finished building their house on the farm four years ago that the time to write presented itself. In the years since, she has written a solo album, Updraft, and penned the majority of Fine Line. She says she has another record written and ready to be recorded, when her schedule allows.

“That was a huge creative project, and once we had finished the house and moved in, this gap opened up creatively in my life. That’s when I really started to write songs. The songs came really naturally to me.”


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