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General News · 7th March 2020
Immanuel McKenty
Since our first public performance on Cortes at the 'grand opening' of the outdoor section of the Mansons Farmer's Market in 2006 (for which we were surprised to find ourselves featured on the readerboard as the McKenty Family Band), we have gradually expanded our musical stomping ground out from Cortes Island in ever-widening circles. We started playing for local events, house concerts, contra dances, and as our repertoire of original songs grew, at cafes, churches, yoga and meditation centres, moving on to small theatres, folk clubs, and eventually conferences and music festivals.

In recent years we've criss-crossed much of North America with our trusty blue van bulging with musicians, gear, and instruments. This has been enjoyable and rewarding though as all musicians know, not always an easy or break-even proposition.

Through the years we've been truly grateful for all the encouragement and support we've experienced on the island—being invited to play at island events, showing up for our concerts and contra dances, and listening to our CDs. Thank you!


We've been primarily known within BC as the Merry McKentys ( ), and when touring in the US as the Solaris Music Project ( ). Originally these two bands were fairly different; the Merry McKentys’ repertoire was mostly traditional instrumental music, and the Solaris repertoire was original singer-songwriter material with a spiritual edge. It was mostly the same people travelling and performing together, though—and as time passed the line between the two bands began to blur. We had grown beyond straight up traditional fiddle tunes and singer-songwriter material and as our repertoires and bookings merged, keeping things straight became more and more of a challenge. We were playing as one band that wasn’t quite Solaris or the Merry McKentys, and the new reality needed a new name. The question was: what to call it!


If you search for Solaris, you will notice that we are far from being the only band with that name and you are more likely to find a Polish techno band, or a computer operating system, than our Solaris Music Project. At the same time, not everyone in this emergent folk-roots collective has the last name "McKenty", so calling ourselves the Merry McKentys isn’t a slam dunk, either.

Beginning last summer, we started searching in earnest for a new band name that would incorporate the best aspects of both bands. Thoughts became stickies which became lists which became spreadsheets which finally turned into an SQL database of name possibilities and a geek-built voting system to choose between them.

After coming up with and voting on over 799 different possible band names, the Awakeneers rose to the top of the list as being a name that was exciting, available, and resonated with our aims as a band.

We haven't officially shut down our previous bands, and will likely perform the occasional concert here and there under our former billings, but wanted to let you all know that we are moving forward as the Awakeneers—in case you were wondering what happened to us, and what was up with this funny new band that kept showing up around the island!

Please have a look at our brand-new website, should you feel inclined, and let us know what you think. We've got a new album in the works, some exciting tour dates on the horizon, and look forward to seeing you all at an event soon!