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Great Big Sea bio

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Great Big Sea (GBS) is a Canadian folk-rock band that plays lively rock renditions of traditional Newfoundland folk songs including sea shanties. The band originated in Newfoundland and Labrador. Founding band members include Alan Doyle (vocals, guitar, bouzouki, mandolin), Séan McCann (vocals, bodhrán, guitar, tin whistle), Bob Hallett (vocals, fiddle, accordion, mandolin, concertina, bouzouki, whistles, bagpipes) and Darrell Power (vocals, bass, guitar, bones).

A woman named Jackie St. Croix had been playing with Power, McCann and Hallett in a band called "Rankin Street" before GBS developed. According to Doyle, Rankin Street owned a PA, and he owned a van, which made Great Big Sea "a match made in heaven." They toured nearly constantly for the band's first several years, sometimes travelling as many as 300 days a year.

In 2003 GBS lost one of their members, Power, as he wanted to be able to spend more time with friends and family. GBS took on two supporting/touring band members—Kris MacFarlane, Canadian freelance drummer (drums, accordion, guitar, backing vocals); and Murray Foster, formerly of Moxy Früvous (bass, backing vocals).


In the spring of 1995 the band dragged themselves out of Newfoundland’s infamous bars to release their Warner debut “Up”. Relentless touring and a raucous live show quickly propelled the record to platinum. Their next effort “Play” enjoyed even bigger success and the band moved its show into hockey stadiums across the nation.

The US labels took notice and GBS was subsequently signed to Sire by Seymour Stein (Madonna/Talking Heads), who unleashed the band on an unsuspecting American public. Rave reviews and a solid cult subsequently trailed. “We are showmen and we live and die by our trade,” offers electrified lead singer Alan Doyle. “I am drawn to the light and I was born to burn”.


A remarkable 15 years in, the band should by this time be content to slow down and rest on their laurels. Instead, “Fortune's Favour” sees GBS boldly embracing new sounds and new ideas, fearlessly pushing the boundaries of their own art and music. In their lifelong quest to marry the traditional music of Newfoundland with their own pop explorations, “Fortune's Favour” is a new benchmark. This will be their ninth studio recording and will be released in June 2008.

For photos and additional information visit GBS's official website, www.GreatBigSea.com (xttp://www.GreatBigSea.com).

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  • Carol wrote: 3 years ago

    Saw them last night at The Vogue and they were amazing. <3
  • jane wrote: 4 years ago

    I love his voice, and their music.
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