duo Emilyn & John
From Toronto, Canada, John Williams and Emilyn Stam merge the melodic voices of violin and clarinet, creating a modern sound steeped in tradition. Their individual and collective interests in Klezmer, New Orleans Jazz, Old Time, Bluegrass, French and Scandinavian folk musics give insight to their playful and innovative duet compositions. Not limited to original music, their repertoire has a strong connection to traditional dance, and explores a wide palette of sound through various combinations of violin, clarinet, accordion, harmonica and piano.
Emilyn first explored playing music for Balfolk, European folk dancing, through the Netherlands-based band, Té, with whom she has toured across Canada, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Austria, Poland, Italy and Czech Republic. She founded Balfolk Toronto 4 years ago, for which John and Emilyn have played and danced every Monday in Toronto. Their Balfolk repertoire covers a lot of ground, with a nice dose of Bretange, a sprinkle of Gascogne, a slice of Sweden, nicely balanced with traditional, modern and original tunes for the standard Western European dances.
As a duo and collectively and individually as members of their other bands, they have toured across Canada, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, China, and Australia. Their duo album was released in December 2015.
"Stam and Williams play with colourful and expressive nuance, and their enjoyment of what they’re doing is palpable. Much instrumental virtuosity is on display here too but it’s all in good service to the music… This is creative, witty and beautiful music making." (Alison Melville, Wholenote Magazine)
"Emilyn and John have a tremendous way of progressing
folk music that is respectful but at the same time so freeing and
playful." (Tom Power, CBC Radio)