Kim Barlow is one of Canada's most interesting folk acts. Besides using traditional North American folk instruments like clawhammer banjo or fingerpicking guitar, she also surprises the listener by employing her favorite instrument, the cello, in a variety of quite unconventional functions. With such instrumental setups, her background as a classically trained musician, a lot of sparkling ideas, her characteristic voice, and lyrics well worth listening to, she manages to push the term folk music to new extremes. Originally from Nova Scotia's south coast, Barlow moved to Florida in 1987 where she started to study classical guitar at Florida State University. Four years later, she obtained her degree and relocated to a geographic extreme -- Whitehorse in the Yukon, one of Canada's northern territories bordering on Alaska. There she started getting involved with sustainable forestry, coffee roasting, and horse logging, but at the same time, did not abandon music. The long winter nights in these northerly latitudes inspired her creativity and finally brought her to write her first songs and to experiment with different arrangements and instruments -- the cello, which forms the instrumental base of her music, she got from a yard sale. In the summer of 1999, she released her first album, Humminah, which was quite a striking debut for a part-time musician and made her well-known as a non-conformist folk singer at extremes from a land of extremes.
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