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Inspired by nature to pen songs

An indie folk group who hail from Toronto will be rolling up in Newcastle this month.

An indie folk group who hail from Toronto will be rolling up in Newcastle this month.

Great Lake Swimmers are touring the UK to promote their third album, Ongiara, which is inspired by Canada's majestic natural environment.

Tony Dekker is the singer/songwriter behind the band who already have two critically acclaimed albums, Great Lake Swimmers, released in 2003, and Bodies and Minds in 2005 to their name.

Ongiara continues to explore the worlds of indie folk, roots music and alt-country pop.

In addition to the core band of Tony Dekker (voice, guitar), Erik Arnesen (banjo, electric guitar), and Colin Huebert (drums, percussion), the new album features special guest appearances by singer-songwriter Serena Ryder (backing vocals, autoharp), Bob Egan of Blue Rodeo, Sarah Harmer and Owen Pallett of Final Fantasy and Arcade Fire.

The title of the album was taken from the Toronto Harbour boat that carried the band to their initial recording sessions on Toronto Island, though the album was mainly recorded in the Aeolian Hall, the centuries-old acoustic jewel in the heart of London, Ontario.

Great Lake Swimmers have toured extensively in Canada, the United States, Europe and Australia since 2004, and has shared the stage with musical acts as diverse as Feist, Andrew Bird, Vashti Bunyan, Final Fantasy, Akron/Family, Jon-Rae Fletcher, Album Leaf, Crooked Fingers, Jason Collett, Amy Millan, and Joel Plaskett Emergency.

The songs of Great Lake Swimmers have appeared on numerous compilations alongside such artists as Sufjan Stevens, Hot Chip, Broken Social Scene, Junior Boys, Mark Kozelek, Hayden, Beulah, Joss Stone, Hawksley Workman, Montag, Rheostatics, Tobin Sprout, Richard Buckner, and the Shins.

Great Lake Swimmers have been compared to Nick Drake, Iron and Wine, Red House Painters, and `After the Gold Rush' era Neil Young.

NThey will be at The Cumberland Arms, Newcastle, on April 23. For more information, call (0191) 265 6151.

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