In profile: Benj Rowland from Peterborough, Ontario

Benj Rowland busking at the corner of Hunter Street and George Streeet, in Peterborough, Ontario

Benj Rowland is a Peterborough area singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who has worked in a wide variety of music projects. He has done numerous 4 track recordings, plays in a duo called Tin Can Chris + Bottle Neck Benj, and is a member of the Gin N Tonixxx. He’s also a visual artist, exploring pinhole photography, printmaking, screen-printing, graphic novel creation and super 8 filmmaking. His CD’s and merchandise (buttons, t-shirts, stickers, graphic novels, handmade instruments and more) always include his own original images and handmade works of art. He has performed live scores for his super 8 films and presented numerous multi-media performances using music, performance and super8 film. This past winter several local DJ’s got together for a night of Benj Rowland re-mixes.

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This summer, he was featured along with other local musicians in the Blue Grass Opera Rigoletto, a new feature film created in Peterborough. He has also composed and performed music for dance, theatre, and performance art events for a variety of different artists. One of his songs was even bought by Cogeco Cable this year as a theme for one of their shows! Benj was honoured at the Peterborough Folk Festival in 2005 with the Emerging Artist of the year award. His influences include old country, blues, and experimental music, as well as all the local people working in music who have helped out or been an inspiration.

As well as playing a wide variety of stringed and other instruments, Benj has also designed and crafted many of the unique instruments that he plays. Benj takes an original and improvisational approach to his four-track recordings and compositions, often including people, children and other creatures who happen to walk into his studio while he is recording his many layered arrangements. His recordings often include him playing many instruments, including: banjo, violin, drums, antique pump organ, portable pump organ, various whistles, ocarinas, mountain dulcimer, slide banjo, washtub bass, voice and more!!

Benj plays every every Saturday at The Farmers Market (Morrow Park, Lansdowne and George St.) in Peterborough.

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