Kalyna Rakel has always done things her own way. After early success at 16 with a video on Much Music, she walked away from a pop record deal in Europe to teach herself guitar and play music on the street. Since then she has recorded four independent albums and played her songs for thousands of people all around the world.
Her songs come straight from the heart, sung with a voice that has been described as Amy Winehouse meets Janis Joplin. With her tour van, Daisy, and Handsome, her steel resonator guitar, the stories in her songs evoke the raw sound of the travelling blues. Her latest record, ‘Before & After You’, is a two-part concept album telling the story of love gone good and bad. Featuring some of Canada’s top musicians, including legendary guitarist Kevin Breit, the album ranges from distorted garage blues to dreamy ethereal folk. The record comes with a 24-page comic book of Kalyna’s original drawings, featuring the album’s lyrics to tell the stories of the songs.
Whether she is playing for tips on the street or on a festival main stage, Kalyna delivers her songs with an honesty that can move a crowd to tears. As her following continues to grow, she remains true to her music and grateful for the opportunity to share her stories.
Photo by Jakub Gronowski