Wadena was the first stop for musician Felipe Gomez, who is travelling by bicycle from Saskatoon to St. John’s, N.L., and raising money for the United Way. He pedalled down Highway 5 the day before the July 3 concert and got wet wading through the flooded junction at Hwy. 2, but his bass guitar made it without damage.
Although his remaining stops will feature solo performances on the six-string electric bass, the Wadena show included The Bass Invaders contingent. From left, Gomez, Anna Bekolay on electric violin and vocals, Gillian Snider on vocals and accordion, Kyle Krysa on drums, and Ryan Unger, front, on acoustic guitar.
Performing both original and cover songs, the lively music had definite Spanish influences, even on The Beatles’ well-known “Come Together.” Gomez’s fierce virtuosity on the bass was well matched by the enthusiasm and skill of the rest of the band. Bekolay’s playing particularly impressed the audience, which always loves a “fiddle.”
Ryan Unger and Kyle Krysa.
Many performers remark on the pleasing acoustics inside the St. John’s Anglican Church, which boasts wooden pews and a wood ceiling arch.
On his journey across Canada, Gomez will be offering his Bass Ninja workshops and looking for more opportunities to play house concerts, high schools and other venues.
“It only needs 10 or 20 people to make a show,” he said.
Born and raised in Chile, Gomez started travelling through South America while still in his teens and has not lost that wandering spirit, although for four years he has been mostly in Saskatoon, where he teaches kindergarten.
“I want to be like the explorers; I like to travel,” he told the News. One of his promotional T-shirts features a picture of polar explorer Roald Amundsen, who seems to be one of Gomez’s heroes. In fact, Patagonia, on the tip of South America, was Gomez’s first destination when as a youth he began seeing the world.
By Charlene Wirtz