Folksingers Paul (Valdy) Valdemar Horsdal and Gary Fjellgaard are ready to rock the Okanagan once again — including a stop in Oliver — this time with special guests Blu and Kelly Hopkins.
Their tour is dedicated to the Okanagan alone, and Valdy has spent countless amounts of his personal time ensuring the songs he’ll play will be favourites.
And while his setlist remains a well-kept secret, Valdy did share the setup of the show and how it will run throughout the evening.
“Call it an integrated show,” he said in a phone interview, explaining that both he and Mr. Fjellgaard will take turns performing solo, together, and then with Blu and Hopkins as support on a variety of instruments.
The Okanagan isn’t unfamiliar to the pair, who started their tour in the Sunshine Valley back in 2002. They would always play at Summerland’s George Ryga Centre — now closed — to show their support for the 20th- century playwright who wrote about the “misrepresented” in society.
Valdy and Gary Fjellgaard aim to keep Ryga’s memory alive through their folk music, a genre, as Valdy says, that has always been a true and telling style of music to him.
“It’s a kind of music that keeps me honest, and I like passing it on because it resonates with an audience on a broader level,” he said. “It represents the aspirations and struggles that people have.”
Valdy has been singing and playing guitar professionally since 1971. He picked up the guitar and taught himself at the age of 13, in 1958. He even dabbled in the rock genre — which he likes to integrate into his music even today — which saw one of his greatest hits, Play Me a Rock and Roll Song.
Born in Ottawa, Valdy ended up in Victoria in 1966, where he was a bass player in the city. He had played in a couple of groups back in Ontario, but found his love with the acoustic guitar and his vocals.
A gig that brought him to Poland still resonates with Valdy today, despite it being many, many years ago.
“There was a piano player from Cuba playing backstage, waiting for his slot to play,” he recalled. “I was waiting for my own slot, so I took out my guitar and played with him.
“People came along and started to clap and hum and dance. The stage manager came back and yelled at us — apparently we were disturbing the show out front on stage,” he reminisced with a laugh.
“None of us could talk to each other (in the same language), except by playing — there were big teeth and smiles because of that.”
That memory in particular, he says, proves that “music is the universal language.”
Valdy’s friendship with Gary Fjellgaard formed through the many years of running into each other at shows and events before touring together early in the millennium.
They’ll be playing with Blu and Kelly Hopkins in Summerland on Saturday, Nov. 3, at 7:30 p.m. at the Centre Stage Theatre, and Sunday, Nov. 4, at the Frank Venables Theatre in Oliver, also at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets for the Oliver show can be purchased at www.venablestheatre.ca or by calling 250-498-1626. Tickets for Summerland can be purchased at Martin’s Flowers (250-494-5432) or The Dragon’s Den (250-492-3011).
Melanie Eksal is a reporter with The Penticton Herald. OsoyoosToday and The Herald share an informal editorial use agreement.