The Lemon Bucket Orkestra
|Origin||Toronto, Ontario, Canada|
Founding member Mark Marczyk met bartender and musician Michael Louis Johnson in 2009 after returning to Toronto from Kiev, Ukraine. Johnson then introduced Marczyk to the Gypsy-Punk band Worldly Savages. Marczyk joined them on fiddle. It was at afterparties for the Savages' shows that eventual members of the band, such as Tangi Ropars and Os Kar, joined in on late night jam sessions.
Other members began to join the band over the next few years, usually after seeing the group live. Many of these meetings were by chance or accident. By 2013, the group had swelled to 17 members.
The group were also involved in a collective known as Fedora Upside Down, a collection of bands, artists and theatre acts in the genres of singer-songwriters, improvised party brass, forró, flamenco, Brazilian percussion, ragtime jazz and others founded by Marczyk, Tangi Ropars and Dre Flak of Freeman Dre and the Kitchen Party. Lia Grainger in 2012 described Fedora Upside Down as a "motley assortment of cultural ambassadors."
In 2011, the band recorded an EP titled Cheeky at CBC. The song Tomu Kosa was released as promotional single. In November 2011, the group performed at a TSoundcheck event held by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Lemon Bucket was also broadcast Nationally and Internationally on CBC Radio in 2011 by Gilda Salomone.
The Lemon Bucket Orkestra made headlines (such as CNN, CBC, Fox News and CTV), on their way to Romania for a three-week tour of the country, when they played an impromptu concert on a delayed Air Canada flight. While in Romania, the band opened for Taraf de Haïdouks. On their way back to Canada, the band once again performed aboard a delayed Air Canada flight in Germany, and then in Toronto Pearson International Airport upon arrival.
In 2012, Toronto filmmaker Justin Friesen made a short documentary on the band titled Let's Make Lemonade. The film won Best Documentary and People's choice award in the Air Canada enRoute Film Festival. The film played in September 2012 at the Toronto Ukrainian Festival and was one of four Awards Finalists in the Air Canada enRoute Film Festival. The film played on Air Canada flights via the in-flight entertainment system from November 2012 - February 2013.
In late 2012 the band released their first full-length album: Lume, Lume. Alan Cross described the sound of the album as "A traveling musical caravan burning wildly across the night sky". The following November, they began their Lume, Lume European tour, in support of the album. The tour took them to the countries of Romania, Serbia, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Macedonia and Germany.
Upon their return to North America, the group participated as musicians in a collaborative theatre piece entitled Midwinter Night: Sacred and Profane Rituals, at La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club in New York City.
In September 2012, the band played with Romanian brass ensemble Fanfare Ciocărlia. This was repeated when they brought Ciocărlia to a sold-out show at The Opera House in Toronto on July 5, 2013.
On July 8, 2013, the group embarked on a third tour of east Europe, visiting Germany, Serbia, Poland, Slovakia, Ukraine, Romania and the Czech Republic. The tour was an ethnographic research tour, wherein the group accumulated new music and dances. Several of the songs the band learned on this tour ended up on the "Moorka" album, notably "Mirsa Reel" and "Dimineaca Pe Recoare", both of which were taught to the band by Nea Vasile and Taraful De La Mirsa in Mirsa, Romania.
In 2012 and 2013, the group sold out Toronto venue Lee's Palace three times: October 31, 2012, a Hallowe'en themed show; March 16, 2013, celebrating the band's third birthday and St. Patrick's day; and again on May 25, 2013, when they brought Friends Gypsy Kumbia and Roma Carnivale from Montreal. In 2014 and 2015, this trend continued, with their shows at The Opera House and Lee's Palace becoming regular sellouts.
In September 2013, the band was nominated in four categories at the Canadian Folk Music Awards. They were nominated in the categories of "New/Emerging Artist of the Year", "World Group of the Year", "Traditional Album of the Year" and "Instrumental Group of the Year". In 2015, they were vindicated when they won "World Group of the Year" at the Canadian Folk Music Awards.
Between January and February 2015, members of the group took part in a critically acclaimed dinner theatre performance about the ongoing Ukrainian crisis written by bandleader Mark Marczyk and Marichka Kudriavtseva.
In February, the group announced the release of Moorka, and it was released March 24, 2015.
In October 2015, they teamed up with a Korean Folk Ensemble Dulsori in South Korea, spending 3 weeks performing, as well as creating and recording music.
Upon their return, Lemon Bucket was awarded the title of "Best Band in Toronto" in Now Magazine's "Best of Toronto 2015" annual poll.
The album "Moorka" also won the title of "World Group of the Year" at the 2015 Canadian Folk Music Awards. "Moorka" was also subsequently nominated for a Juno Award in the category of "World Music Album of the Year".
If I Had the Strength
- Cheeky – EP (2011)
- Lume, Lume – LP (2012)
- Moorka – LP (2015)
- Counting Sheep - LP (2016)
- If I Had the Strength - LP (2018)
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- "Toronto musician transports Ukraine's turmoil to the stage". thestar.com. January 30, 2015.
- "Preview: Counting Sheep". NOW Magazine.
- "Top Ticket: Three shows to take in Aug. 1 to 7". thestar.com. August 3, 2015.
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