Presented by Spirit of '68 Bernice
Bernice, the project of Toronto-based vocalist/songwriter Robin Dann, blends "melodies reminiscent of artists like Sade with the playful sounds of artists like Deerhoof and Dirty Projectors” (Pigeons & Planes). Dann, the daughter of two symphony orchestra performers, is a trained vocalist with a Masters in Music from Goldsmiths, University of London, and her band - Thom Gill (keyboards/samples), Felicity Williams (vocals), Phil Melanson (percussion), and Dan Fortin (bass) - features active members of Bahamas, Owen Pallett, Leif Vollebekk, and DIANA.
Formed in 2010, the band’s first release, What Was That, landed in 2011 and saw critical praise from Exclaim Magazine and Globe & Mail. Bernice performed shows with Colin Stetson and supported Tegan & Sara on tour.
In 2016, the band returned from a residency at the Banff Centre, and supported the release of two singles, “St Lucia” and “Don't Wanna Be European”, with a series of performances at the Art Gallery of Ontario.
Bernice started 2017 by supporting Martha Wainwright on tour across the UK before returning to Toronto for the Toronto Dance Theatre’s production of NOISY where the band performed a bespoke composition for the show. The band was then invited to Miami to support Angel Olsen for Red Bull Sound Select’s 3 Days In Miami festival.
Puff, a 5-song EP, was released in June ‘17 to resounding critical acclaim from Pitchfork, NPR, Zane Lowe, and The Fader. Stereogum and Exclaim named the release as one of the 'Best EPs of 2017. Puff was produced by Grammy Award-winner Shawn Everett (Alabama Shakes, Lucius) and Matt Smith (Owen Pallett). The release was supported on tours with Charlotte Day Wilson and The Weather Station.
Bernice followed the maximalist EP with minimalist sophomore album Puff: In The Air Without A Shape released in May '18 on Arts & Crafts. Continuing their enigmatic exploration of pop, jazz, and R&B, the new album attempted to mimic the playful intimacy of the band’s live show. The album was called “a monument to ephemerality” by the New York Times and received a long-list nomination for the prestigious Polaris Music Prize.