About Mike Stevens
He has toured the world with legendary Bluegrass music stars and Grand Ole Opry members Jim & Jesse and can count among his fans Roy Acuff, the King of country music. Roy would in fact make special trips to the Opry stage just to watch Mike play. Mike has logged more than 300 appearances on the world famous Grand Ole Opry stage and is a true pioneer of Bluegrass Harmonica; creating a much copied style of playing.
Mike Stevens has performed prestigious venues and at major festivals all over the world. He has entertained crowds throughout Europe, Asia, the Middle East, South America, Japan, China, Antarctica and even the North Pole!
Mike is also the Founder of Artscan Circle, a non-profit organization that builds relationships with Northern Communities across Canada and Alaska using the arts as a tool for self expression and joy.
For more than 35 years Mike has been doing solo live looping harmonica and exploring his own unique vocal harmonica technique. A Mike Stevens concert is a highly original multi-genre explosion of ideas with a socially conscious message. He continues to pioneer looping techniques with voice and harmonica, which have been spreading throughout the world. Mike refuses to stop pushing musical boundaries in both his solo concerts and his Avant Garde “Soundscape” performances with world renown Magnum photojournalist Larry Towell.
Other notable collaborations include duo performance’s with Legendary Bluegrass musician Raymond McLain, acoustic Blues shows and award winning recordings with Blues star Matt Andersen, composing & performing with the Atlantic Ballet and recording and performing with West African Master musician and dancer Okaidja Afroso.
When Mike performs, the Harmonica becomes a musical paintbrush with no limits. “He literally Breathes In the World and Breathes out Music.”
Awards & Accreditations
Meritorious Service Medal (Government of Canada)
Queens Diamond Jubilee Medal (Government of Canada)
YMCA Canada Peace Medal (Canadian Medal)
Honorary Kentucky Colonel (The State of Kentucky)
Slaight Music Humanitarian Award (Canadian Country Music Association)
Innovator of the year Award - first ever (Canadian Folk Music Awards)
Estelle Klein Award (Folk Music Ontario)
Award of Excellence (Ontario Contact)
Peter Gzowski Award (PGI Canada National Literacy)
Recording of the Year (Central Canadian Bluegrass Awards)
Top selling record for "Blowing up a Storm" (Pinecastle Records)
1990-1994 Entertainer of the Year (Central Canadian Bluegrass Awards) - retired from the category
Solo Concerts and Residencies
Select performances with Bluegrass Legend Raymond McLain
CanadAfrica – Blues Roots meets World music in the explosive music of CanadAfrica Mike Stevens and Okaidja Afroso – A combination of traditional dance, songs and music into a remarkable original show – toured in support of the Borealis record release - Where’s The One?
Select Performances with The Atlantic Ballet of Canada
Multimedia performances with Magnum Photojournalist Larry Towell
Mike has been the Keynote Speaker and guest lecturer at many events such as:
The Canadian Music Therapy Conference
Ontario Conference of Folk Festivals
Dalhousie Medical School
Workshops & Residencies
From Ground Breaking Harmonica technique to Songwriting and live looping, combined with Mike’s extensive experience with at-risk youth, Mike creates an engaging environment for many types of workshops, residencies and team-building exercises.
Mike writes and records in many genres:
Many Bluegrass music originals
Soundscape and Film soundtrack work on A Walk in My Dream
Composed and performed music for The Atlantic Ballet Of Canada
Diving rock music and live looping on the CD Normally Anomally
Experimental multimedia soundscape music for Larry Towell – performed at World Press Photo Exhibition in Amsterdam
Mike has been the subject of 2 Feature Film Documentaries
The award winning Harmonica Crossing (2000) about Mike’s career at the World Famous Grand Ole Opry
The recently released A Walk in My Dream (2011) produced by Jonathan Torrens about his work with ArtsCan Circle