Memories of East Africa: UNBSJ’s Wayne Hansen’s first album release

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This month, I had the pleasure of attending singer/songwriter, Wayne D Hansen’s, show at Taco Pica. Hansen, manager of UNBSJ Student Technology, is one of Saint John’s many hidden gems. His show has left me waiting in anticipation to hear more of Hansen’s work.

Hansen, describing his musical style as ‘folk,’ has been playing the guitar for roughly 25 years. Canadian artist, Pat Lepoidevin, inspired Hansen to pick up the ukulele and start songwriting after he attending Lepoidevin’s live show, in the Maritimes.

Hansen, currently residing in Quispamsis, carefully creates his own unique sound by live layering guitar, ukulele and vocals through a loop pedal. Let me tell you, it was definitely a treat to see live. “My real passion is singing and the looping station really opens things up for me creatively. It allows me to layer multiple vocals and create interesting harmonies – things I just can’t do as a solo act. So far the response has been terrific,” says Hansen.

He began performing in front of an audience with his brother, Dave. “We were constantly booked,” says Hansen. Hansen and his brother are better known as the ‘Hansen Brothers’ or ‘Malcolms Brook.’ The Hansen Brothers are still playing shows around the KV and Saint John area, promoting mostly through word-of-mouth.

‘Memories of East Africa,’ Hansen’s first album, will be released this March 2013. The album was written and recorded by Hansen himself, and produced in Toronto by Indie Pool. “The album is geared towards people that have wanderlust, the lyrics are about travel, wondering, open road, and my backpacking experience,” says Hansen, who kept a diary while backpacking across East Africa in the winter of 2009. Hansen, at constant wanderlust, states that he has biked from Saint John to PEI and hopes to eventually bike from Saint John to Vancouver.

Like many other artists, Hansen is constantly working on creating an identity for himself. “At this point, musically I’m really interested in creating my own music, though I still incorporate covers. I really dig into my act,” says Hansen. Hansen believes that picking somewhere like Taco Pica to perform, as appose to a well known musical spot in Saint John would allow no one to have expectations.

“If I could play a couple of gigs a month, I’d be happy,” says Hansen when discussing his goals. Hansen main spots for performing are at Taco Pica, Vito’s in Rothesay and The Barrels Head Gastropub. “The support from the community in Saint John & KV has been great!”

Check out Wayne Hansen’s Facebook fanpage at https://www.facebook.com/MUSICWAYNEHANSEN, and listen to his music for free at http://music.waynehansen.ca/. Hansen’s next shows will be Thursday, January 31st from 8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. at Vito’s in Rothesay and Wednesday, February 6th from 7:00 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Taco Pica Uptown. Get out there and support our local artist, trust me, you won’t regret it!