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Delirium Street Party Brass: Big, Bold Sound


There are 12 of them. They rock out and dance while playing their instruments (including a sousaphone!). They have a roughly 40-year age range. They are jazz musicians, rock musicians and classical musicians. And they’re covering pop songs. Who in the world are they?

Delirium Street Party Brass!

This glorious brass band is the brainchild of Calgary’s John Abraham, and they’ve just released their first album. Alberta Sessions is a record composed entirely of covers of female Albertan artists.

It’s an exciting moment for the group, which started up in 2011. Abraham, the group’s bandleader and trombonist, saw a New Orleans street brass band playing hip-hop. Inspired, he wanted to create something similar in Calgary, with a pop focus.

“I thought, we could do this, but it wouldn’t be the same as a New Orleans band because we’re Albertans! You have to be authentic to yourselves and where you’re from,” says Abraham.

“I think that was a big mission, and revelation too, to just be yourself in music, even though you’re taking inspiration from all these amazing other bands.”

The first version of the band was born. The second version launched during the pandemic.

“No one was working,” says Abraham. “I discovered Muete and Brass Against, around the same time, and I realized that an outdoor brass band was going to be the first exit for musicians out of COVID because it’s safer to be outdoors.”

It was a chance for him to recruit an even higher calibre of musicians.

“All these wonderful professional musicians were available because they were completely unemployed. So I decided to up it a level and also try to get some money into the pockets of musicians.”

He also recruited vocalist Ali Wick, a talented pop singer-songwriter who divides her time between Calgary and Toronto.

Jeremy Coates, the group’s sousaphone player, arranged all the songs on Alberta Sessions. Beyond the twelve members of the band, it features special guests, including the Calgary Stampede drumline.

“The diversity of Alberta talent – it really is quite something what we have in this province. I think it is quite underrated, what happens here,” says Abraham.

“This is pretty much as Alberta-centric of an album and tour as you can get, and we are really proud of the music and what we were able to do in paying tribute to six of Alberta’s greatest female songwriters,” says Scott Morin, the group’s alto saxophonist.

The group’s album release tour starts in late April, with dates remaining in Lethbridge, Edmonton, Red Deer and Canmore. It’s a double bill show, with lead singer Ali Wick promoting her own brand-new EP. Details can be found on the band’s website.

CKUA’s Spring Fundraiser may be over but we are still in fundraising mode. Find out why here.

Abraham says he’s a longtime listener and donor. “I started supporting CKUA when I was young in 1997 when it first went dark,” he says. “I couldn’t stand the idea of being a musician in Calgary and not being able to hear the diverse programming and especially the music of Alberta musicians. Our music community is amazing, please support CKUA so we can continue to grow.”