Bio

The hilarious and nefarious, Toronto-based, genre-flying Cliff Cardinal and The Skylarks are on beat and off-colour. Protest songs, love ballads and existential raps by the polarizing Indigenous poet carrying darker tones of substance abuse and self-loathing are glorified in irony and catchy hooks, revealing take-it-or-leave-it observations. Their two albums: THIS IS NOT A MISTAKE and GONNA BE FINE are available online.

In 2019, Indigenous composer and luminary, David DeLeary, composed a vocal motet, “Inter Caetera (Dudum siquidem) – 1493” as part of his collaboration with installation artist Bonnie Devine on the work entitled “La Rabida:  The Soul Of Conquest” exhibited at the Art Gallery of Peterborough in the autumn of 2016. Some of his songs as well as his bass playing and backing vocals can also be heard on albums by Donna’s Boy, Jacques and The Shakey Boys, Nadjiwon, Donne Roberts, Cheri Maracle, Derek Miller and Seventh Fire.

Justin McWilliams, multi-instrumentalist producer/songwriter, has collaborated with Juno winning artists such as Love Inc.‘s Simone Denny, Monster Voodoo Machine‘s Adam Sewell and Ash Bucholz of USS. McWilliams has also toured the world as a respected audio engineer and Stage Manager leading to performances with Dragonette, Hawksley Workman, MAdE, Apostle of Hustle and Viletones and supporting slots for Motörhead and Slipknot. He has performed on numerous recordings including tracks with The Waltons, Carl Dixon, Jeremy Fisher and Bare Naked Ladies.

Scene-heavyweight Patrick Ferrigan is a multi-instrumentalist session player and founding member of legendary Toronto street punk band BITTER GRIN, who toured extensively in Europe and are credited with bringing sophistication to the punk scene in the nineties. He’s toured with SIMONE DENNY AND THE STEREO DYNAMITE ALL-STARS, DEFCON SOUND SYSTEM, AUTOMATIC DUB RIOT and countless others. With the Skylarks, he plays drums, guitars and creates sick arrangements. Ferrigan is also a mental health worker with an empathetic ear; and a dapper chap garbed in the finest fashions.

The band’s first album, THIS IS NOT A MISTAKE, was released in 2016. Since then Cardinal has performed on three continents and around Canada. CLIFF CARDINAL’S CBC SPECIAL, a songwriter/storyteller performance, toured festivals in Ottawa, Calgary, St. Catharinesthrough Canada’s North starting in Yellowknife and won the Jon Kaplan Spotlight Award for the top performance at Toronto’s SummerWorks Festival. The band’s new album GONNA BE FINE is available online now.