CLOSED until Jan 30, 2015. Usual hours: Wed to Sat from 6 pm. Check event posts for details. To get in touch, email us

Artword Artbar, 15 Colbourne St. Hamilton. A friendly cafe-bar, live music and theatre venue in the heart of James North arts district. Great acoustic music four nights a week: roots, folk, jazz, singer-songwriter, world beat. Also theatre and dance works. Capacity 60, licensed by AGCO, all-ages, cafe tables and bar stools, espresso, micro-brew on tap, light meals. Tech info: in-house tuned baby grand piano and a full sound system.  Graham Rockingham, Hamilton Spectator March 29, 2012 says "Artword Artbar is a cosy little licensed listening room on Colbourne at James St. N., that always features interesting live music."
Your hosts: Ronald Weihs & Judith Sandiford 905-543-8512, c:905-912-9083,

CANCELLED DUE TO ILLNESS: Diana Braithwaite and Chris Whiteley, Sat Jan 31, 2015

January 3rd, 2015
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Diana has laryngitis so we are rescheduling the concert to Sat April 25, 2015.
We’ve also added a concert by Colina Phillips on Sat March 7.

Saturday, January 31, 2015, at 8 pm, $20 (call to reserve 905-543-8512). Colina_PhillipsA special concert with Diana Braithwaite, vocalist (left), Chris Whiteley, guitarist, and their special guest vocalist Colina Phillips (right). Celebrate the launch of Black History month with an intimate evening of soulful music: roots and blues, early jazz and gospel.
Diana Braithwaite and Chris Whiteley, eight-time national blues award winners, have recorded five albums together with Electro-Fi Records and have toured all over North America, UK and Europe winning numerous awards for their songwriting and albums together. “It’s a rare and good thing when two talented performers join forces”. Downbeat Magazine

diana_braithwaite_chris_whiteley-06-400Diana Braithwaite, dubbed a “national treasure” by Bluz FM radio host Danny Marks, Diana is recognized as an artist who is keeping the authentic traditional blues sound alive in the contemporary blues scene today. Diana combines elements from Nina Simone, Esther Phillips, Lil Green, and others, to create her own unique authentic blues style. Read more…

Event, Music, Music-Blues

DANCE: Learie McNicolls “Transformation”, Thurs-Fri, Mar 26-27

January 20th, 2015
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Learie_Nov20_2014_Artword_10357 - enc2_680Rescheduled! (It will be bigger and better!) Thursday & Friday, March 26 & 27, 2015, at 9 pm. Artword Theatre presents a new work “Transformation: A journey of the soul’s healing”, told in Moving Poetry and Dance by award-winning choreographer Learie McNicolls, directed by Ronald Weihs, designed by Judith Sandiford, script by Learie McNicolls with dramaturgy by Ronald Weihs.
Walked i have/into the suns glare /till my princedom/ became fear
A princedom only i could define… i went toe to toe with a plot i did not know… raw… glaring…

Dance, Event, Literary, Spoken Word, Theatre

JunoFest in Hamilton, March 13-14

January 19th, 2015
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JUNOS20154-300x131Friday March 13 and Saturday March 14, 2015, various times. JunoFest takes over music venues in downtown Hamilton. Watch for details!

Event, Music, Special event

FOLK/BLUEGRASS: The Allen Family Reunion, Sat Feb 28

January 18th, 2015
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The_Allen_Family_ReunionSaturday February 28, 2015, at 8 pm, cover tba. The Allen Family Reunion TheAllenFamilycoveris a five-piece bluegrass and folk band from London, Ontario. The original Allen Family Reunion, four members of the Allen family, brought their bluegrass music to many festivals in the early ’80s. Today, the band has reunited three of the original members, siblings John, Joe and Julie plus two of the next generation.
Band members are: John P. Allen on fiddle, mandolin, guitar, voc
als; his daughter Beverly Allen on autoharp and vocals; Joe Allen on banjo and trumpet; Julie Allen on string bass and vocals; and her son Paul Hickling on guitar and vocals.
John P. Allen is a country, rock and bluegrass fiddler, was a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame group P
rairie Oyster, winning six Juno awards. John has played with a long list of Canadian music icons over the past 40 years, including rock band Great Speckled Bird in the 1970s, bluegrass bands the Good Brothers, Big Redd Ford, the Dixie Flyers, and Tommy Hunter’s band. In 2005 Allen recorded a CD, “The Canadian Violin”, demonstrating various styles of fiddle playing in Canada

“I’ve heard the Allen Family Reunion both live and on CD and they are a joy to listen to.” Sylvia Tyson

Event, Music, News

Jazz History & Film: David Lee on Ornette Coleman + Shirley Clarke film, Fri Feb 27

January 17th, 2015
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Print David_Lee_poster_ORNETTEfilm_680Friday February 27, 2015, at 8 pm, $10. Jazz history at Artword Artbar: David Lee, musician and author of The Battle of the Five Spot, talks about Ornette Coleman‘s historic 1959 debut at New York’s Five Spot Cafe. The talk is followed by a showing of the newly-remastered Shirley Clarke film from 1984,  Ornette: Made in America (running time 85 mins.)

Event, Film, Literary, Spoken Word

tba, Thurs Feb 26

January 16th, 2015
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Thursday February 26, at 8 pm, details coming.

Event, Music

Latin Jazz with Carlos Rodriguez Quartet, Sat Feb 21

January 15th, 2015
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Carlos Rodriguez_0594_cSaturday February 21, 2015, at 8 pm, cover $15. A night of Latin Jazz with the Carlos Rodriguez Quartet featuring Randy Stirtzinger, piano; Mike Filice, flute and tenor sax; Fhanor Molina, bass; Carlos Rodriguez, drums. Photo left Fhanor, Carlos and Mike during the Steel City Jazz Festival at Artword Artbar October 2014.

Event, Music-Jazz

Special Concert: Country blues legend David Essig w. Mark McNeil, Fri Feb 20

January 14th, 2015
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David Essig, Islands Folk Festival 2009, Providence Farm, Duncan, British ColumbiaFriday, February 20, 2015, at 8 pm, $15 (Call 905-543-8512 to reserve.) Mark_McNeil_c
All the way from Protection Island B.C., roots music virtuoso David Essig brings his rollicking slide guitar to the Artword stage for a spellbinding night of country blues inspired songwriting. He’ll be joined by veteran singer-songwriter Mark McNeil. NOTE: If you are interested in taking part in a workshop on Saturday afternoon with David about slide/guitar or songwriting email for more information.
David Essig, who lived in Hamilton for many years, is one of Canada’s finest interpreters of original, contemporary folk music that pays homage to bluegrass and country blues music. Mark McNeil wrote and performed the songs for Artword’s hit musical James Street. Mark is a long-time performer in the Hamilton area and his entertaining, roots-based songwriting is inspired from local history and his more than three decades as an award-winning journalist at The Hamilton Spectator.


Singer-songwriters Sarah Burton and Dave Quanbury, Thurs Feb 19

January 13th, 2015
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sarah-burton-piano1cThursday February 19, 2915, at 8 pm, cover tba. Singer-songwriter Sarah Burton (guitar and piano) is touring with singer-songwriter Dave Quanbury, from Texas, visiting in Toronto.
Sarah Burton, born in Ottawa, now calls Toronto home. She has played NXNE, Canadian Music Week, Winterfolk, We Are Many Festival, Brandon Folk Festival, North Country Fair, and BC’s Music on the Mountain, and many live music venues across Canada and the US. Dave_Quanbury_8621243_cShe’s enjoyed radio play across North America, and rave reviews!
“..full of earthy and earnest sounds coming across at times like Lucinda Williams’ little sister,… with a voice that leans back against the bar and tells it like it is…” Americana UK    SarahBurtonMakeYourOwnBedEPK

Dave Quanbury is an Austin-based singer-songwriter, guitarist, and trumpet player. He is a member of the iconic Minor Mishap Marching Band, as well as rock outfit Texas Never Whispers, and Bluesqueezebox, and formerly of Twilight Hotel. He’s in Toronto for the month of February doing a residency at The Cameron House.


Event, Music

Jazz Valentine Special, the Scott Taplay Group, Sat Feb 14

January 12th, 2015
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Scott_Taplay_Jill_McKenna_cScott_Taplay_Group_c2aSaturday February 14, 2015, 8 pm, $5-$10. A jazz concert for Valentine’s Day by the Scott Taplay Group: Jill Mckenna on stand-up bass, Brandon Monroe on drums, Victor Agrippa on alto sax, and Scott Taplay on guitar. They’ll play predominately original jazz compositions by members in the band and some standards.

Event, Music-Jazz

ART CRAWL: Blues & Funk with Beg To Differ Trio, Fri Feb 13

January 11th, 2015
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Friday Feb 13, 2015, at 8 pm, tip jar. James North Art Crawl. Tim Ninehouse_ccAn Artword favourite, the lively high-energy Beg To Differ Trio playing blues / jazz / funk — Tim Ninehouse on keyboards, vocals; Doug Sikma on guitar; Steve Foster on drums. Unique renditions of blues, jazz and funk songs, drawing from a large musical repertoire from early blues roots to jazzified contemporary songs.



Event, Music

Big Dance, Little Stage, Learie McNicolls, Thurs Feb 12

January 10th, 2015
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Megan_English_Dale_Morningstar_90937c900Megan_English_Dale_Morningstar_90960c680Thursday February 12, 2015, at 8 pm, $10. Choreographer and dancer Learie McNicolls curates and hosts the next edition of “Big Dance, Little Stage”, an evening of contemporary dance works for a small stage. Line-up for Feb 12: Megan English and Dale Morningstar, Learie McNicolls, and more TBA. Live visuals by Judith Sandiford (photo left Megan English and Dale Morningstar, Sept17 Big Dance)
Learie, who has had a lengthy career in Toronto, is now based in Hamilton. In 2014, he performed his one-man show Resurrection at The Pearl Company. He was choreographer on Artword Theatre’s production of their musical play “James Street” in May 2014. Coming up March 26-27, 2015, is a new work in development, “Transformation: A Journey of the Soul’s Healing”, an Artword Theatre Production, written, choreographed and performed by Learie McNicolls, directed by Ronald Weihs.

Dance, Event

Zula Presents Scandinavian Jazz with ATOMIC, Sat Feb 7, 2015

January 9th, 2015
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atomic_jazz_groupSaturday February 7, 2015, 8:30 pm, $18/$15 students, seniors, artists, un(der)employed. A winter special event:  Scandinavian jazz with ATOMIC, part of the Something Else! Creative Music Series hosted by  Zula Presents and Cem Zafir.
From Norway and Sweden: Fredrik Ljungkvist reeds, Magnus Broo trumpet, Håvard Wiik piano, Ingebrigt Håker Flaten bass, Hans Hulbœkmo drums. The band will also play earlier in the day as part of the 2015 Winterfest Kickoff at the Waterfront Park.

Event, Music-Jazz

Jazz with the CP3, the Chris Platt Trio, Fri Feb 6

January 8th, 2015
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Chris_Platt_680cFriday February 6, 2015, at 8 pm, $10 cover, $5 for students/artists. The Chris Platt Trio (CP3) will once again be playing a special performance in Hamilton. Performing a mixture of originals and standards spanning the jazz tradition, the CP3 will bringing their unique approach to improvisation and energy to the jazz tradition. The CP3 includes drummer Pat Armstrong, bassist Phill Albert, and guitarist Chris Platt, all of whom are currently studying at the University of Toronto. Chris played with Bob Shields during the Steel City Jazz Festival in October 2014 at Artword Artbar.

Event, Music-Jazz

Psychedelic jazz with Doug Murphy’s quartet, Thurs Feb 5

January 7th, 2015
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Doug Murphy_ItIsWhatItIs_5014c_900Thursday February 5, at 8 pm, cover tba. “It Is What It Is” fusion psychedelic jazz with Doug Murphy guitar, Tim Kulakowsky guitar, Brian Ropcean drums, Alanna Gunn bass.

Event, Music-Jazz

Richard Garvey: “Folk, Roots, Stew” Weds in Feb: 4, 11, 18, 25

January 6th, 2015
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Richard_Garvey_FolkRootsStew_logoBack this year! Every Wednesday in February 2015 (4, 11, 18, 25) at 8 pm. $10 or by donation.  FOLK, ROOTS, STEW, a festival of incredible folk and grassroots music, cooked up and hosted by singer-songwriter Richard Garvey. Artword Artbar will serve up a special warming root veggie stew. Local musicians will brew up soul-nourishing original and traditional folk music. All ages.    Lineup confirmed so far:
Feb 4: Steven Twigg, Juliana Lachance, Yarrow Harvest
Feb 11: Brad Germain, ever-lovin jug band & dara
Feb 18: Megan Boni, Shawn Clarke, Kevin Fraser
Feb 25: Sun Harmonic, Nicki & Claire

Event, Music

closed until Jan 30, 2015

December 15th, 2014
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No event programming at Artword Artbar until Jan-Feb 2015. However, we are easy to reach. To get in touch, please email us: or phone 905-543-8512. Thanks, Judith and Ron.

Event, News

Hamilton Dixieland All-Stars Christmas Special, Sat Dec 13

November 17th, 2014
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HDAS_Oct15-2014_800Saturday December 13, 2014, at 8 pm, $15. (Call 905-543-8512 to reserve.) The Hamilton Dixieland All-Stars, a highlight of the Steel City Jazz Festival, return to Artword Artbar. Take a break from your Christmas shopping and be entertained by a band that brings a most exciting and entertaining brand of southern-styled jazz. This performance features some of your favourite Christmas and seasonal music. Come and celebrate the season with the Hamilton Dixieland All-Stars. Bring all of your friends and make it a Christmas party with the HDAS. Frank Musico trumpet, Don Templeton trombone, Don Hall clarinet, Matt Kennedy piano, Jimmy Howard bass and Steve Wilson drums.

Event, Music-Jazz

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