Lakeman, an Okanagan band made up of Robert McLaren, Josh Pym, Josh Bissonette and the late Warryn Berry are releasing their final album Elegy with two concerts in Kelowna and Penticton. Proceeds from the concerts go to the Canadian Mental Health Association. (Submitted)

Okanagan’s Lakeman donating proceeds of final performances and album to mental health

The proceeds are being donated in honour of a close friend who took his own life

After seven years performing together Okanagan’s own Lakeman are releasing their third and final album with a pair of fundraising concerts.

The album, Elegy, will be released this weekend at their shows in Kelowna and Penticton. Sales of the album, and the proceeds from the two performances will be donated to the Canadian Mental Health Association in honour of their friend and fan Phil Schumacher, who took his own life in 2019.

The music of the album is being released in memory of band member Warryn Berry, who died earlier in 2022.

“It was really important to Warryn, that we donate to the CMHA,” said Rob McLaren. “The music is in honour of Warryn, and the money is in honour of our friend Phil.”

The band came together and started performing in 2015, after writing music together in 2014.

The group isn’t a traditional band; each of the four members — McLaren, Berry, Josh Pym and Josh Bissonette, all from Kelowna and Penticton— were multi-instrumentalists, and there were no fixed instrument roles for any song or session.

“For one song I might be playing synthesizers and fiddle and then another I might be playing drums,” said McLaren.

Lakeman, as an instrumental band, touch on a number of genres with their music and have been described as “heavy mellow.” Their music features a range of instruments, and elements from electronic to progressive rock and beyond.

McLaren’s current project, a duo known as The Cavernous, explores the electronic space pioneered by groups like Mogwai, but even though he has been working on it for a while he feels that what Lakeman had will be irreplaceable.

“For me, personally it’s a little difficult living in the shadow of such a creative process,” said McLaren. “It’s hard to move on from something that was so creatively free. It was always like it was us in the moment just creating together, never knowing what you would be working on when you walk into the room.

“That creative freedom is something that I don’t know if I’ll ever get back, and I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to emulate the chemistry with us four band members, because we all really respected each other even prior to starting the band.”

Lakeman will be joined by two other bands for their performances. Kelowna’s own prog-rockers Pharm, considered among the best of B.C., and Penticton’s longest running longest-running punk band Hardball will both be sharing the stage.

The first show will be on Friday, Aug. 26 at the Runaway Lounge in Kelowna. The doors open at 7 p.m. and tickets are available in advance for $10 at the Runaway Lounge or by emailing lakemanband@gmail.com.

The second performance at Highway 97 Brewing in Penticton will have the doors open at 7 p.m. on Aug. 27.

The albums, digital and physical, will be available online at Lakeman’s Bandcamp page.

There will also be 50 limited edition album versions feature special acrylic pours for their covers available at the two performances.

READ ALSO: Penticton’s Unity House celebrates grand reopening on Main Street

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