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This article was published 7/9/2017 (802 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
It was a serene moment on the sand of a Hawaiian beach that inspired the name of Marti Sarbit’s new band.
Lanikai, meaning "heavenly sea," felt like the perfect word to describe the sound of her new venture. A mix of soul and alt-pop, her music aims to sweep the listener away to a peaceful place.
"We kept saying the name as if it was just the perfect, roll-off-your-tongue sort of word," Sarbit said, recalling the moment with her boyfriend and Lanikai’s drummer, Tim Iskierski.
Sarbit, based in Winnipeg, will be back in her hometown of Brandon this weekend, where Lanikai will perform at the Summer Lights Music Festival. The band takes the stage at 2 p.m. on Saturday, on the Keystone Centre grounds.
Born and raised in the Wheat City, Sarbit recalls her passion for music starting at an early age. She would be constantly singing around the house, but it wasn’t until she was about 13 years old when she had an "aha moment."
"The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill"album changed the way she looked at music.
"Until then, I was listening to just your average ’90s Top 40 songs," she said.
This album opened her eyes to different music genres, and soon she was memorizing all the lyrics.
"I would go home and sing the entire album — loudly — from my room," Sarbit said with a laugh. "It was just what I had to do, I just craved it. I think that was the moment where I was realizing how much music meant to me, and maybe how much work I was willing to put in."
Throughout high school, Sarbit was involved with choir and musical productions, and credits one special music teacher at École secondaire Neelin High School — Carolyn Gwyer — for encouraging her to pursue her dreams.
"I feel like she saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself," Sarbit said. "She got me to sort of push myself. I didn’t think much of my voice before, and she seemed to see something in it. That meant a lot."
Sarbit has gone on to make a name for herself in the Canadian music scene, which has taken her across the country, the United States and around the world.
It all began with a Winnipeg soul cover band called The Solutions.
"It was just a bunch of friends getting together and playing music, and it turned into this whole other thing where we were actually playing all the time and getting lots of gigs," she said. "And I had built this confidence all of a sudden in singing, which was not a thing that I ever thought that I would be doing."
Her unique voice caught the attention of Rusty Matyas, of The Waking Eyes, who was also a touring member of The Weakerthans, and later a member of The Sheepdogs.
Imaginary Cities was formed, and the band’s debut album,"Temporary Resident," was released in 2011, followed by "Fall of Romance" in 2013.
"Touring around the world, that … was the best times I have had," Sarbit said. "Touring with acts like the Pixies, and getting to see Germany … going to Australia, and things like that. I am very grateful that I had the opportunity to do that."
After Imaginary Cities went on an indefinite hiatus, Sarbit decided to launch Lanikai, which digs deeper into her own personal experiences and inspiration.
Currently, there are four members in the band: Sarbit, Iskierski (drums), former Brandonite Natalie Bohrn (bass/
backup singer) and Casimir Gruwel (guitar/keyboard).
Sarbit is excited for the year ahead, which includes recording this winter, releasing a full album in 2018, and getting out on the road to tour next spring.
"It’s been a couple years of sort of figuring out what this is to me and finding my own sound, and then putting a band together and doing as many shows as I possibly can."
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