Roberta Nichol

Roberta as 'Pemmican Pearl'

About Roberta
Press
Passions and Inspirations

About Roberta

A real people person with a deep affection for her prairie roots, Roberta Nichol has been entertaining audiences with her music for over 45 years.

"Wait a minute!" you exclaim. "Has it been that long?" You bet. And she's not about to stop now.

She has been called The Songbird of Saskatchewan. CKCK Radio's Seven Days Girl. Buffalo Day's 'Goodwill Ambassador,' Pemmican Pearl. And did you know that Roberta performed at the very first Regina Folk Festival? During those early years with the Regina Guild of Folk Music, she not only soloed, but was part of a very popular jug band, Everyday Dirt, along with Bob Evans, Georgina (Betts) Arntzen and Peter Sawchyn. In fact, she was affectionately nicknamed, 'The Mother of the Guild,' and later, 'The Grandmother'. Then, years later, Roberta switched music genres and played in two MOR bands, Cloudburst and Cornerstone.

After 14 wonderful years of performing throughout Central, Northern and Western Canada, Roberta's followers started wondering what had happened to her, as she didn't seem to be in the public eye as much. That's because for the next twenty years, Roberta taught in the Regina Public School System. For some time, she was a music itinerant, and, upon completing her B. Ed., taught Grades three through five. Her incredible experiences working with children actually inspired her to write a number of songs about them. Their sweet voices were even featured on one original tune, The Bottom Line. (See Store) Even with the huge responsibilities of teaching, she continued to sing, write, act ( CTV's Mr. Puttnam's Prairie Emporium), and do numerous voice overs for commercials. She also provided vocal background for two television series and a movie, Country West, Corner Gas and Without Malice. Loving both careers, but finding little time for rest and relaxation, Roberta wrote a humorous little ditty called I Need a Holiday. ('I've had the bun.... it's not much fun..... running 'round in circles, climbing up and down the walls....' You get the picture.) She eventually retired from teaching in 2010.

"So," you think to yourself, "it sounds like she's done some albums." Indeed she has. Roberta has appeared with many artists on various recordings as well as having four solo productions to her credit. 'A Prairie Alphabet Musical Parade,' created from the nationally acclaimed children's book, 'A Prairie Alphabet,' features Roberta singing with the Regina Symphony Orchestra. Very recently, she just finished recording a brand new CD called 'It's All About the Journey,' which showcases some new originals as well as a few old favourites. At the same time, she decided to take her first two solo albums, 'Roberta Nichol' and' Cookin' at the Kettle' and make a CD compilation out of them. It's called 'Looking Back,' and it comes complete with vocal and keyboard enhancements. (Please see Store for more information) She was very excited and proud to present these at a CD Launch on August 29th, 2014--- the first in 19 years!

Whether she is singing her own eclectic material, contemporary folk, country swing or 'the oldies'..... at private functions, house concerts or coffee houses....in theatres, auditoriums, or outdoor festivals, Roberta's diverse style promises something for everyone!

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Press

'Seriously, this is a top drawer piece of work. It rocks, it cradles and it swings. Roberta gives you everything from bright and playful to smoky blue. She can do that on her own, of course, but when you add, voluntarily, eight full months of world-class backup and Rob Bryanton's wizard engineering… well, true love is not famous for being cold; you may need oven mitts to handle these CDs.'

- Brian Bowman, BuzzCity

'Roberta Nichol performed to the largest crowd yet at the Qu'appelle Valley Centre for the Arts. She entertained with a myriad repertoire of light hearted ditties, serious tunes that tugged at the heartstrings and melodies that took the audience on a nostalgic musical journey. For many, Roberta has been a steady presence on Saskatchewan's music scene for more than 45 years.'

- Fort Qu'appelle Times

'Another wonderful house concert here at Sawchyn Guitars last night with Regina's folk songstress, Roberta Nichol. Roberta took us on an incredible guided tour of 60s, 70s and 80s folk music. With her wit and gorgeous, timeless voice, no one can do it better!'

- Peter Sawchyn, Sawchyn Guitars

'Listening to Roberta is a real treat. She has a wonderful presentation and a clear, sweet voice that reaches out and touches everyone who listens.'

- Regina Leader-Post


'Roberta's clear, rich vocals, coupled with a balanced blend of energy, enthusiasm and a wonderful sense of humor, make for a most engaging performance.'

- Regina Folk Festival


'Doing what she loves is what Roberta does best, and that's a big part of her attraction as an entertainer. Her enthusiastic energy and sincere love for performing makes Roberta Nichol a gem in Regina's music scene.'

- Regina Leader-Post


'Her warmth and humour have helped to earn her many friends and followers, especially in the Regina area, where her appearances always draw a loyal crowd.'

- Regina Folk Festival

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Passions and Inspirations

Writing songs can sometimes be daunting. What to write about? Where to begin?

It seems that Roberta simply draws from life experiences that really speak to her and get the creative juices flowing. She has written passionately about working with children, their joys, their struggles.... ancestors that came to Canada from Scotland and Ukraine.... loving relatives she grew up with.... and hobbies.... hobbies that relax, re-energize, and rejuvenate the soul....

"Hobbies?" you say. "That could be fun, writing about your hobbies." Oh yes, indeed. Especially if one of those hobbies is: FOOD.

Now you've learned something more about Roberta. She has had a lifelong love affair with food: growing food, preparing food, serving food, sharing food.... all thanks to her parents. Heck, she even used to cook and bake with her students! (Then, they'd write a song about the experience!) It is one of her passions, or as she says in her song, Sex in a Pan: 'A glutton, you say? I prefer to think a lover of art.' (See Videos)

And speaking of 'Sex in a Pan,' please don't get confused and go down the wrong path. 'Sex in a Pan' is a wonderful recipe from the 1970s. Why don't you try making it?

Sex in a Pan (Also called Six Layer Dessert)

Crust

Filling

Crust:
Melt butter in saucepan.
Stir in flour, sugar and nuts. Mix well.
Press lightly in a 9 x13 inch pan. Bake in 325 degree oven for about 15 minutes. Cool.

Filling:
Blend cream cheese and icing sugar together well. Spread over cooled base.
Whip heavy cream and spread half of it over cheese layer.
Beat chocolate pudding mix with first amount of milk for two minutes. Pour over cream layer.
Beat vanilla pudding mix with second amount of milk for two minutes. Pour over chocolate layer.
Top with second half of whipping cream. May be garnished with shaved chocolate. Chill overnight. Makes 12 pieces.

(See? Six layers! Six in a Pan! Hmmm.... Guess somebody made a typo, many years ago. Now go play the song.)

"That was yummy," you mumble, in a very sticky voice. "Does she have any other great recipes she could share?" Of course she does. Many. But she is especially fond of a shortbread recipe that appears every Christmas in the Nichol home. Roberta is the fourth generation to use this recipe in her family. She has wonderful memories of her Grandpa, Angus Sutherland, making this 'melt in your mouth' shortbread. It's easy. You just have to remember to mix the dough until it is very, very pliable and soft. Yum!

Great Grandma Jessie's Shortbread


Stir together loosely with a wooden spoon. Divide into batches, so mixing with your hands will be easier. ( Put that Kitchenaid away. It won't put love into these cookies. Your warm hands will.) Squish the dough in your hands, patting it, working it, one batch at a time, until it is somewhat glossy and insanely smooth. Pat into a disc, wrap in wax paper and refrigerate for about 10 minutes.

Remove dough from fridge and, using a floured rolling pin, roll out on floured wax paper, about 1/2 inch thick. Use festive cookie cutters, if you wish. (Now, if you're determined to carry this fourth generation thing to the bitter end, use the pioneer method of making these tasty bites: Pat dough out onto floured wax paper, or board, until it is 1/2 inch thick. Using a sharp knife, cut into equal size pieces. One could even cut the dough into pie shaped wedges.)

Bake in a slow oven. ( That's more pioneer talk) --- Say, about 300-325 degrees, until lightly golden. Keep an eye on it. Scrumptious! Recipe can be doubled, if you're suspicious that a pile of people might drop in on you, as it often happened to Great Grandma. Or so the story goes.....

And now, it's time to sit back, munch shortbread and listen to Angus and Leona, also in Videos.

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