Paul learned to play guitar at 13 and started his career as a musician playing guitar with a polka band, performing at many Ukrainian community centres and Legion Halls, cutting his musical teeth on Lawrence Welk, Frank Sinatra and Perry Como. Through most of high school Paul pursued music with a vengeance, occasionally attending classes. At 18 he sang in front of an audience for the first time at the Embarcadero YMCA in San Francisco, while searching for his hippy roots (still looking). Early in his musical journey Paul spent some time in Senegal, West Africa where he developed a life-long passion for African music. A later stint in Brazil rounded out his world music influences leading him to form Cheza (1992 – 2012), and later, with Loic Martin, forming the Main Street Market Band (2014- 2018).
Paul has been influenced by a wide range of artists including: Stompin’ Tom, Johnny Clegg, Neil Young, the Ramones, Harmonium, Milton Nasciemento, K’naan, and Bruce Cockburn. As the leader of various bands, he has performed on, produced and released several recordings, including Cheza (1995), Shaker (1999), and On Your Radio (2015).
Paul has opened for Jane Sibbery, shared a stage with Johnny Clegg drummer Derek Debeer and CBC’s Stuart MacLean. With his band Cheza he performed at venues such as the Montreal Jazz Festival, the Winnipeg Folk Festival, the Dawson City Music Festival and Toronto’s Harbour Front. Cheza also closed the Ottawa Folk Festival three times. He once did a show in Brazil where he was the warm up act for a drag queen show, a feat he has yet to repeat!
In his current incarnation Paul is writing songs about Ottawa that range from gripping stories about local history (Three Years on the Rideau Canal), to modern day tales of bikers and bouncers (Gerry Barber), street people (Christmas on Murray Street), construction workers, and surviving a local winter (The Ottawa Samba).
The decision to write about Ottawa came about from his love of local history and folklore, his love for storytelling and a strong belief that we need to tell our own stories, not just import them from abroad. Story telling, humour and passion are what his live performances are about. In fact, sometime he just won't shut the heck up (he's got a song about that too!).
Paul is now focused on writing songs and building a local audience. If you’d like to catch one of his shows send him an email and he'll add you to his update list. Expect a recording in 2019.