Lean On video from Portiia

With love for bluegrass music growing all over the world, we constantly find groups with new ways of expressing it, especially among young musicians.

One such is Portiia, an instrumental quintet from Vancouver, BC. Like many aspiring pickers their age, they have grown up on the sounds of Punch Brothers and other more progressive acoustic artists, who use the bluegrass ensemble to write and interpret songs that might draw the attention of pop music lovers.

The group is led by mandolinist Michael Meroniuk, and includes Jocelyn Pettit on fiddle, Dave Barber on banjo, Niles Loewen on cello, and Kirby Barber on bass. They perform a mix of Michael’s original music, and pop covers.

They describe their mission as one which “aims to bridge the gap between traditional North American folk and contemporary music.”

In this video, the perform a live version of one of their arrangements, an acoustic instrumental version of Lean On, a top 10 EDM hit in 2015 for Major Lazer and DJ Snake. As you might expect, it sounds a good but different in the hands of Portiia.

The band has a self-titled debut EP available now, which includes Lean On and 4 other tracks.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.