Annie Sumi

by Preetam Sengupta

As we look forward to Doors Open this weekend, we spotlight an artist that will be helping to kick it off with her concert at the Guelph Civic Museum for Fourth Friday. Fourth Friday will lead right into Doors Open After Dark, a free event is aimed at creating opportunities to connect, explore and engage the community with history in unique ways. Visit for the full line-up for this art-filled and interactive evening.

In 2016, when Annie Sumi was deciding where she wanted to live, she was given the advice to check out Guelph by her good friend (local musician and GAC member) Tannis Slimmon. In doing so, she discovered a lovely couple who were looking for a tenant to help with chores on their urban farm, so there began Annie’s life in our Royal City, feeding chickens…and writing beautiful music.

Photo by Fraser Parkes

That beautiful music has found the ears of the community she now calls home. While she has charmed audiences across Canada and internationally, she has been very active locally, including performances at both Hillside Festival and the inaugural Holy Smokes Festival in 2018. When asked about a particularly fond Guelph memory, Annie first revealed her playful side by describing a rooftop skating moment after freezing rain, but afterwards reflected on her 2017 album release party at Silence. Playing to a packed room in her new community made her feel truly welcome, and she has made that community proud since, highlighted by a nomination with that album for Emerging Artist of the Year at the Canadian Folk Music Awards.

At that award show in Calgary, she joined fellow nominees (and fellow Guelphies) The Lifers (Liv and Anita Cazzola) for a live performance about which the entire room was buzzing well after the lights went down. Annie describes performing with The Lifers as being her most heart-filling collaborative opportunity, sharing a sisterly relationship with the already sister group, their closeness reflecting artistically when one experiences their music. Guelph is fortunate to be home to these voices (and several others) that are part of a vibrant and thriving folk music scene with a bright future in Canada.

Annie Sumi 2

Photo by Ryan Marshall

Annie is described on her website ( as “an ethereal folk artist with a sound shaped by diverse musical influences, from Joni to Feist to Rachel Sermanni. Her compositions linger on the line between reality and imagination, like a lyrical poet with a knack for capturing the magic of life through the eyes of a child.” Whoever that child is, there is an old soul behind their eyes, which makes Annie’s music appeal to a wide audience. Equally as captivating as those brilliant lyrics is Annie’s delivery of them. Much like her songwriting, her singing voice walks a beautiful tightrope between innocence and wisdom, simultaneously playing the role of the comforter and the comforted. Her performance will wrap you in a warm and reassuring embrace, surprising you because you thought she was the one who needed that from you. It’s tender, enchanting, and hopeful, and the warmth will last for days.

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