Friends and fans are rallying around Juno-award winning Central Alberta musician Bill Bourne, who is experiencing financial hardship, due to illness.
Supporters, including fellow musicians, are contributing to a GoFundMe fundraiser that was started by Bourne’s daughter, Emily.
As of March 15, the fundraiser had surpassed its $25,000 goal, raising $36,668.
“Bill would never seek out assistance on his own; he is uncomfortable with the possibility of being a burden or imposition,” Emily wrote on her GoFundMe page. “I have created this fundraiser on his behalf because I believe many would be grateful to assist my dad during this difficult time.”
Bourne, a folk/roots singer/songwriter and descendant of celebrated Icelandic poet Stephan Stephansson of Markerville, was raised in a musical family in Innisfail.
He won a Juno Award in the early 1990s, while performing as a duo with bagpiper Alan MacLeod, and has since had multiple nominations.
In 2020, Bourne was diagnosed with Stage 4 bladder cancer. According to his GoFundMe page, his kidneys began to fail due to an obstruction last year. He survived what was a life-threatening condition through medical intervention, but is still experiencing chronic pain and fatigue, and is unable to perform and provide for himself.
“I hope to raise enough money that my dad does not need to concern himself with basic living expenses,” Emily posted on the page. “I want him to have the opportunity to focus on himself and his healing process. He deserves to feel safe and supported by all those that love and appreciate him.”
Anyone who chooses to support Bourne can also purchase one of his many recordings through BandCamp.
Over the years, the musician, once known for his long hair and top hat, has been a member of many bands and collectives, including Tri-Continental (with Madagascar Slim and Lester Quitzau), the Free Radio Dance Band (with his son, Pat Bourne), the Amoeba Collective, and the Scottish group the Tannahill Weavers.
His most recent recording is A Love Fandango from 2020, featuring electric slide guitar and banjo.
In 2015, Bourne and friends released Trancescapes – Gaia Sadhana, a spontaneous meditation/party record. Previously, he released Songs From A Gypsy Caravan. Bluesland, featuring The Free Radio Band. Bourne also recorded with Jasmine Ohlhauser and Wyckham Porteous in the band Bop Ensemble.
Bourne’s collaboration with Eivør Pálsdóttir from the Faroe Islands, the CD eivør, won two Danish Music Awards in 2006.