Barbara Josephine Bulat (born April 13, 1984), known as Basia Bulat (/ˈbɒʃə bˈlɒt/),[1][2] is a Canadian folk singer-songwriter. She is known for performing with an autoharp.[3]

Basia Bulat
Bulat performing with her autoharp in 2008
Bulat performing with her autoharp in 2008
Background information
Birth nameBarbara Josephine Bulat
Born (1984-04-13) April 13, 1984 (age 38)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
OriginLondon, Ontario, Canada
Instrument(s)Vocals, guitar, autoharp, hammered dulcimer, piano, ukulele, charango
Years active2004–present
LabelsRough Trade, Hardwood, Secret City

Early life and educationEdit

Bulat grew up in Etobicoke, Ontario[2] where her mother was a music teacher[4] who taught piano and guitar. She is of Polish origin and a member of the Canadian Polonia.[5] She has said the radio at home was permanently tuned to an oldies station.[6] "I don't think I realised the radio had more than one station until I was 11 or 12," she says.[7]

She attended the University of Western Ontario where she received a degree in English;[8] she also took some classes with Olenka Krakus of the band Olenka and the Autumn Lovers.[9] Bulat began an MA in English at Western in 2006 but moved to Montreal to record "an audible memory" of her time there which resulted in her debut album.[10]

Although Bulat no longer lives in London, Ontario, she has recognized the importance of London in establishing her career: "London has always been so supportive of me. I feel like the city really adopted me," she says. "It wasn't part of a larger commercial music industry but a small, close-knit scene, which was kind of nice."[11]


While a student at the University of Western Ontario, Bulat had a radio program on Western's community and campus radio station CHRW-FM titled "Happy Tuesday" with co-host Holly Coish.[12] Bulat first appeared on stage after she was coaxed by friends into opening for Julie Doiron[13][11] and soon gained a local following.[2]

Oh, My Darling (2007)Edit

Bulat released an independent EP in 2005 and was subsequently signed to Rough Trade Records, which released her full-length debut album, Oh, My Darling in April 2007, produced by Howard Bilerman. The album was later released in Canada by Hayden's Hardwood Records.

Her singles "Snakes and Ladders", "Little One" and "I Was a Daughter" have been playlisted on CBC Radio 3 while various tracks have received airplay on college radio in Canada and the United States. Her album Oh, My Darling made the shortlist for the 2008 Polaris Music Prize.[14]

Bulat has toured across Canada, the US and Europe; in June 2008, she ventured to Australia. She played the 2008 Dawson City Music Festival in the Yukon. Bulat cited the week she spent in the quiet and remote location as an inspiration for her songwriting.[15]

Heart of My Own (2010)Edit

Her second album, Heart of My Own, also produced by Howard Bilerman, was released by Rough Trade Records in the US and in Canada via Secret City Records on January 26, 2010.[16] It peaked at number 13 on the Billboard charts on February 13, 2010.[17]

Bulat appeared on Hockey Night in Canada on December 10, 2011, during which she sang the Canadian national anthem at an Ottawa Senators game at Scotiabank Place (now the Canadian Tire Centre).[18]

Tall Tall Shadow (2013)Edit

On September 30, 2013, Bulat released her third album Tall Tall Shadow worldwide via Secret City Records. It was produced by Tim Kingsbury and Mark Lawson. The album was nominated for a 2014 Juno Award in the Adult Alternative Album of the Year category,[19] and was a shortlisted nominee for the 2014 Polaris Music Prize.[20] The album has been well received in Canada and the United States.[21] It peaked at number 25 on the Billboard charts on October 19, 2013.[17]

The song "Tall Tall Shadow" was featured in the opening video montage on Hockey Night in Canada prior to the games between the Chicago Blackhawks and Toronto Maple Leafs, and the Montreal Canadiens and New York Islanders on December 14, 2013.[22]

Good Advice (2016)Edit

Her fourth album, Good Advice, was produced by My Morning Jacket frontman Jim James and was released on February 12, 2016. It became a shortlisted nominee for the 2016 Polaris Music Prize.[23] The title of the album refers to female friends whom she relied on during a recent breakup.[24] It peaked at number 22 on the Billboard charts on March 5, 2016.[17]


Studio albumsEdit


  • Basia Bulat (2005)


  • Touch the Hem of His Garment (2008, 7")
  • Your Girl (2019)


In popular cultureEdit

  • The song "Little Waltz" was used in a 2007 Australian Volkswagen Eos advertisement.
  • Her first official music video, "In the Night", was released in December 2007.
  • The song "In the Night" was used on AMC's Every Night at 8 promotion for February 2008.[25]
  • The song "Before I Knew" was used in a commercial for the 2010 Subaru Outback.
  • The song "Tall Tall Shadow" was used in the 2020 launch trailer for the Nintendo Switch version of the video game The Long Dark.[26]


  1. ^ Harewood, Adrian (January 18, 2008). "Basia Bulat interview". All in a Day. CBO-FM (CBC Radio One Ottawa).
  2. ^ a b c Reaney, James (January 29, 2010). "A Heart at home: Basia Bulat's second album, Heart of My Own, is earning raves". London Free Press. Retrieved April 20, 2010.
  3. ^ "CANOE – JAM! Music – Artists – Bulat, Basia: Basia Bulat keeping autoharp alive". Retrieved August 1, 2010.
  4. ^ Denis Armstrong (September 1, 2009). "Basia Bulat found heart on road". Retrieved August 1, 2010.
  5. ^ Doole, Kerry (February 5, 2014). "Basia Bulat". SOCAN. Retrieved April 5, 2017.
  6. ^ Alexander Varty (October 1, 2007). "Beautiful Basia Bulat is the real thing". Retrieved August 1, 2010.
  7. ^ "Basia Bulat". MapleMusic Ltd. Archived from the original on September 1, 2018.
  8. ^ "Western students among nominees in CHRW album contest". December 5, 2007. Retrieved August 1, 2010.
  9. ^ "Feature Interview: Basia Bulat". Ca Va Cool, January 24, 2010.
  10. ^ Sayani, Fateema (February 11, 2010). "Two Sides to Basia Bulat". Ottawa Citizen.
  11. ^ a b "From tragedy comes beauty: Basia Bulat releases her most personal album to date". Retrieved October 19, 2017.
  12. ^ "Bulat delivers on Western return". The London Free Press. Archived from the original on October 20, 2017. Retrieved October 19, 2017.
  13. ^ " – Music – Basia Bulat". Archived from the original on February 16, 2009. Retrieved August 1, 2010.
  14. ^ "CBC News – Music – The final 10". July 7, 2008. Archived from the original on December 1, 2008. Retrieved August 1, 2010.
  15. ^ Rabinovitch, Simona. "Basia Bulat Finds Inspiration in Silence of Canadian North". Spinner. Archived from the original on July 22, 2012. Retrieved August 16, 2010.
  16. ^ "Basia Bulat Second Album Set For January Release". September 17, 2009. Archived from the original on June 7, 2011.
  17. ^ a b c "Basia Bulat Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved October 19, 2017.
  18. ^ "Ottawa Senators Official Website". Retrieved February 21, 2013.
  19. ^ "2014 Juno Award Nominees" (PDF). February 4, 2014. Retrieved March 2, 2014.
  20. ^ "Arcade Fire, Drake, Shad make Polaris Music Prize short list". CTV News, July 15, 2014.
  21. ^ Conner, Shawn. "Five reasons to see Basia Bulat in Vancouver". Archived from the original on October 20, 2017. Retrieved October 19, 2017.
  22. ^ "Hockey Night features Basia Bulat". CBC News. December 14, 2013. Retrieved July 15, 2020.
  23. ^ "Basia Bulat Announces 'Good Advice' LP, Enlists My Morning Jacket's Jim James to Produce". Exclaim!, October 29, 2015.
  24. ^ Barclay, Michael (February 1, 2016). "Bulat keeps getting better |". Retrieved October 19, 2017.
  25. ^ AMC » Music From Every Night at 8 » Basia Bulat Archived March 12, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  26. ^ "The Long Dark - Launch Trailer - Nintendo Switch". YouTube.

External linksEdit