CANCELED: Singer Mirel Wagner cancels Sept. 12 Bates performance

Mirel Wagner. Photograph by Aki Roukala.

NOTE: Bates learned the morning of Sept. 12, the day of her scheduled concert in the Keigwin Amphitheater, that Wagner has canceled the remainder of her North American tour. We regret any inconvenience.

A folk-blues singer who has stunned critics with her stark lyrics and bare-bones delivery performs at Bates College at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 12, at the Keigwin Amphitheater at Lake Andrews, adjacent to the Olin Arts Center, 75 Russell St.

Mirel Wagner launches the college’s Olin Arts Alive music series, emphasizing renowned and emerging musicians on the international stage, with this free concert. The rain site is the Olin Arts Center Concert Hall. For more information, please contact 207-786-6135 or

Born in Ethiopia, raised in Finland, Wagner “takes a minimalist approach to her music to create consistently captivating, haunting tracks,” wrote a reviewer for “Wagner does not need complicated background melodies to make beautiful music; her strong, slightly husky voice and an acoustic guitar are enough.

“The simplicity in the sound allows [her] writing ability to stand out, as she weaves dark, heart-wrenching stories into each song. . . . Wagner questions relationships, family, religion and the value of living.”

Wagner began writing songs in her teens. An American music journalist living in Finland heard her at an open mic and helped open doors that led to the recording of her first album over the course of two days. This self-titled debut was released in Finland in spring 2011, and a year later in the U.S. (Friendly Fire).

If Wagner’s themes are bleak, her undramatic delivery renders them convincing. “I think it’s a bit lazy to say that I make sad music,” Wagner told the German edition of Rolling Stone magazine. “Of course you might say the lyrics are bizarre or dark. But for me, the songs are first and foremost filled with desire. And there’s this hope in them that love overcomes everything.

“What I find sad is the soulless music that is on the radio most of the time, music that is simply product. If there is no life in it . . . is this not much sadder than a melancholic song?”

Learn more about the artist.