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Donna Marie “Daisy” DeBolt, an accomplished singer-songwriter, was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba on July 19, 1945 to a musical family. DeBolt’s maternal grandfather, Percy Highfield (1882-1946), studied music in England and played violin for a symphony orchestra. After immigrating to Canada in 1910, he taught music in Foxwarren, Manitoba, and in residential schools in Kenora, Ontario. DeBolt’s mother, (Helen) Marjorie (Highfield) DeBolt (1916-1998), was a musician and music teacher, and played violin with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. Her father, Donald DeBolt (d.1979), played banjo, chromatic harmonica, and the blues harp.
As a teenager, DeBolt studied jazz guitar with Lenny Breau (1941-1984). In 1965, she moved to Toronto, Ontario to pursue a music career as a folk musician. She met Allen Fraser in 1968 and the two formed the musical duo Fraser & DeBolt. They released two albums: Fraser & DeBolt With Ian Guenther, in 1971, and Fraser & DeBolt With Pleasure, in 1973. DeBolt and Fraser parted ways in the mid-1970s. DeBolt continued to write and perform as a solo artist and to collaborate with other musicians and poets. Her solo works include Soulstalking (1992), Live Each Day with Soul (2002), and Lovers and Fantasies (2004), an album featuring two songs by author Michael Ondaatje.
In addition to being a folk singer, DeBolt was well versed in blues, jazz and reggae, and played mandolin, accordion and guitar. Over the course of her career, DeBolt toured and played at festivals across Canada, performed in several theatre productions, composed for Ballet Ys, and wrote film scores for the National Film Board. She had a son, Jake DeBolt, with poet Robert Dickson (1944-2007). DeBolt died on October 4, 2011 in Toronto.
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cbc.ca. (2011, October 5). Canadian singer Daisy DeBolt dies at 66. CBC News. Retrieved from
Legacy.com. (2011, October 16). Donna Marie "Daisy" DeBolt Obituary. Toronto Star. Retrieved from http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/thestar/obituary.aspx?pid=154083485 Abra, M. (1974). <i>A view of the birdtail: the history of the municipality of Birtle, 1878-1974</i>. (p. 317). Altona, MB: D. W. Friesen & Sons. Ltd. PDF.
Additional material provided by donor, Margaret Stowe.
J. Dell, 2019