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The Barmitzvah Brothers are an indie pop band from Guelphmarker, Ontariomarker. Known for their use of unusual instruments, the group has a distinct sound that has generated buzz in the Canadian music scene. The Barmitzvah Brothers’ upbeat music features everything from the fiddle to homemade instruments. Like the group, the song lyrics are quirky and original; focusing on everyday life, the working world and ordinary people.(Barmitzvah Brothers, 2007). The band’s sound seems to transcend many genre’s and varies from record to record, and song to song. Band member John Merritt explains the bands style by saying “We have phases. We started with an electronic-polka phase, then we had a rock phase and a bluegrass phase. I’m not sure what phase we’re in now, but each has a unique sound” (McGill Daily, 2003).


The band was formed in April 2000 (The Barmitzvah Brothers, 2008) and originally consisted of three members (Dick, 2004). Jenny Mitchell, John Merritt and Geordie Gordon started the band to compete in a school talent show (Slutsky, 2003). The group was dubbed the Barmitzvah Brothers after a friend commented that their music was reminiscent of a Jewish celebration. The band began playing in all kinds of venues; including basements, local events, festivals and bars. They soon gained local credibility and began to expand outside of Guelph. The Barmitzvah Brothers soon became popular throughout Ontariomarker and have since toured Canadamarker and Europe (The Barmitzvah Brothers, 2008). Since their inception the band has grabbed the attention and praise of audiences and media alike. The group has even been featured on several television programs, including YTV’s “To The Max” (McGill Daily, 2003).The Barmitzvah Brothers have collaborated with a number of other musician; Sylvie Smith and Tristan O’Malley were frequent additions. Recently, O’Malley has become the fourth full-time member of the band (The Barmitzvah Brothers, 2008).The Barmitzvah Brothers released their first official record, “The Night of the Party” in 2001; the record was self-released (Slutsky, 2003). They soon signed with local record label Robosapien (McGill Daily, 2003). The band has released albums almost annually and are currently on the Weewerk label (Barmitzvah Brothers, 2007).


Contrary to their name, The Barmitzvah Brothers are not composed of Jewish relatives, nor are they strictly male(McGill Daily, 2003; Slutsky, 2003). The band has four full-time members: Jenny Mitchell, John Merritt, Geordie Gordon and Tristian O’Malley (Weewerk). They are also occasionally joined by part-time member Sylvie Smith (Barmitzvah Brothers, 2007).Jenny is primarily vocals, bass and omnichord (Weewerk). She is also responsible for the group’s witty lyrics(Barmitzvah Brothers, 2007). Geordie is also a singer, as well as playing violin and keyboard. John acts as the groups rhythm section, provide drums and other percussion. He also experiments on the keyboard(Weewerk). Tristain is the guitar player. Prior to his joining the band, no songs featured guitar (Barmitzvah Brothers, 2007). In addition to these roles, each band member plays a wide variety of other instruments. Who plays what varies from one song to the next. It is this innovative use of multiple instruments that gives the Barmitzvah Brothers their unique, signature sound.Aside from the band, each member still holds other jobs. It is this lifestyle that provided inspiration for their latest album “"Let's Express Our Motives: An Album of Under-Appreciated Job Songs". In addition to their work with the Barmitzvah Brothers Geordie and Jenny both have solo side-projects (Weewerk).

Band Relations

In addition to their work in The Barmitzvah Brothers, each of the band members take part in a variety of other musical endeavors. Jenny Mitchell performs on her own as Jenny Ominichord, is a member of The Burning Hell, and plays with Richard Laviolette and Oilspills. Geordie Gordon is a member of the Guelph-based band The Magic, the Salt Lick Kids, and has more recently toured with Human Highway. He also plays violin with The Burning Hell. John Merritt has played with several Guelph bands including Brides and The Skeletones Four. Tristan O'Malley was a member of the Neutron Stars and former Barmitzvah Brother, Sylvie Smith, was a member of Habit with John O'Regan of The D'Urbervilles. She is currently in the band The Magic.




  • Barmitzvah Brothers. (2007). The Barmitzvah Brothers Official Webpage. Retrieved October 13, 2008, from
  • Dick, T. (2004, November). The Barmitzvah Brothers are our future; Jenny Mitchell gives the lowdown on being an indie rock minor. Retrieved October 14, 2008, from The Barmitzvah Brothers:
  • McGill Daily. (2003, February 13). No holds barred: The Barmitzvah Brothers rock out of their town. Retrieved October 14, 2008, from The Barmitzvah Brothers:
  • Slutsky, M. (2003, February 6). The Barmitzvah Brothers charm and delight. Retrieved October 14, 2008, from The Barmitzvah Brothers:
  • The Barmitzvah Brothers. (2008). MySpace Profile. Retrieved October 13, 2008, from
  • Weewerk. (n.d.). The Barmitzvah Brothers. Retrieved October 14, 2008, from

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