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Eclectic band KSAR has out of this world approach to music

Eclectic doesn’t begin to describe the music of this extraordinary group
Casey Ryder, Glenn MacDonald, Aaron Cockburn, Thomas Sokoloff and Brendan Lofting are KSAR. (Courtesy KSAR)

By Tim Collins

When first asked about his band, KSAR, Aaron Cockburn explained that the band is from a planet in a distant galaxy governed by horse creatures, and has been sent to Earth to spread a message of joy and positivity.

But when pressed, Cockburn admitted that the backstory may not be entirely accurate.

KSAR formed in 2021 and is made up of a talented group of career musicians that includes Cockburn as the frontman, accordion and guitar player and vocalist, Casey Ryder on electric guitar and upright bass, Brendan Lofting on trumpet, synth keyboard and glockenspiel, Glenn MacDonald on bass mandolin and Thomas Sokoloff on drums.

To say that their original music is an eclectic experience wouldn’t be doing it justice; the band has essentially created its own genre.

“It’s actually super eclectic,” said Cockburn. “It draws on pop music, with Balkan and Eastern European influences and some Indian music as well.”

Add in some Afrobeat, Middle Eastern psychedelic rock, and sprinkle in a bit of chamber music, folk, funk, disco and some cinematic pseudo-orchestral and you begin to get an idea of what the band is all about.

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The hard-to-pigeon-hole music is, perhaps, a reflection of the jazz background of several of the band’s members.

“We really work well as a group and the music is always emotionally charged and groovy,” Cockburn said. “[It] has a bit of political and social commentary but it’s also fun. We keep it energetic and colourful. I know it doesn’t allow for easy categorization, but that’s part of what makes it interesting.”

“We describe ourselves as an ever-evolving collective of musicians.”

Or perhaps, they really are from a distant planet.

Whatever the truth is, KSAR’s shows are inevitably colourful, exuberant, fun, danceable and emotionally charged.

“Our lyrical themes try to inspire positive change while touching on difficult topics such as the homeless crisis, and the loneliness epidemic. We want to raise important questions about our current way of life, while still having fun,” Cockburn said.

For anyone who’s curious, the band’s name, KSAR, is taken from a French thoroughbred racehorse who, back in the 1920s, had back-to-back wins in France’s most prestigious horse race, the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

The band currently has two Spotify singles and is currently in the studio working on more original works. They’ll also be appearing at summer festivals.

To get a real sense of this extraordinary group of musicians, though, visit them at