What: Her Brothers: “She”
Where: Chief Sepass Theatre, 9096 Trattle St. Fort Langley
When: Friday, June 12
Doors: 7 p.m.; show: 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: Langley Fine Arts School theatre box office; Wendel’s Café in Fort Langley (cash only) and online at northerntickets.com
Admission: $10 in advance; $13 at the door
They took first place at the fifth and final Langley Has Talent competition earlier this spring.
But anyone who missed their prize-winning performance will get another chance to see Her Brothers play live, when they take to the stage at Chief Sepass Theatre in Fort Langley on Friday, June 12.
The band, comprised of three Aldergrove brothers — Gabe, 23, Josh, 21 and Levi, 15 — performed Locked Out of Heaven, Uptown Funk and Happy for the crowds at Christian Life Assembly.
During the two nights of competition, they wanted to play upbeat and engaging songs that would be immediately recognizable to the audience.
This time around, however, the brothers will play original music from their debut CD, She, which was released last January.
It’s music, they hope, that, in addition to captivating their audience, will get people talking about an important issue that is near and dear to their hearts — women’s rights.
“We want to create an experience that leaves people having a different conversation than when they came in,” said Jonathan Penner, the siblings’ father.
That conversation usually begins with a discussion about the band’s name.
“It’s an unusual enough name that people will ask. I love that question,” said Gabe, lead singer of Her Brothers.
In its simplest form, the answer has to do with their youngest sibling, 12-year-old Tiana.
For Gabe, Josh and Levi, being Tiana’s older brothers comes with the responsibility of ensuring their little sister is given the right message about how she deserves to be treated by all the men in her life, now and in the future.
“As her brothers, we create her social norms,” said Gabe.
The band hopes to inspire men to stand up for, encourage, and become positive male influences in the lives of women who either don’t have a voice or simply can’t speak for themselves.
From that perspective, they say, the name Her Brothers just made sense.
The three are just normal guys, they say. And all of them have had their heads turned a time or two by a pretty girl.
But during a visit to southeast Asia, Gabe saw an extreme version of what many women are forced to endure at the hands of men. The treatment of women and girls that he witnessed — specifically sex trafficking — gave him pause.
What if that were his own sister, he thought.
As musicians, the brothers knew they had the perfect vehicle for getting their message out.
“Women have been standing up for years for their own rights, when men stand up for that equality, something unique happens,” said Gabe.
“I think it transcends equality,” said Jonathan. “It’s about uplifting and actually celebrating women.”
“She” carries that message through, with song titles like Beautiful, Love Over Hate and Family Tree.
Gabe wrote or co-wrote every song on the disc. He also plays guitar, bass, drums and keyboards, sings, writes and produces.
In fact, all the Penner siblings are self-taught, multi-instrument musicians.
Josh plays guitar and bass, Levi plays drums and keyboards. He also sings, writes and does graphic design.
Tiana sings and is learning the piano.
This collective passion for music was passed down to the siblings’ by mom, Teresa, who sings and plays guitar and by Jonathan, who sat in with his sons on keyboard when they competed in Langley Has Talent.
Although they are all accomplished musicians in their own right, it is probably Levi who has left both his older brothers most in awe of his innate musical ability.
Several years ago, Gabe and Josh were jamming with a friend. Gabe was on lead guitar, Josh on bass.
They were playing a Ramones song, recalled Gabe, but their friend, who was on drums, couldn’t quite get what the brothers were looking for.
When the drummer got up to take a break, Levi who had been sitting and listening, decided to have a go. He sat down at the kit and nailed it in one take.
He was six.
Another day, Gabe wandered downstairs to find his youngest brother playing All By Myself on the piano.
“I said, ‘Where did you hear that?’”
Levi shrugged and replied that he had no idea.
The teenager counts his parents as his greatest musical influence — in large part because they’ve always asked him to examine his choices.
“Whenever I create something (their question is) what’s the purpose?” said Levi.
“They’re always pushing me forward — it’s always ‘why,’ not ‘what.’”
“Not pushing, like one of the Honey Boo Boo parents,” Tiana interjects.
“But encouraging,” she adds, once the laughter has died down.
“When I’m listening to a song, dad asks, ‘What is the meaning of that? Why are you listening to it?”
And why enter Langley Has Talent?
Although Her Brothers entered LHT to compete, the event also presented an opportunity for the band to meet other artists and potentially arrange collaborations.
The band was looking into the possibility of welcoming another Langley Has Talent act to the stage at Chief Sepass on June 12. Details were still being worked out at The Times press deadline.