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Joelysa Pankanea is a multi-award-winning composer, musical director, percussionist, and sound designer. Her music has been critically acclaimed and embraced by audiences in Canada for over 20 years. To date, she has composed over a dozen original large scale musicals, musical directed casts of up to 150 people, and composed for film, choirs, chamber orchestras, and more. Her prolific body of work, whether for the stage, screen or the concert hall, has given her one of the most unique and compelling musical voices in Canada. Joelysa’s most recent work was composer/musical director for Electric Company Theatre’s world premiere of Carmen Aguirre’s Anywhere But Here. Next, her work will showcase on the stage of the Stanley Theatre for the Arts Club’s production of Carried Away on the Crest of a Wave.


Photo: Matthias Falvai


Podcast of the Year Award 2024, American Writing Awards

17 x Jessie Award nominee

4 x Jessie Award winner

Fantasy/Sci-Fi Film Fest winner

Leo Award nominee

M Award winner

Positive Change Podcast winner

2x Signal Award winner

Green Award (PACT)


"I’m also a big fan of Joelysa Pankanea’s sound design and compositions, especially the subtlety of the ambient sounds she uses, including distant rumblings and the quiet whinnying of a lone horse."

-Colin Thomas

“The offstage star of this production is Joelysa Pankanea whose music makes this production remarkable....simple and beautiful. Solemn. Contemplative. Meditative. Zen” 

-Jo Ledingham

“Joelysa Pankaneaʼs hypnotic music swells, and the actorsʼ speech mutates into song. The simple power of it all is enough to make you weep.” 

-The Georgia Straight


“...composer and musical director Joelysa Pankaneaʼs orchestrations add a magical musical thread, often reminiscent of Philip Glass”

-The Vancouver Sun

“Playing harp, marimba, and bass, the musicians create a more haunting atmosphere than some full orchestra pits can conjure...the 11 member cast sings Pankanea’s mesmerizing harmonies throughout.”    

-The Georgia Straight

“Pankaneaʼs music is essential to the multi-layered effect The Life Inside produces. Her music is introspective and tinged with sadness - it brought to mind Góreckiʼs Symphony of Sorrowful Songs.” 

-The Times-Colonist

“Pankanea's music is to The Life Inside what cracking good dialogue is to a Mamet play—engaging, enjoyable and what most people will likely remember.”

-Monday Magazine

“...everyone’s in fine form when they harmonize the haunting music of Joelysa Pankanea...” 

-The Vancouver Sun

Photo: Shimon Karmel

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