Songwriter Mark Bragg, pictured here, has spent much of the year recovering from a brain bleed. Now his community is coming together to support him. (Ritche Perez)
In May 2023, songwriter Mark Bragg released his EP Ashes to a sold out album release show at the Black Sheep Pub in St. John's.
"He just wowed everybody as he usually does with a raucous, unpredictable dance fiesta," said his manager Tamara Kater.
Three days later, Bragg's life completely changed.
"He had a brain bleed and went into the hospital and was in intensive care and has spent the time since then in and out of critical care and various operations," said Kater.
The brain bleed came following Bragg's 2019 diagnosis with epilepsy.
"Mark was learning about his condition, he was sharing it with people," said Kater. "It was a new thing that he was talking about when this happened."
"I'm glad to say he's on the mend now, finally, after such a long journey towards healing, and we're all just so thrilled that he is back with us," said Kater.
Mark Bragg has been a vocal advocate for Epilepsy Newfoundland and Labrador and has shared his own experiences with epilepsy since he was fist diagnosed in 2019. (Ritche Perez)
Though Bragg's condition is improving, he's still not well enough to return to his regular work as a musician.
That's why Kater and musicians from around the province are banding together to perform a pair of concerts at The Ship Pub this December to raise money for mobility modifications needed in Bragg's home.
"All the proceeds of the show will go to helping modify Mark's home so that he can adjust to the rehab that he has to do and that he can get home as soon as possible and get back to making music," Kater said.
Kater said public response to the concerts has already been very positive. Both shows have sold out already, even without a confirmed line up of musicians.
"We've also already received just a groundswell of donations and offers of assistance and all sorts of wonderful positive energy has come from this and Mark and his wife Kerri are just over the moon," Kater said.
In a statement posted on his website, Bragg said "I can't believe the amount of support I've received from so many communities."
Manager Tamara Kater says Mark Bragg, pictured here in 2018, is beginning to return to his old self again, though he's not quite ready yet to get back on stage. (Submitted by Mark Bragg)
"My heart is bursting," Bragg said. "The Bragg-aroo show is fuel for my fire."
While the lineup of musicians at Bragg-aroo has yet to be confirmed, Kater said audiences should not expect an appearance from Bragg.
"I don't anticipate he'll be joining us at the shows in December, but we hope he'll be back on stage and back in the studio as soon as possible," she said.
However, Kater said Bragg is getting back to his old self.
"He is chipper, bright, joking around," Kater said. "And all of us around him who are visiting him and spending time with him on the phone and otherwise, are really just finding he's got a long road of healing and recovery to do."
"But the spirit of Mark is definitely back."