Read any Good Books lately? (#15) – Afghanistan ….. with a twist.

It seems like Afghanistan is a bottomless pit of war and violence. It has been that way “forever”. The locals have fought and killed each other in tribal disputes for centuries. In the 19th century they fought the British to a standstill in the wars of the North West Frontier. In the 20th they defeated the Russians before renewing their own inter tribal conflicts. Following the expulsion of the Russians the Taliban rose to the top of heap and ruled with a religious ferocity. Following the terrorist attack on the “Twin Towers” in New York the country caught the interest of the USA and were perceived to be a haven for Islamic terrorists. Rightly or wrongly, in the American world view they needed to be eradicated. To that end the US embarked on a military adventure to win “the war on terror”. By invading the country there was a hope of pacifying the country and ushering in an era of democratic peace. Under US patronage and with the  help of an international military force the occupation has lasted eighteen years. Think about it! Eighteen years. During that time attempts have been made to introduce democracy into the country and protect the rights women and, despite the best of intentions, that seems to have failed. Like the British and the Russians before them the US is now preparing to leave. The golden rule of any occupation is that the occupiers eventually have to go home. The other part of the golden rule is that all insurgents know this. They just have to keep up the pressure and wait until the time is right for the occupying force to come up with some face saving pretext to leave the country honorably. The only occupying force to achieve a measure of success against insurgents has been the British in Malaya in their fight against the communists in the 1950s.

Like any war there have been a multitude of novels, war stories  and pages and pages of political analysis. In most publications the context has been one with an American perspective. The Americans were perceived as the only allied heroes, and villains, fighting the Taliban.  This is despite the fact that the allied partners from many counties have participated in the “war on terror” and suffered significant casualties. One of the partners in the “adventure” is Denmark. Danish, Canadian, German, French etc soldiers have fought and died in Afghanistan and their stories need to be told. One of the partners in the “adventure” is Denmark and this is an Afghan story with a  Danish perspective.

Carsten Jensen is a leading literary figure in his native Denmark. He is the author of the international bestseller We, the Drowned, which has sold more than half a million copies in twenty languages. As well as being an acclaimed novelist, essayist, newspaper columnist, and political commentator, Jensen has reported from war zones in the Balkans and Afghanistan. He has been awarded many prizes for fiction and nonfiction, including Denmark’s coveted Golden Laurel for the travelogue I Have Seen the World Begin, and Sweden’s prestigious Olof Palme Prize for his “work, in words and deed, to defend the weak and vulnerable in his own country as well as around the world.”

 

Andrea Superstein at Stage 64

“Live in the Gallery” with Jazz Guitarist  Don Glasrud

This new series of pre-concert performances has been made possible by a grant from the BC TOURING COUNCIL, BC ARTS COUNCIL and THE BC GOVERNMENT. The grant has been made available to support performances by BC musicians. Don is a well known Jazz Guitarist in the community and has been a fixture on local scene as a teacher and performer for around 20 years. For the evening’s performance Don was playing his new GODIN Nylon Strung guitar. His repertoire, as usual, consisted of tunes from the Great American Song Book and well known Jazz standards. It was a wonderful opportunity to hear Don up close and personal in the Centre 64 Gallery .

 

Andrea Superstein – Jazz and Blues Fall Concert Series #3 – Stage 64, Kimberley  2019/11/23

Andrea Superstein is a Montreal born, Vancouver based artist. Her music combines the jazz sound of the east and the indie scene of the west. She has been featured on a Women in Jazz compilation, has received international radio play, on top of being interviewed for a number of jazz publications. She was also invited to perform at the first jazz showcase at Canadian Music Week in 2012″.  On this tour she was supported by fellow Montreal native Elizabeth Shepherd on piano and two young musicians,  James Meser on bass and Kyle Hutchins on drums. James is a full time professional musician from Vancouver while Kyle works out of Montreal.The performance was mostly a mixture of originals from Andrea’s CDs with a few cover songs added to the mix. Of the originals the French song De Temps en Temps was the standout with some great textural percussion by the drummer Kyle Hutchins. Thoughout the performance he switched from jazz brushes to mallets with lots of sonic shadings before finishing with traditional sticks. Elizabeth Shepherd was responsible for the arrangement. A jazzy version of Bob Dylan’s Don’t Think Twice, it’s Alright was a novel interpretation of a well known Dylan song. Elizabeth also added to the mix with one of her originals Feeling Good from her CD release Rewind.

  

      

As always, thanks to the MC Keith Nicholas, the volunteers and staff of Centre 64 and the merchants around town who donated their food (The Burrito Grill) and accommodations (          )for the musicians. Together they make this series possible .

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The Mistress of Cool – Elizabeth Shepherd

Elizabeth Shepherd is a Singer / Song Writer, Jazz Pianist, Composer, Arranger and all round superb musician. Elizabeth is from Montreal and, despite the great distances and weather challenges of this vast country she manages to visit and perform in this area on a regular basis. She was at Stage 64 in Kimberley last Saturday (November 23, 2019) as part of the Andrea Superstein band.

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Kimberley Pipe Band – Road to 2020 Ceilidh

Kimberley Pipe Band benefit events are always a blast and this was no exception. This particular one was held in the convention center at the North Star Ski Hill in Kimberley and, as usual, featured the Kimberley Pipe Band, Hali Duncan & Liela Cooper Highland Dancers, a silent and live auctions and live entertainment. After the close of the auctions  The Choice (James Neve – Guitar and Vocals; Rick Parsons playing five keyboards and Brian Hamilton on drums) took to the stage for an outstanding selection of classic rock tunes. They were later joined by The Brass Monkeys featuring Jim Cameron on bass,  Keith Kendall on Tenor sax, Randy Marchi and Shinobu Murata switching out on trumpet and valve trombone. They ended the evening with a full on big band experience. Money raised by the event is ear marked for the Kimberley Pipe Band’s planned trip to The Netherlands Remembrance Day Celebrations in 2020. Despite the atrocious lighting conditions in the center I did my best to capture images to document this fun event. Here they are and I apologize for the general poor quality of the images.

 

Pipe Major Jock MacDonald

Retired Brigadier General David Corbould

    

The Bands –  The Choice & Brass Monkeys….. Although the evening was a celebration of “Pipe Band Culture” and a somber tribute to the Remembrance Day Fallen it had to finish on a danceable note and that was provided by The Choice and The Brass Monkeys with the bands organ driven classic rock tunes and the crackling snap of a horn section.

          

   

In the near future I am sure there will be another fund raiser for “The Road to 2020”. I am looking forward to that.

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Debra Power and the Steve Pineo Band

Malcolm John Rebennack Jr (aka Dr. John) a blues influenced piano player of more than small note died June 6, 2019.

Sister Rosetta Tharpe (March 20, 1915 – October 9, 1973) was a Gospel singer, songwriter and trail blazing guitarist.

When Debra Power and The Steve Pineo Band took to the stage in Kimberley on Friday night they were channeling the  spirits of the above artists. Debra’s powerful piano playing was in full keeping with the blues traditions of Dr John and her Gospel tinged vocals took us right back to church. Added to that were the guitar and vocal skills of Steve Pineo, the organ/bass skills of Paul Wells and the solid drumming of Ross Watson. The set list lists for the evening ran the gamut of blues and Gospel tunes and  original songs by both Debra and Steve. All musicians are from Calgary.    

Debra and her powerhouse vocals and sparkling keyboard skills, have a long list of performance/recording credits across Canada and the U.S. While growing up in Newfoundland she was was weaned on Big Band music. Her father was  a bandleader during the dance era. Encouraged by her parents, Debra studied piano in her youth. In high school she formed her first band, an all-girls group that played local concerts and venues. She then headed off to study music at Memorial University of Newfoundland, where she majored in voice. This period also saw her launch her professional career, where she began developing her broad skill set and gaining experience in R&B and Rock & Roll bands. She moved to Alberta in the late 80’s.

Steve’s band opened the first set with three tunes that included She Ain’t No Good (And I Ain’t No Better) and The Boogie Man. Debra followed up with a set list that included That’s How I Roll, Turn me Around, Just a Little Bit, Streets of Heaven, Grateful Song (for her brother Ted), I’m Coming Around and Let me Love You Tonight. In Streets of Heaven I could very easily imagine Sister Rosetta Tharpe belting out this song. The only thing missing was a blazing Sister Rosetta guitar solo (this is no reflection on Steve’s stellar solo work). There was some nice “Ticky Tickety Tick” drum fills and down home and organ back up on Grateful. The second half of the night show cased Steve and the band and more original material from Debra. During the night Steve switched out guitars for a workout on some open G slide tunes on a Pink Strat. On the tune Hard Wired for the Blues  he wailed away in open D on a slide guitar that looked almost like a toy.

Debra’s second set included Even Redheads, Love Glasses, Temptation, I’m So Happy, You Bring Out the Lover and All Night Playing the Blues. In one of Debra’s song there was a classic line “You can have my husband but don’t mess with my man”.

Here are some more images from a stellar night of music ……..

                

For the gear heads out there: Debra uses a Roland FP-F7F. Paul uses a Nord Electro3 Keyboard with a special German Lesley Speaker effects device and a Yamaha CP4 for the bass lines. Steve uses an entry level Gretch Country Gentleman (slightly modified), a pink Squire Strat and that weird red thing he picked up in a music store in Canmore                        For this stellar night of music I would like to thank the two “Rays”. Ray Foxworthy for putting himself way out there to bring the band in from Calgary; Ray Gareau for the lights and sound. I am sure there was a crew of volunteers somewhere in the background that made the evening possible and for them I am truly thankful. Lastly, but not least, Debra and the band for such fine music.

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Holly Hyatt and her Band

This is the second concert in Live@Studio 64 Fall Concert Series 2019

“Jon and Holly”, the Father and daughter soul/blues duo have been a staple act on the Kootenay musical scene for ever. I first remember Holly as a teenager touring the area many, many years ago. Of course, now she is all grown up with a daughter of her own and now fronting a crack-a-jack soul/blues outfit that includes Jon Burden (her dad) on lead guitar and back up vocal; The marvelous reed player Clinton Swanson on flute and Alto and Baritone saxes; Steve Wilson on  drums and Jack Taforo on Keyboards; Last, and not least, Holly Hyatt on electric bass and vocals. To the best of my knowledge all the musicians are from Nelson. There must be something in the water over there. There has to be some reason to explain the high quality of musicians and the musicianship that comes out of that area. Perhaps it is the music school in Nelson  that acts as catalyst for developing fine young musicians. This current edition of the Holly Hart Band is just another example of the quality that comes out of the West Kootenays. The evening was a mixture of soul and blues numbers, and an occasional reggae piece and some originals. I am not a avid Soul music fan so most of the repertoire was fresh to my ears. Tunes played included Walk Away, Wild Heart, Rainbows; One Desire; If I Call You, Get Funky, Gravity, Just a Little Bit (the Etta James Classic), Take me to the River (the Al Green 1974 classic soul number), some shuffle blues numbers including the original Home Reno Blues. There were several numbers described as “Disco Blues” (what ever that is) that called for dancing shoes. The music  was all there with a great vocalist and a solid repertoire grounded in retro soul and the R&B feel of earlier days. Performances were all spiced up by Jon’s fine lead work on guitar, Jack Taforo’s wailing and moaning keyboard playing, and the fine sax and flute excursions of Clinton Swanson. Tucked away in the back was the excellent drumming by Steve Wilson nailing down the rhythm section.

Here are some images from the evening …….

   

                   

Thanks to the organizing committee, the volunteers and sponsors for another concert in this wonderful series.

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