Ali Sellin

ALI SELLIN with DAVE CARLSON & BUD DECOSSE at BJs Creekside Pub, Saturday May 21, 2016, 8pm

080. Ali, Dave and Bud

One one hand I am not a big fan of Country Music. On the other hand I appreciate spontaneous music that’s professional and well crafted. So once you move away from the Star Spangled Hollywood music of Nashville,  Country Music does have some thing 202. Ali Sellinto offer. Case in point is Ali Sellin on stage at BJs  last Saturday night. The music was country but Hollywood and Nashville were way over the horizon, almost out of sight and far away from ear shot. Ali is from Medicine Hat and on this visit to Kimberley she renewed her acquaintance with mandolinist Dave Carlson and guitarist Bud Decosse. These two 400. Dave Carlsongentlemen (dare one use that word in this day and age of “Bad Dudes”) are probably two of the finest musicians in the area. They are both well known and500. Bud Decosse highly respected in the Kootenays. With their smooth accompaniments and slick lead lines they were a perfect foil for Ali’s voice and her choice of material. All  the more so when you realize that all of the evenings music was largely unrehearsed. Although Ali is a Singer / Song writer  most of her material for this evening were covers of such classics as Red Wing (the Steel Wheels version) Anne Murray’s Snow Bird, Johnny Cash’s Ring of Fire, Gershwin’s Summertime, Willie Nelson / Patsy Cline’s Crazy, Take the Ribbon from Your Hair, Green Green Grass of Home, Banks of the Ohio, and Dolly Patton’s Joliene. That is just the tip of the iceberg. There was a sprinkling of her original material plus lesser known songs from the country repertoire. Dave and Bud did their bit with material from their own huge bag of songs and instrumentals. Ali obviously enjoys performing and it was reflected in her happy demeanour and rapport with the audience. It was an especially fine night of music and if, and when, Ali comes back to this area she should not be missed. Here are some images from the evening.

244. Ali Selin408. Dave Carlson222. Ali Sellin   204. Ali Sellin506. Bud Decosse214. Ali Sellin   220. Ali Sellin

A musical Note (pun intended) is Ali’s guitar technique.  She uses a right hand finger style technique with a thumb pick and plastic finger picks. While not that unusual it took a while for me to realize what she was doing. Her patterns and picking where appropriate and crystal clear and the picks were very pretty hard to see. I personally find it hard to use finger picks and the constant risk of getting  tangled up on the back strokes has put to rest any ambitions I may have ever had on using finger picks.  Good job Ali!0052. Ali's Guitar060c. The hand of Ali

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THE ODD COUPLE – CCT Rehearsal

Odd Couple Poster(2)

“The Odd Couple is a play by Neil Simon. Following its premiere on Broadway in 1965, the characters were revived in a successful 1968 film and 1970s TV series, as well as other derivative works and spin-offs. The plot concerns two mismatched roommates: the neat, uptight Felix Ungar and the slovenly, easygoing Oscar Madison. Simon adapted the play in 1985 to feature a pair of female roommates (Florence Ungar and Olive Madison) in The Female Odd Couple. An updated version of the 1965 show appeared in 2002 with the title Oscar and Felix: A New Look at the Odd Couple.” – Wikipedia

As the saying goes “what goes around comes around” and with this play that seems to happen on a frequent basis. The most notable performance would have to be the 1968 film starring Jack Lemmon and Walter Mathau. They followed that with their reprised roles in The Odd Couple II, directed by Neil Simon. Now, here we are in 2016 and the show is once again the inspiration for another TV series, oddly enough called The Odd Couple. Not to be outdone by Broadway or Hollywood the Cranbrook Community Theatre, under the direction of Bob McCue brings the iconic characters to life for local audiences.

Cast:

  • Bob Wakulich                           –  Oscar Madison
  • Peter Schalk                             – Felix Unger
  • Alexander Gilmour                    – Vinnie
  • Barry Coulter                             – Murray
  • Barry Borgstrom                        – Speed
  • Randy Tapp                               – Roy
  • Michelle McCue                         – Gwendolyn Pigeon
  • Andrea Grossman                     – Cecily Pigeon

Directed by Bob McCue and produced by Kristy Quinn

The Setting : Four acts in Oscar Madison’s apartment in New York City.

 Act One: Poker night and where’s Felix?
114. The Card Game
100. The opening card game   108. VINNIE, OSCAR MADISON & MURRAY.102. VINNIE - Alexander Gilmour  104. ROY - Randy Tapp   126a. MURRAY - Barry Coulter110. MURRAY - Barry Coulter
 118. OSCAR MADISON - Bob Wakulich   124. ROY - Randy Tapp104. ROY - Randy Tapp132. OSCAR & MURRAY   136. MURRAY - Barry Coulter138. FELIX UNGER - Peter Schalk        154. FELIX UNGER
Act Two: Two weeks later Felix has moved in
200a. FELIX UNGER - Peter Schalk206. SPEED - Barry Borgstrom208. MURRAY - Barry Coulter     212. MURRAY - Barry Coulter214. OSCAR & FELIX   202. The New Card Game216. FELIX UNGER - Peter Schalk
Act Three: The next evening about 7:30 pm
306. OSCAR MADISON - Bob Wakulich304. FELIX UNGER - Peter Schalk   310. CECILY & GWENDOLYN PIGEON - Andrea Grossman & Michelle McCue  318. Guys and Dolls   325. GWENDOLYN, FELIX & CECILY333. OSCAR MADISON
Fade to ACT 4.
400. OSCAR MADISON - Bob WAKULICH404. OSCAR AND FELIX   414.416.
AND CURTAIN CALL
 512. THE FULL CAST
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The “Banshee Wail” of LUNASA

LUNASA at the Key City Theatre in Cranbrook, April, 16, 2016

104. Lunasa

As a descriptor for the music of LUNASA “Banshee Wail” it is not strictly accurate. Wailing it definitely is but Banshee, well maybe not. A BANSHEE is a female spirit in Gaelic Folklore whose mournful wailing is supposed to warn of an approaching death in a household. Lunasa’s music is much more joyous than that. In discussions of art, and in particular music, there are two terms generally applied; Apollonian – characterized by clarity, harmony and restraint; Dionysian –  sensual, spontaneous and emotional. Forget death and destruction. The wailing aspects of the flutes, whistles, fiddle and Uilleann pipes can only be described as Dionysian. After all it is joyous enough music to blister paint, get the feet stomping and generally bring down the roof.

LUNASA is probably the most significant band to come out of Ireland since the The Bothy Band roared onto the scene in the early 1970’s. They share the same sonic spectrum with  the emphasis on flutes, whistles and fiddle. The Bothy Band used guitar, harpsichord and bouzouki to anchor the rhythm. Lunasa has gone in  a slightly different direction by using the ultimate “bottom-end dweller”, the upright double bass, and along with guitar it  anchors the band and creates a unique sound.The band has been around for nigh on twenty years and, if one is to believe the flute player Kevin Crawford, they continue to stick around with the hope of another Hawaiian tour at some time in the near future. Over the years the band has had a number of very prominent top flight musicians taking their turn in the line up. They include:

  •  Tim Edey – guitar
  •  Donogh Hennessy – guitar
  • Michael McGoldrick – Uilleann pipes, flute, whistle[3]
  • John McSherry – Uilleann pipes[3]
  • Paul Meehan – Guitar, Bouzouki, Mandolin

For the concert at the Key City Concert Kevin Crawford played Flute and Irish Whistles as well as doing double duty as the MC. Kevin plays custom handmade instruments by  the Australian builder Michael Grinter . Cillian Vallely performed on that mystery of Irish plumbing, the Uilleann Pipes, and the Low D Irish Whistle. Belonging to the esteemed Vallely Family Cillian has a very honorable pedigree in the Irish music scene. His cousin Fintan Vallely edited The Companion to Irish Traditional Music and co-authored Blooming Meadows – The World of Irish Traditional Music.112. Kevin and Cillian

Collin Farrell, not the real Colin Farrell of Hollywood fame , that would have cost the Key City a bundle, but rather an imposter who was actually born in Manchester, England. As an imposter, according to Kevin, he has scored numerous awards as performer of the year, month, week, day and on this tour and on this particular night performer of the minute on a set of tunes that included The Raven’s Rock / Ruby / The Beehive. Colin brings to the stage the fire and precision of the Irish fiddle tradition that is a big part of Lunasa’s music. He also plays Low Whistle and in combination with Kevin and Cillian creates a unique trio unison sound on a number of tunes.321. Collin Farrell

Although there are many guitarists out there playing solo finger style Celtic music the strength of the instrument in the Celtic context is in it’s supporting role as a rhythm instrument. It adds punch and drive to a band. Through out the evening Patrick Doocey did get opportunities to explore some of the delicate nuances of the guitar. Most notably in a set of Breton tunes and particularly in the wonderful Galician tune Aire de Pontdevedra. In combination with the upright bass player Trevor Hutchinson the guitar and bass combination provided the front line of Lunasa with a rock solid foundation to support their melodic explorations.  Trevor’s upright bass is almost unique in Irish Celtic music. To my knowledge the upright bass, unlike in Bluegrass music, is not a common instrument in Irish Celtic music. Having said that Trevor’s contribution adds an unmistakable signature sound to the ensemble. Over the years he has graced a number of bands, including those of the Irish button accordionist Sharon Shannon. Moving around the world poses some unique challenges for a bass player . Trevor is a tall man and he requires a big instrument . The shear size of the bass is a major financial and logistical hurdle in transporting the instrument from place to place. Trevor has overcome some of those difficulties by using an instrument that literally comes apart and folds down into a more manageable package. There are a number of these instruments on the market and to get some idea of the just how that is done check the link below.

Here are some images from a memorable night of music.

214. Kevin Crawford300. Cillian Vallely  308. Cillian Vallely404. Trevor Hutchinson     406. Trevor Hutchinson326. Cillian Vallely227. Kevin Crawford  216. Kevin Crawford262. Kevin Crawford  116. Patrick and Trevor   616. Patrick Doocey318. Cillian Vallely328. Cillian Vallely352. Cillian Vallely

530. Colin Farrell

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“It’s all in the mix”………… BREAKWATER

Breakwater March 2016 Cranbrook Poster

Saturday March 12, 2016, 7:30 pm at the Key City Theatre in Cranbrook performing on the small stage in the foyer.

To the purists this may not really be “Celtic” music but to the rest of us it turned out to be a really interesting “mash up” (Jeff Faragher’s words) of what is a really fascinating 502. Jeff Faraghermix of musicians, tunes and styles. Breakwater is a quartet of musicians from the West Kootenays that includes Jeff Faragher on Cello, guitar and vocals, 706. Aurora SmithAurora Smith on vocals and Fiddle, Rob Fahie on Double Bass and Ben Johnson on Drums and Percussion. These musicians come from 902. Rob Fahievaried backgrounds with impeccable credentials. Jeff is an outstanding classical celloist who has played in a number of local solo and chamber group situations as well being the conductor and soloist with the Symphony of the Kootenays; Rob is originally from the Montreal jazz scene and is also one of the principal bass players in the Symphony of the Kootenays; Aurora is a 210. Ben Johnsonfiddle player who teaches in Nelson and also performs as a classical violinist in a number of orchestras, including the Symphony of the Kootenays. Ben Johnson is a drummer and percussionist whose primary interest is in Balkan, Greek, Turkish and Middle Eastern music. Apart from percussion he plays a number of instruments from that part of the world including Greek Bouzouki, Oud, Saz and many other instruments with unpronounceable names. With that as the kick off point it is hard to imagine the music being anything other than interesting. The central core of the repertoire is Celtic, specifically, fiddle music, to which the group adds music from the classical masters (J.S. Bach, Dvorak), film music (Game of Thrones, Pirates of the Caribbean), pop music(Coldplay), Canadian (Song of the Mira, Log Drivers Waltz), folk music (Bob Dylan’s Blowing in the Wind), Bluegrass and just about anything else that tickles their imagination. The front line of fiddle, cello and double bass is a combination that fits well with the repertoire. To prove the point they kicked off the evening with a J.S. Bach minuet that morphed into the fiddle tune The Ash Plant. This they followed up with a rousing set of Aurora’s fiddle tunes (The Roaring Barmaid / The New Reel / The Tamlin Reel). After that whirlwind performance  Aurora knocked it back a notch by singing The Banks of Loch Lomond followed by the band’s exploration of Jay Ungar’s classic tune  The Ashokan Farewell (from Ken Burns PBS Documentary on the American Civil War). For the rest of the evening it was more of the same. Lots of fiddle tunes, including two that I noted for later research when I got home. They were The Pelican Reel (by Gordon Stobbe) and Catharsis (by Amy Cann). There were lots of songs including Jeff Faragher’s outstanding version of Song of the Mira with the tag fiddle tune Stolen Apples (another tune I will have to research). All in all it was an evening of fine music in a performance space, the foyer of the Key City, that has lots of promise. It is a more intimate arena than the performance area in the main theatre. It had good sight lines and sound. However, the lighting was really poor, and I do mean poor. It was dim and marred by undesirable tints from the overhead LEDs. They will have to work on that. A black backdrop curtain would also improve the visuals.

506. Jeff Faragher720. Aurora Smith916. Rob Fahie248. Ben Johnson712. Aurora Smith  714. Aurora Smith  724. Aurora Smith919. Rob Fahie514. Jeff Faragher   208. Ben Johnson   516. Jeff Faragher  728. Aurora Smith726. Aurora Smith

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Sunday March 13, 2016, 7:30 pm at the Studio 64 (Centre 64) in Kimberley.

242. Breakwater

The concept of the “Small Stage” at the Key City and Studio 64 in Centre 64 is much the same. The idea is to create a small performance area with a cabaret like atmosphere with available refreshments and snacks. By and large they have both succeeded, albeit with 5 year head start Studio 64 is closer to finalization.  Within the past few years Studio 64 has manged to improve the performance area with a large black back drop curtain and a sophisticated lighting system. The lighting and sound are managed by Ray’s music and the results are first class. All that remains to be improved are the sight lines by the installation of a slightly raised stage for the performers. That is in the works. On the other hand the Key City “Small Stage” is only in the first year of development. On the positive side, with the raised stage the sight lines are good but there is real need for a black backdrop curtain and an improved or better managed lighting system. The sound is good but the lighting is very, very poor.

Breakwater performed the same program at both venues and with the better lighting the Studio 64 performance had more appeal. Below are images from the latter concert. You be the judge of the visuals.

120. Aurora and Jeff    124. Jeff and Rob200. Aurora and Jeff444. Ben Johnson612. Jeff Faragher  614. Jeff Faragher  616. Jeff Faragher628a. Jeff Faragher802. Aurora Smith  819. Aurora Smith   835. Aurora Smith811. Aurora Smith950. Rob Fahie   952. Rob Fahie   969. Rob Fahie980d. Rob Fahie980b. Rob Fahie404. Ben Johnson   400. Ben Johnson406. Ben Johnson829. Aurora Smith813. Aurora Smith962. Rob Fahie

Breakwater – two fabulous concerts with great visuals and great music. I’m looking forward to their return to this area. When they do make sure to mark it on it is on your calendar.

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“It’s the oatmeal that holds it together” – Blackthorn Band

THE BLACKTHORN BAND IN CONCERT, at Studio 64 in Kimberley, March 5, 2016 at 8pm. This is the first concert of the Spring season at Studio 64.

I admit it. Celtic music in its many forms and disguises pulls at my cultural and emotional heart strings. And so it should. My ancestors immigrated from Dublin in the mid-1870s to settle in New South Wales, Australia. After I arrived in Canada in the 1970s I married a Scottish lass from Glasgow; My son was born in Australia and has since married into an Irish American family. He carries Irish, Australian and Canadian passports. So, as you can see, there is a lot of cultural baggage there. Celtic music in Australia tends to be predominantly Irish, although in the early days “German Bands” made their mark on traditional music. Waltzes, Varsoviennas, and Schottisches are sprinkled throughout the traditional repertoire. In Canada, Celtic music is different. There is no doubt the principle bonding agent is as Scottish as oatmeal and as a result other musical bits and pieces just seem to stick to an underlying “Scottishness”. The other influences are in there; the Irish, Quebecois, Arcadian, English, Metis, American, and just about everything else that makes up the Canadian cultural mosaic. That mix pretty well describes the repertoire of the Vancouver based band Blackthorn. The band, Michael Viens (vocals, 6 and 12 string guitars, bodhran, percussion and harmonicas) Michelle Carlisle (vocals, flute, piccolo, whistle, fife and alto flute), Tim Renaud (vocals, bass, octave mandolin, 12 string guitar and bodhran) Rosie Carver (vocals and fiddles) provided an exceptionally strong evening of instrumental and vocal music.610. The Blackthorn Band

They kicked off the evening with a set of tunes from their latest recorded CD Open Skies that included the English Victorian music hall tune Country Life, Robbie Burn’s Rattlin’ Roaring Wilie, and from Cape Breton’s legendary fiddle master Dan R. MacDonald’s repertoire The River Bend. That pretty well set the tone for the evening – marvelous four-part harmony singing, interspersed with with strong instrumental tunes featuring fiddle and flutes. Each performer got an opportunity to shine on their own little 111. Michelle Carlisleparty pieces; Michelle Carlisle on her original song Open Skies, Rosie Carver on the French Canadian Mouth of the Tobique (one of my favorite French Canadian tunes), Nathaniel Gow’s (Scottish) Petronella and a four section traditional French reel Le violon accorde comme une viole; 315. Rosie CarverTim Renaud shone on the Andy M. Stewart’s mighty ode to the girl of his dreams The Queen of Argyll – it gave Tim a chance to step up to the plate with his octave mandolin, a instrument that always causes some confusion – is it an octave mandolin, a 410. Tim Renaudmandola, or a short scale Irish Bouzouki? – most of it depends on how it is tuned. Attached to the song The Queen of Argyll was Rosie Carver’s little dash of Hungarian spice in the tune Paprika, a very interesting tune in an unusual 10/8 time signature. Michael Viens party pieces included Las Vegas in the hills of Donegal and a selection of French Canadian tunes from his 216. Michael Vienschildhood in Maillardvile, the French Canadian quarter of Port Coquitlam. It was an outstanding night of music that came to an emotional close with full on audience participation in the grand finale of Loch Lomond and The Dark Island. I don’t know why the lines “you take the high road and I’ll take the low road and I’ll be in Scotland before ye” exerts such strong emotional pull on a bunch of foreigners who have never been to Scotland. Never-the-less that strong pull was there and the audience was singing it’s heart out at the close of the Saturday night concert at Stage 64 in Kimberley. Here are some more images:

247. Michael Viens  107. Michelle Carlisle  270. Michael Viens  300. Rosie Carver  205a. Michael Viens117. Michelle Carlisle602. Michelle and Michael  119. Michelle Carlisle204. Michael Viens  311. Rosie Carver  400. Tim Renaud137. Michelle Carlisle330. Rosie Carver070. Rosie's dress  020. 12 string  080. Michelle's shoes133. Michelle Carlisle   143. Michelle Carlisle   131. Michelle Carlisle325. Rosie Carver  706. Micheal, Rosie and Patron

Thanks to the organizing committee, the many volunteers, the sponsors at The Burrito Grill and A B&B at 228 (Lorne and Gail Knutson) this was another successful sold out concert.

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Once more with feeling ….. and a new chapeau

LONESOME JIM (aka James Neve) AT BJs CREEKSIDE PUB, Saturday February 20, 2016, 8pm

As usual James (vocals, Cojon, guitars and pedals) was in top form for this marathon solo engagement that ran through to midnight. The crowd did thin out mid-stream but swelled again when the patrons from the Home Grown Music Society decided to make a night of it by moving over to BJs. Dave Prinn and Jon Bisset stepped in with some backup vocals; Bill Renwick (guitar, vocals and harmonica) performed a short intermission set and Rod Wilson, with his percussion compadres “Stella” and “Bud”, joined forces with James for his driving masterpiece Rainland.

100. Lonesome Jim128. Lonesome jim and Bill Renwick   020.

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“Canadian Folk Sketches” – World Premier Rehearsals

SOTK Lizzy Hoyt 2016_02_13

In the past there has been a well recognized tradition where classical composers have dipped into folkloric waters to refurbish and re-invigorate their music. In fact there are  whole national music traditions that have come into being as a result of that process. Every now and then folk musicians, rock musicians and jazz musicians have turned that process on its ear by enlisting classical musicians, most notably, symphony orchestras in support of music that is outside the normal symphony repertoire. Over the years The Symphony of the Kootenays has been involved in a number of those type of projects. Lizzy Hoyt’s Canadian Folk Sketches World Premier is the latest in that ilk. Lizzy Hoyt (vocals, guitar, fiddle, and harp) and her trio, Keith Rempel (upright bass and back-up vocals) and Chis Tabbert (guitar and Russian Soviet era mandolin) joined the Symphony and shared the solo spotlights with a number of the Symphony’s outstanding musicians. The rehearsals were on Saturday afternoon, February 13, 2016 in preparation for the premier concert later that evening. Here are some images from that rehearsal.

505. Trio plus Orchestra 100. Lizzy Hoyt    200. Keith Rempell    300. Chris Tabbert  132. Lizzy Hoyt   312. Chris Tabbert    212. Keith Rempel  310. Lizzy and Chris050. Harp  320. Chris Tabbert   408. Wendy  422. Jeff Faragher 144. Lizzy Hoyt  118. Lizzy Hoyt  316. Chris Tabbert 532. Nicola   140. Lizzy Hoyt   146. Lizzy's feet

I know the instrument doesn’t make the music. It is the musician who makes the music. However, having said that, I think it is worth focusing some attention on Lizzy’s magnificent Collings small bodied guitar (probably a Collings OM1). This a truly beautiful example of modern luthiery and it further demonstrates that we are living in a golden era of hand made instruments.050a. The Collins Guitar 126a. Lizzy and the Collings guitar

As for the repertoire it always gives me great pleasure when a Canadian musician stops looking south for musical inspiration and decides to explore the rich, varied, and largely unexplored traditions of Canada.

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The Tradition Continues ….. COIG

Coigsm

“The Highland Clearances were horrific events in Scottish history. In the 19th Century Crofters were forcibly evicted from their homes in the Highlands of Scotland and those that survived starvation and death ended up scattered all over the world. “It was an ill wind that blew some good” and this “ill wind” was responsible for the Scots settling in Cape Breton. With the new settlers came all the elements of the Scottish Highland Culture. It included the Gaelic language, music, dancing and story telling and some say this transplantation of the culture is responsible for the very survival of the Scottish Fiddle tradition, not only in Canada, but in Scotland itself. By the time the CBC aired a TV show called “The Vanishing Cape Breton Fiddler” in 1971 the Cape Breton style of fiddling had been in existence for well over a hundred years. The CBC show lamented the decline of the tradition and predicted the inevitable demise of the Cape Breton fiddler. Boy, were they ever wrong with that conclusion. Within a few short years of the airing of the show the tradition became revitalized and went though a period of explosive growth. As well as a whole cadre of older and younger fiddlers,  part of the positive change can be laid at the feet of at least two master fiddlers, Jerry Holland and Buddy MacMaster.”   Both of these musicians have since passed away but their children, grand-children, students and disciples have continued to re-invigorated the tradition. COIG (Gaelic for Five) is part of that on going process. Originally this was a quintet formed to promote the Cape Breton Celtic Colours Festival. The original members were all basically Cape Bretoners who have grown up in the tradition and are thoroughly familiar with the traditional fiddle and piano music of the region. The original members were Chrissy Crowley (fiddle and viola), Rachel Davis (fiddle and viola), Jason Roach (keyboards), Darren McMullen (tenor banjo, bouzouki, mandolin, guitars, and Irish Whistle), and Colin Grant (fiddle). Coig performed as a quartet at the Key City without Colin so  I am not sure if he is still part of the group.

112. Coig It goes without saying this was a night of brilliant music with lots of foot stomping fiddle duets, tenor banjo, bouzouki and mandolin leads all backed by Jason’s thunderous Cape Breton piano. The band performed a selection of tune sets from their album Five. Tunes included Bad Day at the Beach, The Oak Tree Set, Choufflé Soufflé, SR (Strathspey/ Reel) Set and others. Rachel Davis sang Bob Dylan’s classic ballad  Tomorrow is a Long Time and Dougie MacLean’s She Loves Me when I Try. On keyboard Jason Roach performed an extended solo set that included Sleepy Maggie. Here are some images from the evening.

206. Chrissy Crowley  204. Chrissy Crowley  202. Chrissy Crowley302b. Rachel Davis  600. Darren McMullen  514. Jason Roach  408. Darren and Rachel  228. Chrissy Crowley  412. Rachel and Chrissy  406. Rachel and Chrissy214a. Chrissy Crowley  300. Rachel Davis   304a. Rachel Davis   311. Rachel Davis               428. Chrissy and Darren        430. Chrissy and Darren

Musical Notes (pun intended). Darren McMullen is a “highly sort after multi-instrumentalist, switching between, guitars, mandolin, bouzouki, banjo and whistle”. His arsenal of instruments is only restricted by travel requirements. In this instance he did not play guitar. For most of the audience that may, or may not have passed unnoticed….. when was the last time we have heard a musical ensemble that was not 602. Darren McMullenguitar based? Actually it was refreshing not hear a batch of guitars thumping away. After all there is more to music than three guitars and a thudding back beat. Without guitars and with the addition of bouzouki, banjo and mandolin the music had a whole different sonic ambience. On this trip his arsenal was restricted to just the Irish tenor banjo, mandolin and Irish bouzouki. There is only so much excess baggage that you can cram onto a plane. Darren plays a 19 fret Irish tenor banjo tuned GDAE played mandolin style with a pick. It requires a different musical approach to the usual Bluegrass and Clawhammer styles of banjo playing. This instrument is not necessarily a chordal instrument. Rather its strength is in single linear melody lines and 612. Darren McMullenleads. When played solo it does not have a pleasant sound. However, in ensemble situations its loud percussive notes adds rhythm and punch to melody lines. It is particularly effective when played in unison with other melody instruments such as fiddle and accordions. Darren also plays a Bruce Weber Irish Bouzouki. For those unfamiliar with the Irish bouzouki it is a mandolin styled instrument (“a mandolin on steroids”) that  originally started out as the Greek Bouzouki before Irish musicians adopted it in the mid-1960s. Darren’s instrument is a custom built instrument designed to have a high tight sound that doesn’t conflict with the bass register of Jason’s Cape Breton style piano. Last but not least is his  Mark Franzke Dog Boys  custom built A- style mandolin. 608. Darren McMullen  626. Darren McMullen         632. Darren McMullen 616a. Darren McMullen

This was a night of exciting Canadian Music and one that may be repeated in the future. There are already rumours that the band will be back. If so Coig is not to be missed.

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Here is a YouTube clip just to give us an after taste of the concert:

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Oh, What a Party……..”

Midwinter Beach Party

A fine way to kick the winter blues out the door is to have a party. The local band Hot Muck (Brian Morris – lead; Ryan Person – banjo and guitar; Rick Krewwnchuk – drums; Sean Downey – bass; Ally Blake – fiddle) was invited to open for the Ska / Reggae band Sweetleaf from Victoria. As well as being motivated by the will to have a good time there was the added notion that the funds raised would go to the installation of a stage in the Stage 64 performance area in Centre 64. From among the mirth, mayhem and fun times of the evening here are some snapshots of the musicians working up a sweat……

004, Hot Muck Header100. Ally Blake  122. Ryan Peterson  110. Sean Downey136. Brian Morris130. Ally Blake  132. Ryan, Brian, Sean134. Sean Downey

and the main event – SWEETLEAF

500. Sweetleaf504.  512.  518514.510.528.516.  532.  534.522.  544.  506.542.

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“I think it’s time we stop, children, what’s that sound” – Buffalo Springfield

Saturday January 30, 2016, 7:30 pm at Centre 64 in Kimberley: Noemi Kiss and Rita Deane – Voice and Classical Guitar

We live in an era of complete sensory overload so it is nice to stop, step back and listen to sounds that are entirely human scale. There are no Marshall stack amplifiers with three guitars and a thudding back beat here. No fifty member symphony orchestra going full blast. No bar room high level back ground noise. No overhead TV sports distractions. Just a duo of voice and classical guitar performing music from across the musical spectrum. And the best thing yet….. an intimate venue where you can actually hear the music. That just about describes the concert by Rita Deane (Classical Guitar) and Noemi Kiss (Soprano) on Saturday night at Centre 64 in Kimberley.

152. Rita and Noemi

Both musicians  currently reside in the West Kootenays. Rita was raised in Rossland and has been studying guitar and piano since the age of six. She went on to study in Cordoba (Spain) and Salzburg (Austria). Noemi was born in Hungry and studied in Budapest and London. Noemi now resides in Agenta (it’s a long way from the centers of Euopean music to the jungles of British Columbia). Both musicians are fully fledged professional musicians who mostly teach and perform in the West Kootenays. The Columbia Kootenay Cultural Alliance  has made it possible for the duo to tour though out the East and West Kootenays and perform the following program.

Kiss and Deane program-ed_edited-1

To truly listen and appreciate this music, as in the words of the Buffalo Springfield song, one does have to stop. Then take a moment to re-calibrate  one’s senses to actually hear the sounds. Once done, a different aural universe becomes evident. The old saying “less is more” is very true in this instance. The concert space literally filled with sounds that would be completely lost if the music was amplified. As you can see from the above program of love songs the music covered in this concert is a broad spectrum of styles. From the music of the Elizabethan Lutenist John Dowland, through the Classic Era music of Mauro Giulani and Fernando Sor; the modern Classical composers, Joaquin Rodrigo, Heirto Villa-lobos and Benjamin Britten, to some traditional Irish and Hungarian folk songs and onto some arrangements of Eva Cassidy, including Sting’s Fields of Gold.
My pick of the music performed would be the Villa-Lobos piece, the John Dowland song and Sting’s Fields of Gold and that maybe because they are my favourite composers. In addition to those particular pieces the Hungarian folk song Volt Nekem szeretom   had a very special appeal to me for no other reason that it reminded me of the Agnes Baltsa 1985 album of Songs My Country Taught Me (a marvellous collection of Greek songs).

Here are some images from the Green Room (trying to keep warm)

100. Rita Deane  102. Noemi Kiss  106. Rita Deane 106. Noemi Kiss        104. Rita Deane

022. William (Grit) Laskin guitarSome images from the concert:116. Noemi Kiss  124 Rita and Noemi   130. Rita Deane   134. Noemi Kiss  136. Noemi Kiss  142. Noemi Kiss  150. Rita Deane  166. Rita Deane    168. Rita Deane  174. Rita Deane   244. Noemi Kiss  300. Rita Deane   300a. Rita Deane   302. Rita Deane 176. Rita Deane  246a. Noemi Kiss  310. Rita and Noemi

There was a third partner in the room – Rita’s magnificent William Laskin (“Grit”) Guitar with its distinctive arm rest bevel. That particular feature improves player comfort and has been adopted by a number of other luthiers. Rita has had the instrument for over 10 years and it was originally purchased at a price equivalent to that of motor vehicle. It is Rita’s baby and there is not a scratch or a bump on it. The standard features of a William Laskin classical guitar these days include Indian Rosewood back & sides, Sitka Spruce soundboard, Spanish Cedar neck (with Carbon Graphite reinforcement), Ebony fingerboard (w/ Ebony binding), Rosewood bridge w/ Ebony & Bone tie block, Ebony binding, Bone nut and saddle, Sloane tuners (bronze plate with ebony buttons). He offers enough non-standard features and custom options to please the most discerning musicians.

020. The Grit Laskin arm rest bevel   064. Rosewood Back

In a nutshell this was a “deliciously delicate” performance and I suggest that when they play again in Cranbrook next Saturday they should not be missed.

Feb6 Cranbrook

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Saturday February 6, 2016, 7:30 pm at the ROYAL ALEXANDRA HALL in Cranbrook: Noemi Kiss and Rita Deane – Voice and Classical Guitar

100. Royal Alexandra Hall402. Noemi and Rita

Synchronicity is a concept which holds that events are “meaningful coincidences” if they occur with no casual relationship yet seem to be meaningfully related (Wikipedia). Is that what this was? If so then bring on more of the same. The meaningful coincidences could be the musical collaboration of a Classical Guitarist from Nelson, BC and a magnificent Soprano from Hungry coming together in the acoustic environment of the Royal Alexandra Hall in Cranbrook. It was evident within minutes of the musicians entering the room that they were were enthralled by the acoustics. For the audience it was a chance to hear live music without any of the sonic distortion of added amplification. It was a real treat. I have been to a number of concerts in this hall and I have found that any artificial sound re-enforcement has had a negative impact on the music. For me there was only one drawback and and that was the natural prohibition on taking photos during the performance. The click of a camera shutter would have destroyed the musical ambience of the evening. I had to settle for some pre-concert shots  during the sound check. I can live with that………………….. The program was a recap of the sold-out concert in Nelson and the follow up performances in Fernie and Kimberley with the added zest of a unique acoustic environment

334. Rita Deane   202. Noemi Kiss   418. Rita and Noemi450. Rita and Noemi422. Rita and Noemi412a. Rita and Noemi436. Noemi and Rita

Thanks must go to the Kootenay Cultural Alliance for making this very special performance possible.

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