Steve's Blog
Wednesday November 25, 2009

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Hi everyone

What better way to put the rainy day blues behind you than to come to The Rogue for some great music? Exactly! There is no better way. and it certainly beats sitting at home feeling sorry for yourself.

We have two great concerts this week, and we've added a couple of December shows as well.

The Breakmen, Thursday November 26th 8pm, St. James Hall (3214 West 10th Avenue)

"To the already long list of Canadians who bleed pure Americana please add The Breakmen. Like their countrymen in The Band before them, they have been known to inspire a bit of the old-time religion with their sublime vocal harmonies." - Nathan Baker, San Francisco Bay Guardian

"The Breakmen...a fun band with creative ideas, new songs, excellent delivery and a nice bunch of guys. They know how to entertain, they like what they do and they do it with style and zest." - George McKnight, Uptown Bluegrass Radio

The Breakmen - We all know 'em and love 'em. Vancouver's own boys of bluegrass are playing the Rogue Folk Club on November 26th following up on the success of their newest cd, When you leave Town. Energetic roots music, bluegrass, and folk with original melodies, innovative vocal harmonies and open and energetic delivery. The Breakmen formed in 2005 when four of Vancouver BC's best young songwriters and acoustic musicians got together to work on each others songs. They quickly found an enthusiastic audience for what they were doing, performing to sold out houses and playing a leading role in the flourishing West Coast roots music scene.

Wonderful harmonies, fine songs, and good-time old-time music are their trademarks. With a strong emphasis on acoustics, their self-titled first album was well-received at a national and international level, remaining on Canada's Roots Music Review Chart for 10 months straight. The Breakmen album features a primarily bluegrass feel, stirring together musical ingredients from folk, old-time, blues, and Americana. The use of banjo, guitar, mandolin, and harmonica contributes to this sound.

When You Leave Town took a step away from the bluegrass world and moves more into the realm of folk-roots. "The theme of the album is a little bit more in depth than the first one. I think there's a lot more depth lyrically. In [When You Leave Town] we made a much more conscious departure from bluegrass. The instrumentation is a bluegrass instrumentation in that we have a stand up bass, a banjo, mandolin, guitar. However, in this album, there's definitely less of a bluegrass feel," says banjo player and guitarist Archie Pateman.

Everything we love about the Breakmen is still there, but their updated sound is a little darker, more personal and inevitably, more mature. They'll have some surprise guests on stage, as well. If you haven't heard them lately... you should.

This concert will be recorded by CBC Canada Live for later broadcast.

BLACK UMFOLOSI 5 - AFRICAN CHRISTMAS SHOW, Friday November 27th 8pm, St James Hall (3214 West 10th Ave)

"It was the best of all the festival, They have an incredible way to sing, to dance, a beautiful presence on the stage. Their simplicity, naturalness and cheerfulness was for us, at the end of the festival a beautiful present." MILAN FESTIVAL JULY 2007

"Their singing is a marvelous blend of rhythm, melody and harmony welded together with enormous complexity, but ending up with a sound that is acting simplicity" F ROOTS

Crystal-clear harmonies, intricate rhythms, dances of strength, joy and exhuberance - these are just some of the many things served up at a Black Umfolosi concert. This year, the 5-member touring ensemble (Black Umfolosi 5) are bringing all this and more with their brand new Christmas Show. Along with their regular repertoire, they will be including Christmas songs in many languages with the requirement that the audience join in! Black Umfolosi were formed in 1982 by students at George Silundika Primary School in Zimbabwe. The name of the group is taken from the Umfolozi Omnyama River in the Natal Province of South Africa, to where their ancestors can be traced.

The 'Imbube' style of music is traditional to the Nguni speaking people of Southern Africa and has immense appeal to overseas audiences. The full 8 piece Black Umfolosi line-up limit their appearances beyond the Bulawayo area where they are based, but The Black Umfolosi 5 present the same spectacular songs and dances that thrill audiences all over the world. They have recently performed in the UK, Canada, Malaysia, Barbados and Italy, - leaving countless fans with precious memories of those trademark harmonies or the sight of the legendary 'Gumboot Dance' with its South African mining origins.

Other singers have joined the group at various stages over the 26 years they have been performing but it is the combined relationship of this line-up (both as performers and friends) that is most remarkable. These are individuals that have their own lives, their own families, - yet seem oblivious to the hardships of spending weeks on end touring together. It would be impossible to do this without a genuine passion for their music. Their gentle style infuses into audiences at performances and workshops and over the years they must have had a massive impact on breaking down the barriers of race and religion that politicians struggle to get right. Their charms seem to have a lasting affect on almost everyone they meet