Steve's Blog
Tuesday April 23, 2013

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Happy St. George's Day everyone!

It's a gorgeous day out here on the left coast and things are shaping up very nicely for the biggest concert in Rogue Folk's 26 year history - Blues Night Out with Taj Mahal and Shemekia Copeland this Thursday at The Chan Centre at UBC (6265 Crescent Road, just off N.W. Marine Drive)

Then we have another amazing performer on Sunday April 28th - Indo-Canadian singer Kiran Ahluwalia and her superb band at St. James Hall (3214 West 10th Avenue).

May is our anniversary month, too, and there are concerts coming up with Portland's Foghorn Stringband (Friday May 3rd), brilliant young BC fiddler Kierah Raymond with versatile Victoria guitarist Adam Dobres (Friday May 10th - the Rogue's official anniversary), remarkable mid-west country / folk singer Eilen Jewell and her hot band (Sunday May 12th), Country Blues trio Orville Johnson, John Miller & Grant Dermody from Washington State - with Ontario's sublime blues / folk singer Suzie Vinnick opening (Friday May 17th).

We've added a couple of shows to the Concert Calendar: Michael Averill's CD launch on Thursday May 30th and Joy Kills Sorrow on Sunday June 9th. We also have a great double-bill of BC's Fish & Bird with American fiddler / singer Laura Cortese and her quartet (Sunday June 2nd), Kate Reid's Queer Across Canada CD Launch Tour kicks off on Saturday June 8th, and we conclude our pre-festival season with another CD launch - this time for Ralph "Ukulele Man" Shaw (Thursday June 20th) - and the long-awaited return of Rani Arbo & Daisy Mayhem (Friday June 21st).

Yes, we have something for everyone at The Rogue in the next few weeks, but this week it's all about Taj Mahal at The Chan Centre.

Blues Night Out with Taj Mahal & Shemekia Copeland, Thursday April 25th, 8pm, at The Chan Centre at UBC

Blues Legend Taj Mahal turned 70 last year. He was raised in NYC. His parents' families had moved there from the Caribbean Islands of St. Kitts & Nevis (his father) and the fertile musical ground of South Carolina (his mother.) They raised him on the sounds of jazz, of Caribbean and Latin dance halls, and he went on to discover Blues and Folk music and explore his own musical directions. Columbia Records has just released a 15 CD box set of his early recordings, from 1965 to 1976 - including the two CD set The Hidden Treasures of Taj Mahal, which was launched last August. Ever since his early musical explorations in the 1960s, when he teamed up with the likes of a young Ry Cooder to experiment with the possibilities of fusing Blues, Folk, Rock, Soul, R&B, and Latin and Caribbean Music into something the record companies couldn't classify - but which continues to delight his audiences today - Taj Mahal has blazed a trail for Roots Music. To him - and to many of us - music is the universal language; the way we can all work together to make the world a better place - a revolution we most certainly can dance to! He will be joined by Kester Smith on drums and Larry Fulcher on bass.

The opening set comes from Shemekia Copeland, daughter of famed Blues musician Johnny Copeland. Shemekia was recently crowned the new Queen of the Blues - by Koko Taylor's daughter, no less! When asked why he likes to tour with Shemekia, Taj laughingly exclaims: "It's simple! She's beautiful! And she can sing!" She's Blues Royalty, alright, and her powerful voice and brilliant band have brought her worldwide acclaim. Indeed, she came mighty close to winning the Grammy this year for Best Blues Recording, and she was featured in that memorable concert in the White House to celebrate President Obama's re-election.

This is going to be a fantastic night! A great celebration of music - and a huge feather in the Rogue cap, too! It's far and away the most ambitious show we have ever taken on, and it looks like being close to a sell-out! You can still buy tickets online and tickets are also available at Ticketmaster outlets. There will be some on sale at the Chan Centre Box Office on Thursday night, too.

Get there early. It's General Admission / Rush Seating. Doors open at 7pm. Parking is free in the covered parking lot adjacent to the theatre on NW Marine Drive. Come early and enjoy the view and the ambience of the marvellous, glass-walled lobby which looks out onto the rain forest; check out the array of Taj Mahal - and Shemekia Copeland - CDs on sale in the lobby, and don't miss the most amazing washrooms in the Lower Mainland (well, apparently, the Women's Washroom is truly spectacular!! I wouldn't know, of course ....) But most of all, come and enjoy an evening with some of the best Blues musicians anywhere. A rare chance to see Taj Mahal and Shemekia Copeland - two generations of Blues Royalty - in concert in a wonderful venue.