Steve's Blog
Great news for fans of Canadian Celtic Music!
Tuesday September 26, 2017

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1. Early Spirit, Friday September 29th, 8pm, St. James Hall (3214 West 10th Avenue)

If you loved Spirit of the West when they were starting out in the mid 1980s, or discovered them on the Expo 86 site, then you won't want to miss this show! Alternatively, if you thrill to the sound of fiddle music played by young, sophisticated and very talented players, then you shouldn't miss it either!

Jay Knutson, a founding member of SOTW, brings back some of the old songs, and spices them up with the marvellous invention and musicianship of young North Vancouver fiddler Gabriel Dubreuil, bassist William Ross, and percussionist Ben Kelly - all 3 of them alumni of the North Shore Celtic Ensemble, which Jay co-managed for many years. Ben is the son of SOTW co-founder Geoffrey Kelly, by the way, so it's all in the family, so to speak! 

Far from resting on his SOTW laurels, Jay continues to write songs and perform solo and with this band - as well as inspiring a whole generation of musicians to take up the fiddles and guitars and revel in the, well, spirit of the west, with all its joie de vivre, courage, and Celtic roots!

You may have heard Jay and Gabriel on my radio show last Saturday. If you missed it check out the podcast

I hope you can make it to the show on Friday. It will be an amazing night, I promise you! For tickets & info, click here


2. Cassie & Maggie added to the Don Ross & Calum Graham show, Thursday October 5th, 7:30pm, St. James Hall (3214 West 10th Avenue)


Cassie & Maggie MacDonald are a vibrant young Celtic duo from Nova Scotia. They are sisters and they make wonderful music! In fact, their latest CD, The Willow Collection, has just earned four nominations for a Canadian Folk Music Award - which will be awarded in November in Ottawa. They played a Rogue gig in May 2016, and we have been striving to bring them back ever since. Now we have the chance, and it meant shuffling things a bit to add them to the Don Ross & Calum Graham bill on October 5th.


We are starting early that night, and the girls will play a 45 minute set to start the evening at 7:30, so come down to St. James Hall and revel in some exciting new Celtic fiddle music and song, and then marvel at the guitartistry of two of Canada's finest players - Don Ross (a veteran of 27 Rogue shows) and Alberta's young prodigy Calum Graham (making his Rogue debut.) Both guitarists have new CDs - Don's A Million Brazilian Civilians and Calum's Tabula Rasa are stunning examples of their instrumental wizardry and considerable vocal skills.

This sort of concert could only happen at The Rogue. Don't miss out on this chance to hear some amazing new Canadian music - with roots and much excitement thrown in for good measure. More details here.

3. Trio Da Kali, Friday October 6th, 8pm, St. James Hall (3214 West 10th Avenue)

We team up with Caravan World Rhythms to present an evening of West African music by Mali's Trio Da KaliFodé Lassana Diabaté, the musical director of Trio da Kali, is a virtuoso balafon (a large wooden xylophone) player from Guinea, where the instrument originated in the 13th century. Hawa Kasse Mady Diabaté is one of Mali’s finest female voices today, revered at home for her knowledge of repertoire and for her powerful, clear and expressive voice, rooted in the tradition of Kela, a village in southwest Mali famous for its griot music, where she grew up. She is the daughter of Mali’s most celebrated male singer, Kasse Mady Diabaté – guardian of Kela’s special tradition. Bass ngoni player Mamadou Kouyaté, the eldest son of the instrument’s greatest exponent Bassekou Kouyaté, also holds down the groove in his father’s band Ngoni ba.

The trio just released a wonderful CD, Ladilikan, with renowned string quartet The Kronos Quartet. it's breathtaking, and will be on sale at the show. Click here for more details and where to buy tickets.


4. Renovations at the hall
I stopped by St. James Hall yesterday to pick up the donations to the Food Bank collected at the Garnet Rogers show last Saturday. (Thanks to Terry McKenzie for delivering them to the Vancouver Food Bank - and thanks to all who brought something to add to the boxes of food!)

There were no less than four crews at work on the hall yesterday! The City crew was erecting scaffolding to install the ventilation fans in the ceiling; a carpenter was dismantling the plinths at the back of the hall and building new, safer ones; the flooring guys were putting down a new floor in the bar; and the painters were in as well!

So that's another reason to come by St. James to revel in the new look and feel of the place. There's still plenty more to be done, and it is scheduled to fit in with our busy concert programme, so it's fascinating so see how things are coming along. 


5. Radio Waves
Don't forget to tune in to The Saturday Edge On Folk every Saturday from 8am to noon on CiTR fm 101.9 in Vancouver and carried live on to all corners of the globe! There are always abundant new releases to explore together, as well as concert previews and a few trips down musical memory lane. I'm not sure what I'll be playing yet, but there will be more of the Trio Da Kali / Kronos Quartet CD, some Cassie & Maggie of course, and Don Ross and Calum Graham - both solo and together - and some new songs from Little Miss Higgins, and so much more. (New Steve Martin & The Steep Canyon Rangers, Laura Cortese & The Dance Cards, Ian Sherwood, for example.) I'll also preview Cape Breton's Celtic Colours Festival, which starts next weekend. Margaret & I are heading over there for a few days, but will be back in time for Ireland's wonderful The Gloaming in concert at The Chan Centre on the 15th (I'll play some of their fine music as well.)

Radio Rogue is also available whenever you need a fix of great Roots Music.

Happy listening! Enjoy the good weather the next few days, and I hope to you see you at The Rogue on Friday night.