Close

Not a member yet? Register now and get started.

lock and key

Sign in to your account.

Account Login

Forgot your password?

Shows  // Browsing posts in Shows

15 Oct Posted by in Shows | Comments

With Red Devil Rockin’ Blues band, the Cellar, YK, NT

Way back in the late 1980’s and early 90’s, I met a musician who had just move into the ‘knife from Inuvik by the name of Jim Lawrance.  Older cat, about 15 years my senior, cool, respectful, hit it off good in sidewalk conversation so I called him up for a gig with a singer I was working with at the time.  He had no guitar, neither did I so I borrowed my brother’s Gibson Gospel for him.  We nailed the sound check, he wanted to hang around and play some more and as I was walking out of the hall, he cuts into a Willie Nelson tune that stopped me in my tracks.  Not only nailing Willie’s voice but the guitar parts as well.

Fast forward a few months, I got a call to bring something to the cultural showcase at that year’s Arctic Winter Games, 1988 I believe.  Gave Jim a call as I knew that he lead a band up in Inuvik and called Norman Glowach to play drums as well.  We hit the NACC stage with little or no rehearsal and had such a blast, we formed the Red Devil Rockin’ Blues Band (RDRBB).  RDRBB went on to play the taverns and saloons in town for the next decade or so with our irreverent punk blues sound, dipping into the Bo Diddley, Frank Zappa, Wilson Pickett and Otis Redding song books giving patrons permission to revel in an evening of drunken, hedonistic merriment strategically corresponding to the GNWT bi-monthly paydays.

Through those years, I was migrating back and forth between BC and NT and in my stead, the inimitable Ted Mildenberger filled in the bottom end to keep the RDRBB machine moving.

RDRBB, Ted, Norman and Jim

RDRBB, Ted, Norman and Jim (Bill Braden photo)

Jim was a teacher at the local high school through those years and retired around 2000 or so and moved to NB.  In the years since, he returns to YK to visit family and when he is in town, we wrangle a gig or two to get the band back together for one more kick at the can.  This past October, we had another such opportunity so booked ourselves into the Cellar for a Friday night.

RDRBB Cellar poster

RDRBB Cellar poster

With one rehearsal, if one could call it that, most of the time taken by the local reporter interviewing us for the newspaper.  It was an interesting experience as said reporter was younger than the years we had been playing, younger than most of the gear we were playing through so most if not all of our musical references were lost to one so young in the ears. The resulting newspaper article was superb and just what we needed to fill the house that night.

The trio launched into “Spoonful” for the first tune of the night and there was no doubt we were all bringing our “A” game and in the pocket from the first downbeat.  The rest of the night was pure musical bliss and joy, speaking for myownself.  It is a rare opportunity when I am let off my leash so to speak, as a Bassist, to play and interpret as I wish in an ensemble and I indeed relish each moment.

Here’s some shots from that evening and the shot of RDRBB with Ted, courtesy of my Bro, Bill Braden.

RDRBB (Bill Braden Photo)

 

RDRBB (Bill Braden photo)dscf2014

Read more...

15 Aug Posted by in Shows | 2 comments

Golden Garden concert, August 2016

It is a very rare occasion that I am asked to play a house concert.  I think I am getting better at it.  The intimacy can be intense but once I am into the set and find my zone, all seems to go swimmingly.

This past summer my daughter invited me to her new home in Golden BC for a week or so at the end of July.  My partner Laurie and I treated ourselves to the most excellent Peter Gabriel – Sting concert, “Rock. Paper, Scissors” show in Calgary then jumped the Greyhound into the Rockies the next morning.

My daughter had been planning for me to play a Garden concert in her backyard for the later part of the week. We rented a sound system the day of, set up the stage on the patio complete with thrift store fabric back panels.  The folks she had invited started to show up at around 7, about the same time as a sun shower rolled through, luckily, lightly and quickly.  The thunderstorms continued to roll around the valley and the outskirts of town but left us alone for the rest of the night.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Pre concert sun shower

welcome

Welcome

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Hi fidelity rainbow

 

I put in a solid set after what had been an extended absence from performing.  The garden listeners were engaged and seemed to appreciate what I was putting out.  It must have been one of the most recorded shows I have done in a long time.  My daughter, who recorded the show with 2 go pros and a DSLR camera and recorded onto her Zoom recorder.  She works with Muzza, another photographer for Heather Mountain Lodge and he was all over the place catching shots from different perspectives. These are his photos;

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

shack altar

Shack altar

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I always enjoy the post show discussions with the audience.  Almost always to complete strangers who will never meet again but both enjoy the moment of interaction.   As it got darker, Josh, another of my daughters co-workers, put in a spirited set of acoustic blues. The fire died down, the mosquitoes came out and we called it a night.

Read more...

10 Aug Posted by in Shows | Comments

New North Collective, May – August, 2015

New North Collective

Over the last few years, I have mentored under and worked with Debbie Peters and her booking / management company Magnum Opus Management (MOM). (www.magnumom.ca) In November 2014, Debbie called to ask if I would be interested in being a part of a pan-Territorial collective/collaborative music project.  The other artists in the project being Yukon artists Diyet and Robert Van Lieshout, Graeme Peters, Bob Hamilton, NWT artists Diga Wolf and myself and Nunavut artist Sylvia Cloutier.  The concept behind this collective being to create a live musical performance that would include all 3 territories to perform on theatre stages and at large events (sporting, festival) bringing a full palate of northern artists to audiences in one performance package.

To that end, we gathered in Whitehorse at the end of May, 2015 to start writing the show and spent 5, 10 – 12 hour days at Bob Hamilton’s Old Crow Recording studio.  At the end of that time, we had 6 songs, pretty much full musical arrangements with some rough lyrics and concept ideas.

Powered by Cincopa WordPress plugin

After 5 days, Diga and I returned back to Yellowknife, returning to Whitehorse in late June to finish writing the songs.  Diyet, Graeme, Zeus the cat and myself spent a day fleshing out lyrics for the songs and the next day, we were back at it in the studio for another 5 days to put together 2  45 minute sets for the Adaka Cultural Festival (http://www.adakafestival.ca/) which was happening while we were rehearsing, we performed an evening show on June 30 and nailed the sets.  So cool to be on stage with these fine musicians and to be playing material that we all wrote together a few short days before.

Powered by Cincopa WordPress plugin

Our next show was at the Para-Pan Am games, (Panamania) held in Toronto in August, 2015.  Our hotel was across the street from the venue at Nathan Phillips Square and we were treated to a few days of world class entertainment before our show on Monday evening.  I got to see Leela Gilday and her band peform, Tanya Tagaq and Toronto gospel group, 3 Winans Brothers. (http://3winansbrothers.com/) (This group had me in tears!)  We got together to rehearse with our newest member, Sylvia Cloutier at the “Ratspace” rehearsal/studio (http://www.ratspace.com/) on Sunday afternoon before the Monday gig.  Had a chance to talk with the owner/proprietor, Robin, about the Toronto music scene. Very cool to talk with a player who has been in the city for 30 – 40 years and being a part of all of the changes that have happened in that time.

Monday was shaping up to be a busy day, with some of the group doing media interviews and Leela and her band getting ready to play for their mid-day set.  I caught most of her dynamic set, bumped into my good friend Lesley Johnson in the middle of the square and headed back to the hotel to get ready for our own sound check.  I wasn’t really paying attention to weather but apparently at the tail end of Leela’s set, the heavens opened up and there was a tremendous downpour.  We met up in the lobby just before our sound check and there were all these very wet people walking around trying to dry out.  We learned that our sound check was postponed as there was a lightening watch in place in downtown Toronto and both of the Nathan Phillips Square stages were shut down as a result.  So, we waited and waited out the afternoon until 5 pm, our set was scheduled at 7.  We managed to squeeze in a 5 minute sound check, splashing through the saturated backstage area before Graeme had to run to the other stage for his set with “Speed Control”.  Then we waited and waited backstage as there had been another lightening alert and finally, we got on to play our set at about 7:30 to maybe 50 people brave enough to stand in the rain to catch our set.  It was a fine set, Sylvia’s mesmerizing and evocative dance and throat singing took the group to a beautiful place, in spite of the soggy weather.

Powered by Cincopa WordPress plugin

 

Read more...

20 Jul Posted by in Shows | Comments

with Iva & Jimmy D. Lane @ Folk on the Rocks, July 2015

Folk on the Rocks (FOTR) is the local Yellowknife festival that takes place on the 3rd weekend of July every year.  I would add rain or shine but it seems the weather gods favour this festival and for many consecutive years in a row, there has only been glorious sunshine.  The venue is a sand esker on the outskirts of town, just past the airport on the shore of Long Lake, so named because it is quite long.  Part of the festival is a series of Friday night warm up shows from festival acts in the local bars and in the park at city hall on the shore of Frame Lake, so named after Bill Frame, a local businessman and miner in Yellowknife’s early years.  But I digress.

FOTR has been running since 1980, so, 36 years now and without argument is the highpoint of the summer for local music fans.  I have performed at many, many of these festivals, I cannot say all, nor would I like to as I am already at this point in 2015, considered a musical “elder” by local press.  They sure know how to make a guy feel old!  Some years I am part of an ensemble that gets invited to play, some years I performed solo with Chapman Stick and for most years, I do all of the above as well as play sideman to a visiting artist or group.  Sometimes this happens as a result of a last minute personnel change and other times, I am asked to play with an artist who uses pick up rhythm sections where ever they play.  Such was the case when I was asked to back up a blues guitarist, Jimmy D. Lane for this years’ 2015 festival.

Jimmy D. Lane

When Keith MacNeill, the AD for FOTR contacted me about the gig, he asked if I could suggest any local drummers who might be up to the task. The drummer I suggested was not going to be in town for the festival so they hired drummer Patrick Singh from Whitehorse for the job.  I had met Patrick before but not Jimmy, Jimmy and Patrick had played together before in Whitehorse and we all finally met on Friday evening at the welcome BBQ about 3 hours before we were to hit the stage together, with no rehearsal.  Now this is not uncommon amongst blues men and women, the language and repertoire being familiar to most if not all players in the genre.  I love playing Blues but living in Yellowknife and not really playing Blues consistently 3 or 6 nights a week in the local saloons, my blues chops were pretty rusty.  Jimmy and Patrick were so cool and relaxed about it all, Jimmy was a real gentleman.  We hit the stage at the Top Knight and seriously rocked the joint, Jimmy blowing everyone’s minds with his playing.  Being a sideman in this situation is not new to me, still, I have to pay serious attention to the lead’s cues, so I am paying a lot of attention to what the cat is playing.  Jimmy would take a blues standard and in the solos, would switch guitar styles numerous times.  If I can explain, it was like he was turning the pages of the great blues guitar players anthology and playing in that style for 2 or 3 choruses and then with a quick flick of a switch or knob on his Stratocaster, would move onto another player’s style of playing.  It was almost spooky through the 3 sets I played with him that weekend, I was not the only one taking notice.  All of the other bands would show up at our stage to check him out, like there was some serious blues schoolin’ goin’ on.

It was a real pleasure and honour to play once again with what I consider an “old school” musician in the blues genre and really, most of these cats that are of that age and been playing for so long are real gentleman, very gracious to the musicians they work with and are passionate performers of the blues and consummate entertainers.  There is a professionalism in the craft, a working tradesman of any vocation in Jimmy D. Lane that I have admired and aspired to ever since I first started playing. So nice to get that hit, even if only once a year at FOTR.

Powered by Cincopa WordPress plugin

Iva

Also at this year’s festival, I was asked to perform with Kathleen Merritt, aka IVA from Iqaluit, NU.  I will not attempt to describe what Kathleen does, from her bio:

“Canadian Inuit throat-singer Kathleen Ivaluarjuk Merritt, also known as IVA (ee-vah) takes you on a journey through the Arctic with vocal interpretations of the wind, birds, landscape and sea. IVA performs a melodic mix of Inuit throat singing and poetry infused with Celtic-influenced folk music.  Her debut album Ivaluarjuk: Ice, Lines & Sealskin was released in July 2015. It celebrates life and identity; bridging sounds from both her Inuit and Irish roots. The music reaches a wide-range of sounds, crossing multiple genres that come together charmingly to transport audiences to the coasts of Cape Breton and Nunavut. For IVA, its home.”

I had met Kathleen before while she was working with the Alianait Festival ( http://www.alianait.ca/) and at other festivals.  As an artist, she struck me as very worldly in that she carried not only her own culture but also many others with her. Her youthful enthusiasm for music and performing was most refreshing and yet a times, challenging as a side player to tastefully and respectfully support her on stage.

I was also excited to learn that Kathleen was working with Ellen Hamilton and Chris Coleman from Iqaluit.  Ellen and Chris are both incredible songwriters and musicians who I met many years ago with their own group, “Nightsun”.

They arrived in Yellowknife on Friday evening and we had just enough time to squeeze in a rehearsal before my set with Jimmy D. Lane.  We met up in a very warm rehearsal space and pulled the set together very quickly.  Kathleen, Ellen and Chris are all pros in talent and attitude as well as gracious in that they brought with them a couple of Nunavut’s rising stars, Kerri Tattuinee and Agaaqtoq Eetak.  As much as you might think that fusing throat singing with east coast music is new, what these young players and writers were bringing to the table is yet the next generation of fusion of popular north American music re-interpreted from an Inuit perspective and language.  Kind of hard to articulate until you hear it.

We had 2 very sweet sets at the Folk on the Rocks festival.  Really, I just got a taste of the musical possibilities of what more I could contribute to Kathleen’s music if we had more time.  I only hope that we do get a chance to perform together again!

Powered by Cincopa WordPress plugin

Read more...

21 Jun Posted by in Shows | Comments

@ Annual Beer Barge Bash, June 2015, Yellowknife, NT

Every year, on the Saturday closest to June 21, the solstice and longest day of the year up here, the local Mining association throws a party in Old Town, at the Max Ward floatbase on the shore of Back Bay.  Max based Ward Air here in YK for a number of years before the company went on to fly internationally but Max still has a lodge a few miles out of town and every summer, he returns to it and uses the base for a few days.  So, getting back to the party, in days of old, before the highway was built back in ’61, all goods were transported to Yellowknife from the south by cat train across Great Slave Lake or by barge.  Yellowknife was thirsty town back then, still is, and one of the most celebrated of days was when the barge carrying a load of fresh beer landed.  So, the NWT Mining Heritage Society decided to resurrect this day of celebration by bringing in a tractor trailer of draft beer, cooking up hamburgers and hotdogs and hiring a band or two for the event.  To make things even more fun, they have a pool as to what time the barge will land at the dock and also have a prize for the best period costume.  By late afternoon, the crowd gathers in anticipation of seeing the barge slowly make its way up the bay, being pushed by local pilot, Dave Smith and usually with a bagpiper or two on the barge as well.  After the barge lands, well, the swilling of suds begins!

Powered by Cincopa WordPress plugin

I have played this gig off and on for a number of years, Drummer, Norman Glowach and myself backing up the very talented Tracy Riley and others for a night of dancing or what passes as dancing on the fist sized chunks of crushed gravel.  You can imagine, after a few large plastic cups of draft beer in the summer heat, the difficulty in navigating your way to the porta potties much less trying to show off your best moves on the dance floor (?)  But it is all part of the evening’s entertainment!

Powered by Cincopa WordPress plugin

This year, Tracy got the call for the gig and asked local Fiddling sensation, Andrea Bettger to co-headline along with Tracy’s friend Biz Oliver from either Victoria or Montreal, never got that straight, along with Norman and myself.  It was a magnificent warm, sunny summer day, by the time we took the stage, the sun was just beginning to dip in the western sky.  The stage we play on is the deck of the floatbase and it faces west, out onto Back Bay so the band really gets the best view of all.  As you can see from the pictures, taken somewhere between 9 and 11 PM, the sun is still very prominent and spending a few hours on that deck, the band comes away with a really healthy suntan afterwards.  That night, the band was on fire, ripping up the Motown, soul, reggae, rock and fiddle tunes like never before.  Everyone in the band brought their “A” game that night and it was so cool to have Biz working the piano and B3 behind the tunes.

Powered by Cincopa WordPress plugin

Photo credit to Tamara Latimer

Sure hope we get to do this one again!

Read more...

15 Mar Posted by in Shows | Comments

with Gordie Tentrees at Snowking Winter Festival

I got a call from my friend Gordie Tentrees asking me to join him and Bob Hamilton for a show at the Snowcastle and for a house concert here in YK in mid March.  I’ve known Gordie for a number of years, having met him through our dear mutual friend, the late great Aylie Sparkes.  Gordie and Aylie met up in the last years of Aylie’s short life and Gordie received all that Aylie could pass onto him in regards to the Blues.  I’ve always admired Gordie as a successful, relentless recording and international touring artist based out of Whitehorse, YT, no small feat as any northern based artist will attest.

The late, great Aylie Sparkes in furs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, Gordie sent me his tracks from his 6th release, “Less is More” and I was truly impressed with his growth as a song writer.  Over the last few years, Gordie has been touring and performing with some of the best, Steve Poltz among others and I think that really expedited Gordie as a songwriter and performer.  Couple that with the engineering / producing / plucking prowess of Bob Hamilton and a stellar band of musicians and you have a top shelf musical package!

Gordie and Bob arrived a couple of days early so we had lots of time to rehearse the tunes at the coast Hotel with a north facing view out onto Yellowknife and Back Bays and the vast expanse of snow, spruce trees, ice and rocks. As soon as I walked into the room, I immediately recognized the Dobro sitting in its case as the guitar Aylie played and passed onto Gordie.  Gordie had it completely rebuilt after Aylie passed and it sounded so good!  I was not the only one to recognize the guitar.  When we arrived for sound check at the Snow Castle, his highness, the Snowking himself, also recognized it right away.

IMG_3827

Bob, Snowking and Byron setting up soundcheck

IMG_3825

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The mid-March weather did not disappoint, -25 with a stiff 30 km wind that on the ice feels like it could strip flesh from bone.  Inside the Snowcastle, we were out of the wind but it was still very cold.  I came prepared with gloves with the fingertips cut out, except for the thumbs.  I think about half way through the set, we had almost given up trying to keep the guitars in tune, just trying to get through the set before our fingers froze.  The evening event was a double Bill featuring Yukon artists and we opened up for Ryan McNally, also from Whitehorse.  Bob’s son, Patrick was playing drums for Ryan that night and he and the band delivered a set of jump swing music which kept the hearty Yellowknife audience from freezing up.

IMG_3829

Ryan McNally and his band rockin’ the snow stage

IMG_3842

Patrick Hamilton in the drivers seat

The next evening, we performed a house concert for about a dozen folk at an apartment on the government dock here in Old Town.  It was warm inside and a warm audience as well.  A much more relaxed vibe that night where I learned a lot about stage craft from Gordie.

Aylie 1

The late, great Aylie Sparkes in lights

Here’s one more shot of Aylie

Read more...

05 Feb Posted by in Shows | Comments

NWT Days, “Winterlude”, Ottawa, Jan. 2015

Every couple of years, the Government of the NWT puts on a celebration/showcase in the nation’s capital of northern artists of all disciplines in a 3 day event at the Ottawa Convention Centre.  This event also coincides with high level government to government discussions and also with the “Winterlude Festival”.  Needless to say, there is a lot of activity going on in downtown Ottawa.

I was fortunate to be asked to participate in a couple of events, the first being to perform at a soiree in the Chateau Laurier for many dignitaries from across Canada along with Dene chanteuse, Leela Gilday and fiddling sensation, Wesley Hardisty for this event.  Wesley and I kicked off the night with a fiddle/Chapman Stick duo of traditional Metis fiddle music.  Next, Leela brought the house down with a repeat performance of a piece she debuted at the 2012 NAC event, “Northern Scene”, and then I took the stage to play everyone home with some ambient Stick tunes.  The ballroom was jam packed with exhibitions of northern artworks and video installations, the backdrop to the stage being a huge mural painted by renowned Yellowknife artist, Jen Walden.  The lighting and sound for this event was first class. All in all, one of the most high end gigs I have performed at.

@ Chateau Laurier, Jen Walden mural

The next day, we installed ourselves into the Ottawa Convention Centre for a 3 day run, each of us playing 3  one hour sets a day and on the Friday night, we were invited by “Winterlude” to perform on their outdoor stage at the festival site on the banks of the Rideau Canal.  I swear, it was easily 30 below that night.  I spent the 20 minutes before I went on, tuning and re-tuning my Stick outside, backstage so that it would not lose its tuning in my set.  There were maybe 75 to 100 brave souls out to catch our sets that night and my good friend John Lodge was there and caught this great shot of me.

at Winterlude 2015, John Lodge photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It took awhile to thaw out that night, the Saturday and Sunday sets at the convention centre went swimmingly.  It is a very relaxed atmosphere, with off time spent hanging with the other artists, catching a northern movie in the cinema, visiting with the many ex-pat northerners who passed through the exhibit that weekend.

fiddle stick with Wesley Hardisty

fiddle/stick with Wesley Hardisty, William Greenland photo

Canine ambassadors at NWT days

Pablo Saravanja and Camilla MacEachern, popcorn meisters

Read more...

12 Oct Posted by in Shows | Comments

with NWT Literacy Council / Peter Gzowksi Concerts for Literacy

10403868_10154692467235331_6966165330391938096_o

Every couple of years, the NWT Literacy Council brings the Peter Gzowksi Concerts for Literacy to Yellowknife.  Over the course of 3 days, visiting artists Connie Kaldor, Jonathon Torrens, Mike Stevens, Wesley Hardisty, Barney Bentall, Dustin Bentall, Kendall Carson and Russell deCarle went from the airport to a school workshop or two, to the theatre for sound check, to the radio station and back to the theatre for the performance that night.  The next two days, variations of the first day and then back on the airplane maybe back home.  These wonderful people and iconic Canadian artists worked incredibly hard for the cause of literacy and I was lucky enough to play some music with them over the course of three evenings.

Mike Stevens

Mike Stevens, NWT Literacy Council photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dustin Bentall and Kendall Carson

Dustin Bentall and Kendall Carson, NWT Literacy Council Photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mike Stevens, NWT Commissioner George Tuccaro and Russell deCarle

Mike Stevens, NWT Commissioner George Tuccaro and Russell deCarle at Aven Manor Seniors home, NWT Literacy Council photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This first part of Literacy week started with a feast in the village of Dettah, a 20 minute drive on the Ingraham Trail, on the east side of Yellowknife Bay.  Not all of the visiting artists had arrived but Jonathon, Connie and Mike were there along with NWT fiddler, Wesley Hardisty and our Yellowknife roots trio, “Cranberry Bannock”. ( Andrea Betger, Mike Filipowitsch and myself) The Dettah drummers blessed and opened the feast, “Cranberry Bannock” played while folks were eating, Literacy awards were presented by Commissioner George Tuccaro, Jonathon and other NWT Literacy staff.  Then we all took a turn for a short set on the stage, joined by William Greenland and Paul Andrew until the stew and coffee was cold and the kids tired out.  A wonderful way to start the week!

 

Dettah Sunset

Dettah Sunset

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dettah Community hall feast

Dettah Community hall feast

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dettah Drummers with Jonathon Torrens

Dettah Drummers with Jonathon Torrens

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The rest of the visiting artists arrived on Tuesday and stepped right into the above schedule.  We finally got a chance to meet at soundcheck, the council brought in a ton of food and we all put on one hell of a show!  Local artists Miranda Currie, Godson and Willy Mammoth (Al Bee, Andrea Betger, Mike Filipowitsch and myself) performed alongside the visiting artists on that first night. The grand finale being “The Weight” where everyone got their licks in with a smile on their face!

Russell, Jonathon and Barney (Bkgrnd: NWT Literacy Executive Director Michael Corbett

Russell, Jonathon and Barney (Bkgrnd: NWT Literacy Council Executive Director Michael Corbett, NWT Literacy Council photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finale!

Finale! NWT Literacy Council Photo

 

The second evening of performances included local artists, Indio and Diga Wolf with TJ Buggins playing alongside visiting artists. My friend Janet Pacey caught this fuzzy, pensive shot from the side of the stage that second night.  Thanks Janet!

in the zone

Read more...

25 Sep Posted by in Shows | Comments

with NACC, Ko’Ke Storytelling festival and tour, 2014

I was very pleased to be invited to perform at the Northern Arts and Cultural Centre (NACC) Ko’ke Storytelling festival this year.  I have performed at this festival over the last few years and it is always a challenging experience to develop new material to perform on the NACC stage and community stages in the South Slave region of the NT.  This year visiting artists Howie Miller (http://www.howiemiller.com/), Janet Rogers (http://music.cbc.ca/#!/artists/Janet-Rogers) and local tellers, Dëneze Nakehk’o, Lawrence Nayally, Leela Gilday and Paul Mckee all performing at the NACC on Saturday afternoon and evening to the best turnout I have seen.  Kudos to NACC for producing this Storytelling Festival over the last 10 years!

On Sunday morning, the storytellers split into 2 groups, Janet, Leela and Lawrence boarding the airplane for Norman Wells and Inuvik and Howie, Deneze, NACC road manager Treena Riles and myself boarding the NACC van for our drive to Hay River and Fort Simpson, (Liidli Kue).  Our drive to Hay River took about 7 hours with a stop in Fort Providence to dine on Buffalo burgers at the Big River truck stop.

The next morning, we went into the Diamond Jenness Secondary school for an assembly with the students there.  It was really good to have Deneze with us, he talks to young people in a most respectful way, not talking at or down to them and always positive, encouraging them to reach for more.  I could tell that Howie has done many of these presentations before, knowing the right story or joke, dropping the punch line at just the right time but with the same respectful and encouraging message.

Jennifer Houseman, Howie Miller, Dëneze Nakehk’o and Treena Riles

Jennifer Houseman, Howie Miller, Dëneze Nakehk’o and Treena Riles

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Howie Miller at Diamond Jenness

Howie Miller at Diamond Jenness

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10653817_10154625376560331_2968243529175148659_n

Dëneze Nakehk’o at Diamond Jenness

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That night, NACC sponsored a feast before the show and local Hay River storyteller, Vickie Latour joined Howie and I at the Riverview Theatre for again the best attended storytelling show I have seen in Hay River.

 

pre show feast at Riverview Theatre, Hay River, NT

pre show feast at Riverview Theatre, Hay River, NT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hnowie Miller on Riverview Theatre stage

Hnowie Miller on Riverview Theatre stage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday morning, we packed into the van again, took a quick stop at the Alexandra Falls for some photo ops and then the 5 hour drive to Fort Simpson or in the Slavey language, Liidli Kue, (place where rivers come together), stopping along the way at some of these most picturesque sites right along the Mackenzie Highway.

 

Deneze, Jennifer, Howie and Treena at Alexandra Falls

Deneze, Jennifer, Howie and Treena at Alexandra Falls

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wallace Creek

Wallace Creek

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We arrived in Fort Simpson (Liidli Kue) a wee bit road weary, enjoyed a wonderful evening with good food in excellent company at Deneze’s parents home and the next morning, stopped into the Thomas Simpson School to talk with the students there. Again, Deneze delivered an inspiring address to the students. He was raised in the community, attended Thomas Simpson school and referred to many of the basket ball banners hanging on the walls, telling the story of how the school basketball team had to make their own jerseys with T shirts and magic markers but still went on to take home the banner!

 

Deneze at Thomas Simpson School, Fort Simpson, NT

Deneze at Thomas Simpson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Howie at Thomas Simpson

Howie at Thomas Simpson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thomas Simpson students

Thomas Simpson students

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kids!

Kids!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That night, we enjoyed yet another feast followed by the performance at the Open Sky Gallery to a capacity audience with local teller Mary Jane Koyczan who told the most amazing Dene “Cinderella” story. Howie had the audience laughing pretty much non stop with his performance!

 

Open Sky Gallery

Open Sky Gallery

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Deneze at Open Sky Gallery

Deneze at Open Sky Gallery

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mary Jane Koyczan

Mary Jane Koyczan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next morning we packed up to head home bright and early which was a good thing because when we parked on the ferry to take us across the Liard river, a fog had settled in and we waited 2 hours before the fog lifted enough for us to cross. The drive back to Yellowknife included a stop at the Somba Deh Falls and of course another Buffalo burger at the Big River truck stop.

 

Somba Deh Falls

Somba Deh Falls

 

We reached Yellowknife in time for Howie and Jennifer to catch their flight back home, all of us very tired from the trip but as I call it, a “good tired”, knowing we had all done some very worthwhile work in the communities with the storytelling festival.

Read more...

15 Aug Posted by in Shows | Comments

at Yellowknife 2014 Pride Festival

For the second year in a row, I have played the Yellowknife Pride festival.  This year, I got to play there twice!

My good friend, Journalist extraordinaire, powerhouse Drummer, Iman Tandori Sizzler and the Pride crew of volunteers pulled together a wonderfully diverse 2 days of music and art.  I got to play a solo show there on a Saturday and then with “Willy Mammoth” on Sunday evening.

My solo set is made up of songs that I don’t get a chance to play much. They are a little more produced than the solo shows I do and the subject matter in the songs I describe as being “pointy”, kinda sharp, in your face reggae, burning slow blues or anthemic rock thing going on.  I enjoy creating backing tracks to these songs and performing them on stage knowing the audience is hearing what I hear in my head when writing and arranging these songs.  Much fun to be switching between Stick and Bass and singing through the whole set!

Man with Stick and wires!                                            James MacKenzie Photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next night I played with “Willy Mammoth”, a project band my friends Mike Filipowitsch, Al Bee and Andrea Betger and I put together this past year. Tons of fun learning cover songs and getting out to play a few gigs. This 2014 Pride festival being one of them!

 

14855440546_e1189d95e9_z

Mike Filipowitsch, Andrea Betger                                                                               James MacKenzie Photo

 

 

 

14691818888_6c8eda4a16_z

Me                                                                                                 James MacKenzie Photo

 

14691818118_7212750c46_z

Al Bee                                                                                           James MacKenzie Photo

14878081112_e31e771dd2_z

Pride Stage                                                                                 James MacKenzie Photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you to James MacKenzie for allowing me to post these awesome pictures! For more pictures of Pride festival 2014, go to James’ flickr page at:

https://www.flickr.com/search?sort=relevance&text=yellowknife%20pride%20

Read more...