J.P. Cormier | Daniel Lapp
MEL LEHAN HALL AT ST. JAMES i
3214 West 10th Ave, Kitsilano
Accessible All ages
Nobody really knows who J.P. Cormier is for sure. That’s to be expected, believe me. In 1974 he was a five year old boy, discovering an innate talent for playing the guitar. He learned faster than he could be taught.
By the mid-eighties, not out of his teens, he was a sideman for bands and artists of many different genres in Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi, and all across the deep south. As he travelled and worked he added more and more instruments to his arsenal of capabilities. He became indispensable to the bands he worked for. In the early nineties, he became a sideman for one of Canada’s favourite sons, Stompin’ Tom Connors and also became a staple of the recordings at Studio H in Halifax. His work with the CBC there, spanned musical, production and arranging duties. All this before he was 20.
In the mid nineties he reentered the musical scene of his beloved East Coast and the Island called Cape Breton. He exploded onto the trad music scene there as a fiddler, performing some of the most difficult music ever produced by legends like Winston Fitzgerald and Angus Chisholm with a facility that stunned onlookers. Especially those who knew he wasn’t born there, but born in Ontario to Cape Breton parents. Somehow, some way, his music was the real thing, sounding like he had been steeped continually in a handed-down brew of family tradition from the old country. Nothing could be further from the truth.
His previous gig was in Nashville playing mandolin and banjo in a grammy nominated bluegrass gospel band and performing on the Opry, and playing television shows with the likes of Waylon Jennings. All those people also thought he was one of them, reared in the ways of bluegrass, old time and Americana music. They knew he was from Canada, but it just didn’t seem possible.
Then in 1997, something amazing happened. An album released in Canada, out of nowhere, called 'Another Morning'. This time it was him as a songwriter and a lead singer. And what a songwriter he turned out to be. Some of the performances on that album are literally part of the musical vocabulary today in the East Coast. Songs like the title cut, and Kelly’s Mountain, The Molly May (co written with his cousin Gervais) and others. It inspired, 25 years ago, some of the biggest names in the business today. People like Dave Gunning, Matt Andersen, David Myles, Joel Plaskett, all of which will tell you: that record changed things.
The Canadian industry thought so too, and it received a Juno nomination and won an ECMA. And that was just the beginning. 36 years later after stepping on stage as professional union musician for the first time at the tender age of 13, JP is still going, and frighteningly, still getting better.
16 albums followed the success of 'Another Morning', winning 12 more ECMA’s, another Juno nomination, a Canadian Folk Music Award and 5 Music Nova Scotia Awards. Each album was a snapshot of each thing that he can do. There are fiddle albums, Mandolin, Banjo, Guitar, tribute records, songwriting collections, a purely astounding spectrum of talent and musical vision.
His catalogue of recordings and the 150 or so records he’s produced on other artists, resemble the tapestry he weaves in live performance. People still leave his shows confused, amazed and wondering what they just saw. Did they see a storyteller? A songwriter? Arguably one of the best guitar players in the business today? Someone who crosses the lines between different instruments like there are no lines? Who was that masked man, anyway?
Accolades aside - and there are many from people like Chet Atkins, Marty Stuart, Waylon Jennings and Gordon Lightfoot - JP sees himself as just a performer. He’s shy, but has a razor sharp wit and lightning sense of humour. He can be reserved or edgy to the point no return. He speaks for soldiers, first responders, other artists, the forgotten and lost. He speaks sometimes only for himself and refuses rebuttal.
Of all the things he is, foremost he is an entertainer. One of the best. After you’ve seen what he does, we're certain you will too.
Born in Prince George, Daniel was the youngest son in a family where music was a natural part of life. With a grandfather, five uncles and his mother Charlotte all playing fiddle and a bevy of accordion playing aunts, family get-togethers always included good music.
His mother had accompanied her fiddling/farming father and uncles at old-time fiddle dances across Alberta since she was ten. She was also the local piano teacher, so Daniel grew up with regular classical piano and violin lessons which years later he was grateful for… as she’d told him he would be one day. Those lessons and sessions turned out to be more important than even a proud mother might have dreamed. In the years since, Daniel has become the best-known and most influential fiddlers in British Columbia, if not in all of Canada.
They’ve taken him from coast to coast to coast in Canada, as well as Ireland, England, Scotland, Wales, Finland and Germany. He has performed with symphony orchestras and at global events like the 1994 Commonwealth Games in Victoria, EXPO 2000 in Germany and the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games opening ceremonies. He’s played on over 100 albums, working and touring with artists including Spirit of the West, Rickie Lee Jones, Barney Bentall, Mae Moore, Beth Orton and Kathryn Tickell.
As a fiddler, jazz trumpeter and singer/composer, Daniel performs regularly with his band Lappelectro, a west-coast based 'jazz electronica' quartet and in Bowfire, an ensemble of eleven diverse fiddlers. One of his latest projects is Polkastra, directing a bunch of brilliant New York classical musicians who have decided they want to play the polka. As Daniel puts it “I am always happy to share the polka experience”. He’s also a regular feature at the Celtic Colours Festival in Cape Breton and Celtic Connections in Glasgow.
It’s the kind of musical life young musicians dream of when they’re playing their scales for the umpteenth time…but wait, there’s more!
Knowing there was vast repertoire of little-known original BC fiddle tunes out there, he set out to collect them in 1990 and a year later was invited to perform some of the 1,000 tunes he’d found at the University College, Cork in Ireland, during the Fiddlesticks Festival.
Inspired by his grandfather, in 1990 he began offering fiddle lessons in Victoria and less than five years later he and the BC Fiddle Orchestra – a dozen young fiddlers from around British Columbia and their backup band – were onstage in front of 60,000 people at the Commonwealth Games.
He’s founder and president of the Victoria Fiddle Society and founder of the House of Music in Victoria BC. The Daniel Lapp’s House of Music Society was a longtime dream, inspired again by his grandfather and is home to 20 different violin and fiddle teachers on board.
The energy to create such a rich, meaningful musical life can only come from a passionate love of music and being witness to the kind of profound changes it can make in people’s lives, young and old. It’s clear in all of Daniel’s work, but never clearer than when you hear him play.
Environmental Initiative: Like many organizations, the Rogue is concerned about the environment. We are doing our best to separate and recycle wherever we can. We use compostable cups at all shows, and charge 25 cents for all cups (beer, wine and coffee). We encourage people to reuse their cups if they return to the bar for another beverage. We also invite you to bring your own cup or glass. Beer drinkers can choose to consume right out of the can. These may seem like small things, but they are an important contribution to cleaning up our planet.
The Rogue Folk Club is pleased to provide great Sponsorship Opportunities for all our shows. For a nominal cost, individuals or businesses can sponsor any of our shows and reap a number of benefits - free tickets, reserved table, recognition on literature, our web site and at the concerts. For more information simply contact our Sponsorship Director Morris Biddle at firstname.lastname@example.org