Steve's Blog
Tuesday April 20, 2010

Keep in Touch

There are two ways you can receive these updates automatically:

Hi everyone

Le Vent Du Nord

Tomorrow night's concert with Le Vent Du Nord has been cancelled. The band is stranded in Europe due to the massive amount of flight cancellations arising from the Icelandic volcano. Right now it does not look as though we will be able to reschedule a show. They will be appearing at several local festivals over the summer, though, and we hope to bring them back for a show next year. If you have purchased tickets already we can issue a refund - or you might like to transfer your credit to another concert. If you bought a ticket at Highlife or Rufus' then please obtain your refund from them.

Last Weekend

We had a phenomenal weekend, starting with Matt Andersen and Wil on Thursday (seems like a very long time ago now!) Then came Oysterband on Friday, and another great show. Sorry about the delay in letting everyone in. Their sound engineer was reluctant to start the sound check until we had located a missing power cable for the bass amp. We thought he should have started the drum check, but bands with their own sound engineers can be rather fussy sometimes, and it's not something over which we have any control. We offer a huge vote of thanks to Prussin Music for the loan of the equipment for their rider. That was extremely generous, and saved us a considerable amount of money.

Friday night into Saturday morning was mad! I got home late from the show - around 1am. Then I had to plan a radio show - plus a guest appearance on CBC. That took another hour or more. I then programmed the DVD recorder to record the Manchester "derby" soccer match, but by then it was less than 2 hours to kick off, and I closed my eyes and surrendered to the comfort of the sofa. Woke up in time to watch the match, but had trouble staying awake. 0-0 until injury time, at which point I sat up to watch the last 3 minutes. My team (United) scored with 15 seconds left. I was so happy! Flew into the shower and then got dressed and zoomed off to CBC still flying! Had fun on NXNW and then zoomed off to CiTR for my own show. As I feared, I hit "the wall" about half way through, but a large refill of coffee saw me through till noon. Then it was off to the liquor store, the office and the bank and then home for a power nap. Then back to St. James Hall at 4:30 for April In Paris part one.

Sadly, all our "leads" for finding teachers for the Swing Dance workshops on Saturday and Sunday fell through. If you know anyone who can give a brief introductory swing dance workshop this coming Saturday at 7:30pm at the hall, please let me know. It would be great if you could ask them first, and they can then contact me.

April In Paris - Parts I & II

Our 4th annual festival of Gypsy Jazz got off to a great start with a very cool set from Seattle's Pearl Django - I especially like the accordion. A very appropriate sound of the roots of Gypsy Jazz in the French Bal Musette tradition. Then came the powerhouse quartet Caravan, with Daniel Lapp (fiddle, trumpet) trading solos with Marc Atkinson (guitar) over the driving rhythms of Chris Frye (guitar) and Joey Smith (bass.) Wonderful stuff!

On Sunday we kicked off with Van Django Swing Dance Quintet. Unfortunately we didn't have any volunteers for the first hour or so, but Margaret and I coped until reinforcements arrived. The dancing was great, but the weather forecast proved decidedly useless. We were expecting rain. It was gloriously sunny, so not surprising that so few people ventured indoors. Too bad. You missed a great set. Over 100 minutes of swing tunes played by an exceptional band.

The evening concert commenced with Deanna Knight & The Hot Club Of Mars - with Michael Dunn showcasing his gorgeous new resophonic guitar. Deanna was in fine form, and the band played really well. Then came the magnificent John Jorgenson Quintet. We had been stymied when the Georgia Straight decided to drop the interview with him at the last minute. We had counted on that piece being in the current issue. Instead we found a big interview and colour photo of Matt Andersen, whose shows here and in Maple Ridge had been sold out for weeks. To have someone of John Jorgenson's standing arrive in town with his latest band for the very first time - and for the city's leading entertainment weekly to ignore it altogether was both insulting to the artist and a huge let down to the potential audience (not to mention a costly show for us). John is certainly one of the top 5 swing guitarists on the planet, and definitely America's premier Gypsy Jazz guitar player (not to mention his country rock years with the Desert Rose Band, his metal years with The Hellecasters, six years touring as Elton John's lead guitarist, and his amazing versatility - he played bouzouki and clarinet on Sunday as well). I only hope we can persuade him to come back. If we do, don't miss him (and that goes for you, Georgia Straight, as well!)

Shore 104

Over the course of those four shows we were able to provide around 1,000 people with some exceptional entertainment. Thank you for your support. And a huge Thank You to Shore 104.3fm for making the Matt Andersen show possible. Their support of our concert series is vital. Their commitment to Canadian music - especially to emerging performers - is exemplary. And their radio programming is superb. Definitely the best I've heard in over 40 years of listening to radio in Europe and Canada (and elsewhere) in all that time. Check them out if you haven't done so already.

Rogue Folk Review

I'm working on the May issue, and hope to have it out by the weekend. Realistically, it might be next week before it goes into the mail. Mailing party will be some time over the weekend - or Monday at the latest. I'll keep you posted. Meanwhile, check out the new look website for up to the minute concert information.

April In Paris - Part III

Our next show is on Saturday April 24th at 8pm. We have workshops on Gypsy Fiddle and Gypsy Jazz Guitar in the afternoon. Just bring your instrument (and $30 for each one-hour session you plan to attend). If you could let us know in advance, we'd have a better idea of how many chairs to set up and the instructors could be better prepared as well. Let me stress here that these are unique opportunities to learn from some of the masters of gypsy jazz. You might not know much about the genre now, but you will learn a lot in a short time. You may already be an accomplished musician, but you would be amazed how much you can learn in these sessions.

5:15pm - fiddle workshop with Romanian violin virtuoso Lache Cercel

5:30pm - gypsy guitar workshop with Roma Swing's Don Ogilvie

6:45pm - lead guitar workshop with Budge Schachte of Van Django.

7:30pm - Swing Dance lessons - if we can find an instructor. PLEASE HELP us to find one (or two)

8:00pm Concert / Dance with Van Django string quartet, followed by Lache Cercel & Roma Swing Ensemble, with four gypsy dancers, three chanteuses, a guest accordion player, and more. So much more. Lache plays the roots of gypsy jazz in Romanian and Romany music, and brings it all up to date as well. We promise you a feast for the ears, eyes, feet, and other parts.

A request

We are looking for a lamp or something similar that we can use to represent a gypsy campfire on stage. Something electric which delivers a flame effect, and yet doesn't look like a domestic fireplace or wood stove. We are also looking for large pictures of either a gypsy caravan / roulotte, or a Parisian street scene that we could hang on the stage. This might not be possible, but if you do have such items, PLEASE let me know. It will all add to the magic of the occasion.

That's it for now. Hope to see you on Saturday.