Happy Spring / Norooz! There is a lot to take in here, folks. I've listed these events - some of which are not Rogue events per se; just ones we think you will enjoy - chronologically, with my radio show listed at the end. Please bear with me!
1. The Rogue's Covid Policy Update
After much research and deliberation - and above all, in the interests of the safety of our audience and staff, volunteers and performers - The Rogue will continue to make the wearing of masks mandatory when not seated (and masks are recommended at all times inside the venue). In addition, we will continue to limit our capacity to 70%, and we will also continue to require vaccine passports for EVERYONE entering the venue. Even though the Province will cease this requirement on April 8th we do not believe that is a sensible move for our particular concert series. Covid is far from over, and seems to be spreading like wildfire in all jurisdictions which have lifted restrictions lately. All over the world, in fact! We think BC may well have to reinstate some of these restrictions. The sooner the better, methinks! Meanwhile, we at The Rogue will continue to do our utmost to keep the music flowing - and to keep everyone as safe as we possibly can. (Remember, we also offer live streaming of all our shows for those who don't wish to attend in person.)
2. Celticfest Vancouver, Saturday March 19th (11am to 9pm) & Sunday March 20th (11am to 6pm)
This is a free festival on the Art Gallery Plaza on Georgia Street, featuring many local performers, including Early Spirit, The Long Drop, Blackthorn, Pat Chessell Band, and Cannery Row; as well as Irish singer songwriters Dani Larkin, and Odhran Murphy. (Sadly, we had a great deal of difficulty finding an affordable and practical venue for the concert we had hoped to present with these two fine singers, and we were also subject to some Covid self-isolation measures, which made that show even less feasible. Dani and Odhran both hail from Co. Armagh, and are coming to Vancouver courtesy of a grant from Culture Ireland. We recommend you check them out!)
Click here for full details of this year's events.
3. Qalandar & Vashaan, Sunday March 20th, 8pm, Mel Lehan Hall (3214 West 10th Avenue)
Two excellent bands celebrate Norooz - the Persian New Year - or call it the Vernal Equinox if you prefer. The personnel of these bands is quite similar, but their repertoires are quite different! Qalandar features outstanding musicians Gord Grdina on oudh, Ali Razmi on vocals and setar (a Persian lute), and Kenton Loewen on percussion. Qalandar melds traditional Persian music with free improvisation. The group performs traditional pieces as well as contemporary compositions. The music is virtuosic and imbued with fire, yet the aesthetic is quite delicate and lyrically moving. Each musician is a master in his own right but hold the ideals of deep personal interpretation and interplay supreme.
These three will be joined by Fathieh Honari on vocals and Reza Honari on kamanche (an ancient Persian fiddle) to form Vashaan. Gathering together some of the finest classically trained Persian musicians in Canada, the Vashaan Ensemble draws upon Iran’s rich musical past to perform joyful and memorable Persian traditional songs. The Vashaan Ensemble present lost melodies and unfamiliar musical styles of Southeastern Iran to demonstrate how rich and cheerful Iranian traditional music can be.
Click here for tickets and information on this enthralling concert.
This show is part of The Rogue's Roots & Heritage Concert Series, presenting music from many different cultures in BC's rich mosaic, and brought to you by a generous grant from Canadian Heritage. Further shows in this series include Ukrainian band Zeellia (March 25th), the Blues & Indian Ragas of Harry Manx (March 27th), The Beatles Rooftop Concert Reimagined (March 28th), Cuban-Canadian duo Okan with Las Estrellas (May 9th), and Yukon's indigenous singer Diyet & The Love Soldiers (May 14th)
4. Zeellia, Friday March 25th, 8pm, Mel Lehan Hall (3214 West 10th Avenue)
Born out of the Ukrainian cultural revival that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union, nurtured during Vancouver’s global music “golden age” in the early 90s, and recently revived in conjunction with a renewed fight to protect Ukrainian independence, Vancouver’s Slavic Soul band Zeellia has been at the forefront of a global Ukrainian cultural renaissance for more than 30 years. Founded in 1991 by Beverly Dobrinsky as a means to celebrate her musical roots, Zeellia is currently a quintet of 3 female vocalists and 4 instrumentalists—accordion, violin, bass and hurdy gurdy. They weave a mystical spell singing and playing Slavic folksongs and dances from Ukraine, the Balkan and Baltic States, and the Canadian prairies. This is Slavic Soul music, rooted in the traditional with a contemporary edge, connecting the past with the present and the old country with the new. For this concert in support of our brothers and sisters in Ukraine facing the horror of war, Zeellia will be performing an all Ukrainian repertoire.
Click here for tickets and information.
Support Ukraine! All ticket sales go to support Ukraine. Buy tickets. Listen to the music and songs of this unique culture. Help them fight "Vlad The Invader".
5. Harry Manx, Sunday March 27th, 8pm, Mel Lehan Hall (3214 West 10th Avenue)
Canadian blues with soul and some Indian ragas - and a whole mess of strings! Saltspring Island's Harry Manx last played a Rogue gig in 2001 (although he did perform once at Shorefest and has played several times at Cap's Global Rootsseries since then.) He delivers a unique groove, blending the exotic sounds of the mohan vina and its sympathetic strings, with banjo, cigar-box guitar, and slide. We are delighted to be able to bring him back! This show will sell out so book right here and now to avoid disappointment!
6. The Wahs, Monday March 28th, 8pm, Mel Lehan Hall (3214 West 10th Avenue)
Local faves from Van Django (Cam Wilson on fiddle and Brent Gubbels on acoustic bass), Mad Pudding (Andy Hillhouse on guitar and vocals, and Allen Dionne on accordion) join the soulful vocal stylings of LJ Mounteney, and the earthy groove of Dave Gibbons' vocals and guitar to celebrate The Beatles and the legacy of the Rooftop Sessions with totally reimagined versions of some classic Beatles anthems!
Click here for tickets and more info.
7. Festival du Bois, Friday April 1st - Sunday April 3rd, Mackin Park, Coquitlam
Flaunt your Frenchness as this popular festival resumes after a two year absence in Coquitlam's Mackin Park. The McDades - superb Canadian Celtic quartet from BC, Quebec and Alberta - are my personal pick of the bill. Other artists include Jocelyn Pettit Band, Locarno, Le Winston Band, Alpha Yaya Diallo, and The North Shore Celtic Ensemble. It's going to be beaucoup de fun! More details
8. April in Paris, Friday April 8th, 8pm, Mel Lehan Hall (3214 West 10th Avenue)
Brilliant Victoria guitarist Quinn Bachand brings his excellent gypsy jazz quartet Brishen back to The Rogue as we revive our Parisian-themed celebration of music inspired by the legacy of Django Reinhardt. The other half of this abbreviated festival classic features Parisian chanteuse Ella Ozz (below) and The Wizards of String (with members of Vancouver's wonderful Hot Club of Mars including: Michael Dunn and Don Kellett on guitars, and Mark "Windgod" Dowding on saxophones and flute).
More French flaunting, anyone? Pourquoi pas? French wine and baguette sandwiches at the ready! Berets optional. Click here to buy your tickets.
9. The Fretless, Saturday April 9th, 8pm, Mel Lehan Hall (3214 West 10th Avenue)
This superb Canadian Celtic stringband features fiddlers Trent Freeman and Ben Plotnick, violist Karnell Sawatsky and cellist Eric Wright. They are touring in support of their newest CD, Open House, which sets a wide range of songs to their unique musical accompaniment with ten guest singers from across North America and Europe. This show will mostly feature their amazing arrangements on instrumental medleys, but they do promise to have a guest singer or two to join them. Only one way to find out who ....
The hot ticket for this cool show can be found here
10. Stephen Fearing, Friday April 15th, 8pm, Mel Lehan Hall (3214 West 10th Avenue)
Our "mystery guest" is none other than the brilliant Stephen Fearing, a founder member of The Rogue, who returns for a long-awaited "evening with". Stephen is one of the most accomplished songsmiths on the planet, and he's a heck of a great guitarist too. Click on this Stephen Fearing link to find the event listing to enable you to witness the return of this founding father of Roguery!
11. Hornby Blues, Thursday April 28th, 8pm, Mel Lehan Hall (3214 West 10th Avenue)
Another returning annual feature is our celebration of the Hornby Island Blues Workshop where we bring in a few of the guest instructors to perform a unique concert on the BC Mainland. This year Vancouver's fretboard wizard Paul Pigat will be joined by Calgary-based bluesman Tim Williams, and the mercurial soulful blues musician Brandon Isaak (above) from Yukon. Come hear three of Canada's finest blues singers and pickers, in the round, in the groove, and outasight. Get down at The Rogue House! For tickets and more information, click here
12. Martyn Joseph, Friday April 29th, 8pm, Mel Lehan Hall (3214 West 10th Avenue)
The ever-popular Welsh troubadour, Martyn Joseph, returns to The Rogue with a great new CD, 1960, for an evening of inspiration and powerful song. He last played here on the first day of "lockdown" in 2020. We're all still here, and waiting to be inspired once again, Mr. J. Tickets are going fast! Click here to hear the good word!
13. Early Spirit, Friday May 6th, 8pm, Mel Lehan Hall (3214 West 10th Avenue)
The Canadian Celtic / Jazz quartet Early Spirit celebrate the release of their excellent second CD, The Hollow Tree. Led by Spirit of the West founding member Jay Knutson and fiddler extraordinaire Gabriel Dubreuil, Early Spirit introduce their new bassist Aidan Goheen, and the sound is anchored by drummer Ben Kelly. Tickets for this fun show can be purchased here.
14. Okan & Las Estrellas, Monday May 9th, 8pm, Mel Lehan Hall (3214 West 10th Avenue)
Okan, the award-winning Canadian / Cuban duo stars Havana-born, classically-trained violinist Elizabeth Rodrigues and Santiago de Cuba's orchestral percussionist Magdelys Savigne. They are both former members of Canadian sax player Jane Bunnett's Maqueque Cuban jazz ensemble, and now bring their own hot band to make their Rogue debut. Their latest CD, Espiral, won a Juno for Best World Music Album. Rightly so! We are thrilled to be able to bring them to The Rogue for our Roots & Heritage Series!
Opening for them will be Vancouver's unique and enthralling all-female mariachi band, Las Estrellas! Muy caliente!! Tickets and more information right here.
15. Diyet & The Love Soldiers, Saturday May 14th, 8pm, Mel Lehan Hall (3214 West 10th Avenue)
We conclude our Roots & Heritage series with a new date for indigenous singer Diyet & The Love Soldiers. Diyet was born in a tent and spent her childhood on the ancestral lands of the Kluane First Nation in Yukon Territory. Coming from a family rooted in traditions but tempered with a good sense of adventurous hippie attitudes, Diyet has created a musical presence that is as diverse as her Southern Tutchone, Tlingit, Japanese, and Scottish heritage. The Love Soldiers' music is alternative country, folk, roots and traditional with catchy melodies and stories deeply rooted in Diyet’s Indigenous world view and northern life. She sings in both English and Southern Tutchone (her native language) and plays bass guitar. She is backed by husband and collaborator, Robert van Lieshout (acoustic guitar, drums & percussion) and Juno Award winning producer, Bob Hamilton (electric guitar, pedal steel & mandolin).
Here is the link for tickets.
16. Jim Byrnes, Friday May 20th, 8pm, Mel Lehan Hall (3214 West 10th Avenue)
Originally scheduled for a January show, which was pre-empted by omicron, this is a new date for Jim Byrnes, the Vancouver blues music icon, and his amazing backing band. If you have tickets for the original show, we will honour them. if you don't, then come along for the ride by picking up a ticket from our website. You will be in for a musical treat, blending traditional blues and R&B classics, with original songs and Jim's unique stories of a life of music - and drama. Tickets available right here.
17. The Small Glories, Friday June 10th, 8pm, Mel Lehan Hall (3214 West 10th Avenue)
Another show originally planned for January, the award-winning Winnipeg folk duo The Small Glories (Cara Luft and J D Edwards) have rearranged their tour to come back to The Rogue for an entertaining and very moving concert of folk songs from the Prairies and our own backyard. Great harmonies, easy going humour, and wonderful stories are the hallmarks of this fine duo. They will have a bunch of new songs for us, too. Once again, we will honour your tickets if you purchased them for the January show. This is the ticket link for the rest of you good folks.
18. Radio Waves
The Saturday Edge On Folk is coming your way real soon! Please tune me in and turn me on this and every Saturday from 8am to noon on www.citr.ca to hear folk, roots and world music from these fine performers and lots of new and themed music from all around the globe - and from my ever-expanding music library - too!