Wicked Grin Believes the Blues Can Help Good People in Bad Times

When MUSICAlive! first learns about Murray Kinsley’s guitars for the blues-rock mix of Wicked Grin’s latest album, it’s pretty encouraging!
“I use a Fender Telecaster modified Thinline (and) I call it the ‘Frenken-Tele’ that’s the modified part); I have a 61 Strat that I used on it, and a

From the Beauty to the Pragmatics of Performance: Karl Hirzer and the Calgary Philharmonic

MUSICAlive caught up with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra’s newest Associate Conductor, Karl Hirzer. After some back and forth, the conversation started with the absolute basics.
“What is your job as a conductor?” we ask.

Bebe Buckskin’s Family Feeds her Roots-Rock Creative Fire

When MUSICAlive! and musician Bebe Buckskin begin their interview, they start at the very beginning.

“I basically came out of the womb singing,” Bebe says, leading them both into laughter. “My poor mother!”
The question that prompted this was, “Why are you doing this stuff?” When the laughter dies down, Bebe elaborates.

Steven Taetz Expands His, And Our, Jazz-Pop Horizons

Steven Taetz is wandering through the streets of Toronto while we talk, going from one place to another as songwriters are inclined to do anyway: moving from one inspirational situation to another to meet the needs of their musical craft. In Steven’s case, having done time in the electronic dance and country/roots genres, we ask him what he would call the music he’s bringing to

Harpdog Brown: Real Name, Real Life, Real Blues

When Harpdog Brown answers his phone in Vancouver, a month before he arrives on tour here at Calgary’s Ironwood Stage and Grill, he declares, “You’re a minute early!” And then laughs when I offer to call back 60 seconds later. So begins the storied conversation with this 35 year veteran of Canada’s blues scene.

Roberto López’s Afro-Colombian Guitar: ‘It is all about the groove….’

Roberto López was one of the surprises of Calgary’s 2018 Folk Music Festival. Born and raised in Colombia, living in Montreal, his website describes his music style as modern Latin music with hip arrangements. Under Colombian grooves he unabashedly adds jazz, funk and electronic music to the mix.

Mariel Buckley is Driving in the Dark: Her Country Family Helps her Steer

Some accidents are not only happy, they are positively confounding. Witness MUSICAlive! popping down to a Stampede breakfast to Hear a Calgary country favourite of ours, Tim Buckley, play on the mall, and meeting the similarly talented Mariel Buckley (his sister), also singing and playing some sweet alt-country guitar. And then, when visiting the Calgary

500 and Counting: The adventures of Damon and his ProArts Society

Well, now we know why Damon Johnston of the ProArts Society resonates so much with the work MUSICAlive! does: he’s been involved in many of the projects that have helped form the Calgary arts scene in the last 30 years. He’s part of our musical DNA, from Decidedly Jazz Danceworks, Dancers’ Studio West, the seminal 10 Foot Henry’s nightclub (from which today’s

The Once Play With Your Musical Expectations: Is it Folk, or Pop, or Indie or . . .

It occurs to MUSICAlive! afterwards that we never asked Geraldine Hollet, lead singer for The Once, the significance of the band’s name. Sure, “once” is an adverb meaning “on one occasion”, or “for one time only”; but as a noun it becomes capitalized as their bandname and means “a Newfoundland-based folk-pop trio who have been combining 3-part harmonies and acoustic guitar and keyboards to confound

Mick Flannery’s Ambition: Blues Folk Diversity

Mick Flannery’s Facebook page says that he bridges the gap between folk and blues rock. Well, he doesn’t fit in a box, that’s for sure. Still working as a stone mason, he’s touring all over the world as an artist: Canada this summer; Ireland in September; New Zealand and Australia later this year.

Joshua Jones meets The Esther Honens: The Percussionist and the Pianos

In their efforts to expand the diversity and reach of the piano competition performances, the Honens stretched it’s possibilities in 2012 with Bison Noir (a nod to New York’s cool, adventurous Le Poisson Rouge). Here’s what Honens says:

Newfoundland has a Sound Symposium: A Place to Play with Sound

“I am the Artistic Co-director of the Sound Symposium. I’m also the host: I will be hosting most, if not all, of the evening concerts, and some of the earlier concerts; I may be introducing some of the workshops; I will be performing with 2 bands that I play with. And I might even be singing with my improv choir: I direct an improv choir, and there’s discussion underway now to have the improv choir involved in Improv Night, which is a night where artists and members of the general public (if they wish) can get up on stage and improvise.”

Ohama Can: Music, Sounds, Images, The Whole Ambient Kaboodle

Attending an “80’s and 90’s” dance party on Saturday was an interesting experience: while the music was definitely from the correct era, the DJ had clearly NOT been in dance clubs at that time, as the late 20th Century music had been mixed with an early 21st Century sensibility. Beat-mixing 80’s hits like Michael jackson, Amii Stewart or the Pointer Sisters together without the songs’ opening or closing sequences never occurred in 1980’s

Xenia Concerts: A New Way to Listen?

Sarah Nematallah is a violinist in the Cecilia String Quartet, and she and her ensemble are also the founders of Xenia Concerts Inc., for which she is the executive and artistic director. Her performance experience is not limited to the expected carpeted venues, that’s for sure:
“Throughout my career as a violinist, I’ve had the opportunity of performing in incredible concert halls all over the world: in Berlin, in A

FOONYAP Talks, We Listen: Alternative Music Doesn’t Have to be Frightening!

“A ‘palimpsest’ is a manuscript in which traces of the original can be found, and through performance, I rewrite my emotional scripts.” – FOONYAP
In a normal precursor to the interview, MUSICAlive! asks Calgary-born alternative musician FOONYAP to tell us what instruments she played on her debut

From the Great Lakes to the Amazon River with the Third Coast Percussion Ensemble

When MUSICAlive! asks David Skidmore of the Third Coast Percussion Ensemble what instruments he’ll be playing when they premiere their “Paddle to the Sea” performance in Calgary (8:00 pm, April 8 at the Rozsa Centre), he goes on, and on, and on . . . listing 16 different instruments!

Flamenco: The Blues of Spain in Calgary

‘Flamenco Calgary Presents: Flamenco Tablao, an intimate Flamenco performance of song, music and dance bringing together Salero Caló’s original members. Back from Seville for the Christmas holidays, Annette Morcos (La Mora), founder of Salero Caló, will be joining them on stage for the first time since 2014. The group will also be joined by Silvia Te on song.’

Kerry’s Block Heater: Our Folk Fest Meets Our National Music Centre

Kerry Clarke has been working the Calgary Folk Festival shop for so long we felt it indiscreet to ask her how many years it HAS been. Instead we asked for her take on a most interesting aspect to the first day of this year’s midwinter folkfest, the Block Heater:
“We’re doing the premiere of a Canadian film called Brown Girl Begins, which I think is really cool! We haven’t done a lot of films,”

Bruce Cockburn: Some Kind of Ecstasy Still Has a Hold on Him

Bet you’ve never been in a Canadian Standoff before, have you? It’s like a Mexican Standoff, but, more . . . Canadian.

It started out innocently enough: Bruce Cockburn was hanging a plaque in Calgary‘s National Music Centre, as

Happily Hectic: Vincent is Composing His Brains Out!

Vincent Ho is an Ottawa-born classical composer who currently teaches at the University of Calgary and, incidentally, has works being performed and premiered ALL OVER the place, in a happy demonstration of how it’s Good to be Busy. While having lunch at The Palomino, at the heart of Calgary’s downtown, MUSICAlive! congratulated him on this achievement.

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